Course Descriptions for Writing Emphasis

Art of the Pitch

GH166 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: GH253 Hollywood Business Practices & History
A course for producers, writers, and directors, Art of the Pitch instructs students how to encapsulate their ideas into salable concepts, present those ideas, and communicate with the writers and others who become involved in bringing these ideas to fruition. The course features guest speakers from the executive ranks of the industry, as well as producers, agents, attorneys, and others, with the instructor being both the constant guide for the students as well as moderator.

Based On: Writing the Adaptation

F280 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
Sixty-five percent of all films are adapted from non-original sources, from novels and short stories to true-life events and magazine articles. Adaptation is a skill that is rarely taught and requires specific rules and mastery of certain skills. In this course, students pitch, outline, and adapt two major adapted screenplay projects.

Comedy Improvisation

GH326 (4 credit hours)
Under the supervision of an instructor, students will form a comedy improvisation group.

Creative Writing That Sells

GH301A (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: GH101 Writers Workshop 1
Students develop their creative talents in various self-chosen forms of writing including poetry, drama, short-form and long-form fiction. This course also incorporates kinds of nonfiction writing requiring creative application of the individual’s interests and abilities. Students are required to produce writing on a weekly basis, participate in workshops, and complete a written project.

Development: From Acquisition To Green Light

F341 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: GH155 Script Analysis 1
Through the use of writing and reviewing coverage, the steps of identifying a literary property for potential visual exploitation, the learning what a “buyer” at a studio seeks, students are immersed in the development process from inception of idea to getting that coveted go-ahead that starts real pre-production.

Feature Film Writing Symposium

F352(A/B/C) (4 credit hours each)
Prerequisite: F249C Screenwriting 2: Characters, F352A Feature Film Writing Symposium 1, F352B Feature Film Writing Symposium 2
This is a three-quarter continuing class for advanced writing students who learn to work in a collaborative environment with a lot of personal attention and, especially, accountability for meeting deadlines. During the three quarters of class, students will develop, write, rewrite, rewrite yet again, and polish a full-length feature film script. Students will be required at the beginning of each quarter to sign a “contract” with their goals and deadlines for the class, as well as a detailed plan as to how they will reach their goals. In addition, there will be a production element to the course in the third quarter, where students will experience their work being produced. 

Hollywood Business Practices & History

GH253 (4 Credit Hours) 
Prerequisite: All Core Tier 1 courses
Hollywood Business Practices & History offers the student the information to understand and analyze the foundational business model of Hollywood, the center of not only the American motion picture and television industries, but the movie capital of the world. Students will learn the language and operations of these businesses. Topics include representation, trade publications, publicity, how the project development process works, the roles of unions and guilds, the roles of different job titles, how the money flows, and, perhaps most importantly, how to find your place in the industry.

Navigating New Media

F315 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: All Core Tier 1 courses
Students learn to employ their production skills outside of feature films and television to create content for the smallest screens, such as the Internet, mobile phones, and other emerging media. In addition to guiding in the particulars of production for these platforms, lectures offer current information on the scope of the business side of emerging media.

Properties That Sell: Writing Coverage

F252 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisites: GH101 Writers Workshop 1, GH155 Script Analysis, GH253 Hollywood Business Practices & History
Students learn to write coverage for an entry-level industry position. Veteran industry professionals teach students what scripts are sellable or not, how to write coverage on them, and get recognition for it. Additional focus is placed on grammar, appealing to various tastes, and getting the internship.

Rewriting: Punching Up Your Screenplay

F451 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F249C Screenwriting 2: Characters
This class offers the student an intensive and comprehensive experience in learning the art and craft of rewriting for the screen. The class is taught in a workshop environment, where students read and analyze each other's work. Students will learn sophisticated tools of the professional screenwriter, which they will use to rewrite any script they would like to dramatically improve.

Screenwriting 1

F150 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: GH101 Writers Workshop 1
Develops skills in shaping plot, structure, characters, and action description, while teaching efficiency and perseverance in the writing process. Students learn basic script format, write several short scripts, and draft a feature film script.

Screenwriting 2: Characters

F249C (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: Screenwriting 1
Students learn to write screenplays that are character-driven, with the story and plot emanating from the character’s conflicts and personality. Coursework includes regular in-class exercises, two formal short film scripts, classroom feedback, and discussion.

