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Screenwriting

Assessment:
Assessment 1 - Due Term 2 Week 2
Short script of 1.500 words (30%)

Assessment 2 - Due Term 3 Week 3
5000-word script/script excerpt plus 2000-word treatment and 1000-word critical document (70%)
Reading:
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.
Films to Watch, 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

Screenplays All available online

Film
  • 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
Term One
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
Term Two
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
Week 5: Writing for television
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

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