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MAS 202 – Screenwriting: An Introduction

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor/Lecturer
Kathryn Millard
Contact via kathryn.millard@mq.edu.au
Y3A Room 157
TBA
Convenor
Karen Pearlman
Contact via karen.pearlman@mq.edu.au
Y3A-193H
Mon & Tues 1:15 to 1:45 by appointment
Karen Pearlman
Kathryn Millard
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
12cp at 100 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit introduces students to writing for screen media; from film and television to portable devices. It explores techniques for developing ideas and writing scripts for fiction, non-fiction, animation and hybrid forms. This unit combines creative writing projects with critical analysis. It is relevant to those interested in screen media, writing and creative process.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  2. Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  3. Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  4. Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  5. Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

General Assessment Information

Unit Requirements and Expectations

Students attend a one-hour lecture in Week1 and view a weekly lecture on iLearn in Weeks 2-10

Students attend and participate in a two-hour workshop each fortnight  beginning in Week 2. You are required to attend all workshops. As participation in the process of learning is linked to and underpins the unit Learning Outcomes, you will need to either apply for Disruptions to Studies to cover any missed workshops (if the disruption is greater than three days) or supply appropriate documentation to your unit convenor for any missed tutorial (if less than three consecutive days). 

Students are expected to read and view materials posted by the Convenors/Lecturers at the iLearn page for this course. 

Assessment tasks are aligned to the unit Learning Outcomes. Timely submission of assessment tasks is a unit requirement or penalties apply.  10% per day (including weekends) will be deducted for all late submissions unless Disruption to Studies (including a request for an extension) is approved.

There is no examination for this unit.

Submitting Assignments 

Assignments should be submitted via the link at the Course's iLearn page. 

They will be returned to students in class.  

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Script Field-Notes 40% Week 7
First Draft Script 50% Week 12
Participation 10% All of semester

Script Field-Notes

Due: Week 7
Weighting: 40%

This task involves leaving your computer behind and taking a field trip. The aim is to observe/record details from the world. This material will feed into the short screenplay you will be working on this semester.

A. Write a 250 word Outline of your script idea. Your script idea should be for a movie suitable for broadcast via the web, mobile devices or screening. It should be able to be shot in Australia. It could be for a short drama, non-fiction, animation or hybrid movie. 

B. Assemble Field-Notes for your script idea. Your Field-notes should address the following:

1. Character. Write a  250 word sketch  of your proposed character or entity. It should show evidence of the following research. Record an interview with someone who might have a similar professional or personal background to your proposed character.  How would they tell the story of their life to date? Do some research about their field of employment/how they spend their days. What did you learn that was surprising about this person or entity? What were your observations of the subject’s dress, walk, demeanour, body language and speech rhythms? How could you draw on this  character  research in developing your script?

2. Place. Visit a place that could function as a key location in your script. Take some photographs. Observe the time of day. Note the light, colours, forms, location sounds. Consider how you might use these observations in your script.

3. Mood Board. Assemble a sequence of 10 key images (photographs, postcards, magazine images, found pictures, frames from other movies etc.) that could inspire situations, ideas, imagery or dramatic action.  Note what drew you to each image. 

4. Reading/Viewing/Listening Research.  In  250 words  briefly summarise any key reading, viewing or listening that has informed your script idea. 

5. Key text. A quote that is relevant to your idea. (Please provide details of the writer and where it was published.)

Assemble your notes/key images into a digital document for assessment. 

Prepare a 10 minute summary to discuss with your tutorial group after submission and also be prepared to discuss your progress on this assignment by week 4 tutorial for feedback on your choices of character, place or images and the reading/listening/viewing you are researching.  

Assessment Criteria

The criteria for this assessment are:

* Suitability of your outline as the basis for an engaging and innovative short film. 

* Clarity and fluency of written expression.

* Evidence of in-depth research suited to the development of your screen idea  that includes all  five required modes in section B above  (place, character, mood board, viewing/listening/reading, key text)

* Assembly and written presentation of your work - both text and images. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

First Draft Script

Due: Week 12
Weighting: 50%

Write a First Draft screenplay of  around 10 minutes (roughly 10 pages) for a short movie.  You should aim to draw on the research you have undertaken - and the feedback you have received - throughout the semester.

Parameters

1. Tell the story visually. Use dialogue sparingly. Narration or text on screen are good alternatives. 

2.  Format using an accepted Australian film industry format. 

 Please note that information on formatting  and examples for fiction and non-fiction will be available at the unit’s iLearn page. This  will be discussed in tutorials ahead of the assignment.

3. The submitted assignment should include a title page  followed by a 150  word outline  summarising your idea in an engaging way. 

4.  The submitted assignment should include a 250 word Writer's Statement  identifying any challenges and obstacles you faced  in shaping the story materials and how you have chosen to address them. 

Assessment criteria

*  The suitability of the First Draft as the basis of an engaging and innovative short movie.

*  Written expression and demonstrated use of  visual storytelling, narration and dialogue, as appropriate to your chosen genre, form . 

*  Ability to follow a requested script format.  (Please draw on one of the examples to be provided by unit convenors). 

*  Evidence of critical reflection on the writing process in Writers' Statement. 

 

 

 

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Participation

Due: All of semester
Weighting: 10%

Students are expected to attend seminars regularly and make considered and informed contributions in response to weekly discussion questions, screenwriting exercises and other students' work.  

Submission: through consistent punctual attendance and relevant, informed contributions in discussions of scripts, screenings and readings. 

Assessment Criteria:

  • Appropriately articulated and considered responses and contributions to critical feedback in screenplay readings processes.   
  • Relevant and observant contributions to discussion of readings and screenings. 

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Delivery and Resources

E-Readings

MAS 202 e-readings for this course will be available via the Library. The e-readings contain information necessary to completing assignments for this course. 

Videos

Key videos relevant to assignments will be available through the MAS 202 iLearn page.  They form part of the lecture material. 

Technologies/resources required.

Students will be required to use their own computers for development of treatments, storyboards and scripts. It is recommended that MAS 202 students become familiar with Celtx (free script software). Microsoft Word can also be used for scriptwriting. 

Unit Schedule

Lecture Schedule (Week 1 only a live lecture. Lectures for Weeks 2-10 to be viewed at iLearn site). 

Week 1 Tuesday February 28th : Introduction to MAS 202. What is a Screenplay? Where do story ideas come from? 

Week 2  Tuesday March 7th :  Approaches  to Character

Week 3: Tuesday March 14th Story Structures: Journeys and Going Places 

Week 4:  Tuesday March 21st  Story Structures: People and Encounters  

Week 5:  Tuesday March 28th  Writing Visually

Week 6:  Tuesday April 4th   Speech and Inner Speech

Week 7:  Tuesday April 11th  Playing with Time 

SEMESTER BREAK

Week 8:  Wednesday April 26th Short Script Case Studies

Week 9:  Tuesday May 2nd Short Script Case Studies

Week 10: Tuesday May 9th Writing for Production 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Additional information

MMCCS website https://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/department_of_media_music_communication_and_cultural_studies/

MMCCS Session Re-mark Application http://www.mq.edu.au/pubstatic/public/download/?id=167914

Information is correct at the time of publication

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script
  • Participation

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script
  • Participation

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script
  • Participation

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project
  • Evaluate screenwriting and creative work in progress
  • Demonstrate the ability to reflect in action

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script
  • Participation

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand a range of screenwriting approaches and methodologies
  • Generate story ideas and material suited to screen media
  • Draw upon independent research for a creative project

Assessment tasks

  • Script Field-Notes
  • First Draft Script
  • Participation