Script Analysis 2

GH255 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: GH155 Script Analysis 1
The methods of Script Analysis 1 are put to work in a rigorous and practical way. Several scripts are analyzed in a variety of genres. The student examines—separately—the original script and the finished film, comparing her own analysis and dramatic plans with those of the actual filmmaker.

Script Analysis 3

GH355 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: GH255 Script Analysis 2, 3rd Year
Taught collegially by several faculty members, the course combines advanced script analysis with the student’s area of film specialization. A directing student, for instance, analyzes the script to direct it, working with the Script Analysis instructor and a Directing instructor. The student creates a detailed plan for realizing the script and compares it with the actual film.

Sketch Comedy Writing

F253 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
A hands-on exploration of the techniques involved with sketch comedy for the modern venues of TV and the Internet. Comedy is not necessarily a magic gift of inspiration, but rather, it's understanding some of comedy's simple rules and seeing its structure.

TV Comedy Writing

F251 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
Television comedy writing, particularly situation comedy, is a form that has been produced since the beginnings of television. This course will put students through the process of creating a script in a team environment. Students, working in small groups, begin with the development of an idea and, by the end of the quarter, complete a full 30-minute episode of a current situation comedy on the air.

TV Drama Writing

V319 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
Students write scripts for both dramatic series and dramatic long form TV movies. They write an episode of an existing series. They also pitch ideas and write treatments for pilots for original series. In addition, a portion of the course will be given over to understanding and learning to write the seven-act structure of the television movie.

Video Game Design: Part I: Development
Video Game Design: Part II: Execution

M300 (4 credit hours), M301 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1, GH155 Script Analysis 1, F122A Editing Theory & Practice
Video Games are a major part of entertainment today. Through this two-quarter class you will develop and execute a video game of your creation and design using the Unity 3D software.

Writing for Actors / Acting for Writers

F356A (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F125 Introduction to Acting, F150 Screenwriting 1
Writing and acting students collaborate with each other to learn the craft of creating dialogue, characters, and scenes in this class. Acting students get the chance to have direct input in the scenes that are written for them and writing students are able to hear how their words sound and their scenes play in order to revise their work. At the end of the quarter members of the class perform select scenes.

Writing for Animation

F354 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
Writing for animated TV programs, features and other media has different rigors and aesthetic demands than writing for live action. This course will be an introduction to this genre of writing, and also explore how to develop and sell an animated TV show.

Writing for New Media

M204 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
Students develop and write content specifically for the web, creating an original, five-episode, scripted web series along with a handful of stand-alone pieces that take advantage of the creative possibilities and limitations of new media platforms. Special attention will be placed on how the aesthetics of new media influence show formats, character development and story structure. Scripts written by students in this course can immediately be produced on a limited budget in other courses.

Writing the Action Adventure Film

F353 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: F249C Screenwriting 2: Characters
One of the most enduring and lucrative genres in feature filmmaking is the Action Adventure film. This course will teach you how to structure and execute action films that can sell.

Writing the Horror Film

F351 (4 credit hours) 
Prerequisite: F249C Screenwriting 2: Characters
This course teaches the students to complete a three-act outline and the first act of a feature length horror screenplay. Students will pitch a story, incorporate student and teacher notes, and craft an outline of the screenplay. They will write the first act in script form and present it in class, rewriting it after student and teacher reaction for their final project. They will learn and incorporate tenets of the horror genre while exploring their own visions of fear, death and evil.

Writing the Short Film for Production

F250 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F150 Screenwriting 1
This class is designed for students to develop and write at least two short film scripts in preparation for shooting in other classes. During the process of developing and writing the short film script, emphasis is placed on the production elements of the script. Students write scripts with realistic locations, budgets and visual elements. This class also stresses character development and advanced story structure.

Writing the TV Drama Pilot

V425 (4 credit hours)
Prerequisite: F249C Screenwriting 2: Characters
Students learn how to write an original pilot for a dramatic, one-hour series through the writing of an original, full- length pilot episode script. In the development of the pilot, the student will create a proposal document that outlines the overall series and its progression over the first several seasons. This document will also contact a story break and outline for the pilot script, to be crafted and green-lit before commencing to writing the pilot script.