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EN240 - Screenwriting

Details for 2017/18

Tutor: Lucy Brydon


Seminars: Thursday 11:00 - 12:30; Thursday 12:30 - 2:00; Friday 11:00 - 12:30; Friday 12:30 - 2:00.

From Edinburgh, Lucy received a First Class BA from the University of Warwick in 2005 before moving to Shanghai. She lived there until 2010, writing, directing, and producing short films, commercials and television dramas as well as learning Mandarin. She then studied Film Directing at Columbia University, and on her return to the UK continued to work in film. Her academic and research work has featured in publications by Intellect Books and featured at The University of Washington Film and Video Conference. Her debut novel, Shanghai Passenger, was published in 2015. Her debut feature film SICK(ER) was commissioned by Film London in 2016 with funding from BBC Films, the BFI and Blonde to Black Pictures. Lucy also blogs for Little White Lies about filmmaking.

Autumn Term - The Craft of Screenwriting
Week 1: Introduction – Screenwriting basics and treatments
Week 2: Dramatic structure for short and feature films
Week 3: Conflict and Resolution
Week 4: The fine art of dialogue
Week 5: Screenings of short films
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Student projects: pitching your films
Week 8: Student projects: shooting your films
Week 9: Student projects: editing your films
Week 10: Student projects: screening your films

Spring Term: Elements of Film Making
Week 1: Character
Week 2: Tricks of the trade: Mystery, surprise, dramatic irony and suspense.
Week 3: Managing the story: exposition, activity, dialogue, ellipses, planting set-up and pay-off
Week 4: Novel adaptations and writing for television
Week 5: Guest lecture by professional screenwriter / producer
Week 6: Reading week
Week 7: Script development and the film industry
Week 8: Finding your voice
Week 9: Visit to BFI archive and workshop session with BFI Raw Shorts
Week 10: Pulling together the key themes

Primary Reading:

The Tools of Screenwriting: A Writer’s Guide to the Craft and Elements of a Screenplay, David Howard and Edward Mabley

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, Syd Field (Third Edition), Bantam Doubleday Bell, 1998.

On Directing, David Mamet

Secondary Reading:

Poetics, Aristotle, Penguin Classics, 1996

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King , Hodder & Stoughton, 2000

Adventures In The Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood, William Goldman, 1983

In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition, Walter Murch, 2001

Hitchcock: A Definitive Study of Alfred Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut. Simon & Schuster, 1986. (NB: This is a revised edition of the original 'Hitchcock', 1967, which may be cheaper.)

On Film-making, Alexander Mackendrick. Faber & Faber, 2006.

Ronald Harwood's Adaptations: From Other Works into Films, Ronald Harwood. Guerilla Books, 2007.

Scorsese on Scorsese Ed. David Thompson and Ian Christie. Faber & Faber,1989.

Story, Robert McKee. Methuen,1999.



5000 word script/script excerpt plus 2000 word treatment & 1000 word critical document


Assessed short film screenplay - 1500 words

Films to Watch for 2017/18: a sample list

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, written/directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972

Carol, written by Phyllis Nagy, directed by Todd Haynes, 2015

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, written by Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman, Ken Kesey and Dale Wasserman, directed by Milos Forman, 1975

Wadjda, written and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, 2013

In The Mood For Love, written and directed by Wong Kar-wai, 2000

The Falling, written and directed by Carol Morley, 2014

The Arbor, directed by Clio Barnard, 2010

Melancholia, written and directed by Lars Von Trier, 2011

Red Road, written by Lone Scherfig, Andrea Arnold and Anders Thomas Jensen and directed by Andrea Arnold, 2006

After Lucia, written and directed by Michel Franco, 2012

Ratcatcher, written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, 1999

All That Heaven Allows, written by Peg Fenwick, Edna L. Lee and Harry Lee, directed by Douglas Sirk, 1955

Heathers, written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, 1988

The Duke Of Burgundy, written and directed by Peter Strickland, 2014

The Shining, written by Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johson and Stephen King (novel) and directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1980

Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, 2003

Oldboy written and directed by Park Chan-Wook, co-written by Chun-hyeong Lim, adapted from story by Garon Tsuchiya and comic by Nobuaki Minegishi

Groundhog Day written and directed by Harold Ramis, co-written by Danny Rubin

Amadeus written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman

Psycho written by Joseph Stefano (adapted from Robert Bloch’s novel), and directed by Alfred HItchock

The Apartment written and directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by I.A.L. Diamond

Festen (The Celebration) written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg and co-written by Mogens Rukov

Alien written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett and directed by Ridley Scott

Misery written by William Goldman (adapted from S King’s novel) and directed by Rob Reiner

Elephant Man written by Christopher De Vore and David Lynch, directed by David Lynch

Rashomon written and directed by Akira Kurosawa and co-written by Shinobu Hashimoto

Memento written by Jonathan & Christopher Nolan. Director Christopher Nolan. 2000.

Bicycle Thieves written and directed by Vittorio di Sica, 1948

Breathless written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard. 1960.

Citizen Kane written by Herman J. Mankiewicz & Orson Welles. Directed by Orson Welles. 1941.

Days of Heaven written and directed by Terence Malick. 1978

Jules et Jim written and directed by Francois Truffaut, 1962

North by Northwest written by Ernest Lehman. Director Alfred Hitchcock, 1959.

Taxi Driver written by Paul Schrader. Director Martin Scorcese. 1976.

Thelma & Louise written by Callie Khouri. Director Ridley Scott, 1991

The Truman Show written by Andrew Niccol. Director Peter Weir, 1998.

The Thin Red Line written and directed by Terrence Malick, 1998

The Seven Year Itch, dir Billy Wilder, 1955


All available online

Django written by Quentin Tarantino
Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufmann
Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt
Memento - Screenplay Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan. Director Christopher Nolan. 2000.
Taxi Driver written by Paul Schrader
Misery written by William Goldman
Carol by Phyllis Nagy
You Can Count On Me written by Kenneth Lonergan, 2001
Submarine - written and directed by Richard Ayoade. 2010.
Heathers by Daniel Waters, 1988

Television pilots
Six Feet Under by Alan Ball
House of Cards (US version) by Beau Willimon (based on mini-series by Andrew Davies and novel by Michael Hobbs)
Breaking Bad by Vince Gilligan

Other recommended film screenplays
Pride and Prejudice - Screenplay Deborah Moggach. Director Joe Wright. 2005.
The Lives of Others - written & directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. 2006.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Screenplay by Ronald Harwood. Director Julian Schnabel. 2007.
Frost/ Nixon - Screenplay Peter Morgan, Director Ron Howard. 2008.
The Hurt Locker - Screenplay Mark Boal. Director Kathryn Bigelow. 2008.
The Same River Twice by Alice Walker (contains her first draft screenplay for the film The Color Purple)
The Truman Show – written by Andrew Niccol, 1999