Summer 2009
Fully Enrolled

ARTS 643
Writing the Short Screenplay

Collins,Stephen Edward

06/29/2009 - 07/31/2009
Monday & Wednesday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

CFS 124

The short is a way for a beginning screenwriter to examine all the issues of film storytelling on a small scale before they get lost in the narrative complexity of a feature film script. It is different form than the feature and many beginners make the mistake of trying to make a compressed feature instead of trying to understand the short on its own terms. We will embrace the restrictions of the short form (limited time, locations, and characters) and use it as a way to focus solely on what makes a story feel complete.

The first half of the class will focus on lectures, covering how to control and alternate the flow of information to engage an audience, how to shift your thinking to a visual medium, the principles of three act film structure, how to put conflict into action, and proper screenplay format. The second half of the class is focused on the student work. Each student works to complete a 12-page screenplay and take it through three revisions. Students will read and critique each other's work. The goal of the class is for everyone to deepen their understanding about what is unique about screenwriting as opposed to other creative writing forms, and then use that knowledge to create personal cinematic work.

There will be an eclectic viewing of clips from successful and not so successful shorts. Purchasing Final Draft writing software is recommended but not required.

Although not a course in the documentary short, the principles of screen storytelling apply such that a student interested in documentary would also benefit from the course. All experience levels are welcome.

Course tuition: $2022

Enrollment is limited to 14 students. This course is not open to auditors.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Stephen Collins (B.A. Wesleyan University, M.F.A. University of Texas, Austin) is an assistant professor of film studies. He wrote, directed, and edited the feature Gretchen, which Watchmaker Films acquired in 2007 for theatrical distribution. His films have won awards from the Los Angeles Film Festival, Boston Independent Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, Cinematexas Film Festival, and many more.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 14

Texts to purchase for this course:

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