Section 1: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:15 PM

Professor: Matt Mullins

English 410 is an advanced workshop in the theory and practice of screenwriting.  As such, students in this course will write and workshop (i.e., have collectively critiqued) two complete, short screenplays of approximately 10-15 pages each. In addition, they will be asked to complete various screenwriting and script development exercises, view films, and read material related to the craft of screenplay writing.  The bulk of this course will focus on the workshopping and collective critique of student screenplays and the reading and analysis of screenplays and screenplay excerpts considered from the perspective of craft.  Our focus will be on a higher level of discussion related to the practice and analysis of the techniques and processes of screenwriting.  This includes matters of genre, content, structure, style, drafting, and revision, among other things.  One of the major goals of this course (especially Spring Semester sections) is to provide short scripts for production in Ball State’s Cinema Entertainment Immersion program (the CEI).  Therefore, some emphasis will be given to the development of short screenplays suitable for production here at BSU.  This course is intended to build upon the understanding of concepts developed in English 310 while also giving students the opportunity to further apply that understanding to their own screenplays.  To this end, student work will involve the following:

  • Utilizing the essential techniques of cinematic/visual storytelling        
  • Utilizing the major structural elements of screenwriting form
  • Developing original story ideas into scenes and/or complete screenplays
  • Incorporating into their work feedback about format, structure, content, and style from their professor and peers, and revising accordingly
  • Reading, evaluating, and offering constructive criticism (both verbal and written) on the work of their classmates
  • Reading material related to the craft of screenplay writing and/or screenplays written by established screenwriters
  • “Reading” (i.e., analyzing) films to better understand the craft of screenplay writing
  • Developing scripts for potential production via Ball State’s CEI program

REQUIRED TEXTS/MATERIALS:

  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting (1st Edition) by Robert McKee
  • The Screenwriter’s Bible (5th or 6th Edition) David Trottier
  • Screenwriting software:  All workshop scripts and screenwriting exercises involving scripted scenes must be typed in standard screenplay format.  The best and easiest way to do this is to use screenwriting software.  If you don’t own screenwriting software, there are a number of FREE web-based screenwriting programs available online.  I recommend using Celtx (www.celtx.com).
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