National University




General Course Information for MDC680: Screenwriting

Course: MDC680 - Screenwriting
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to: http://www.nutextdirect.com

Course Prerequisite(s):

Corequisite

Course Description: An introductory screenwriting workshop that provides a foundational study of the theory and practice of writing for feature film. The course is designed to enable students to complete an outline for a full-length feature screenplay and a first draft of a feature script based on their own original ideas. Through this course students will sharpen critical and analytical skills, develop a critical vocabulary to talk and write perceptively, articulately, and precisely about professional and student-generated screenplays, and to articulate their own aesthetic tastes and artistic goals. As a result of taking this course students should understand the need to take risks in order to explore and develop one's creative potential to discover and develop original work from one's personal vision.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the underlying principles of screenplay writing
  • Develop an idea into a logline.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work in the screenplay form including appropriate formatting, writing of dialog and expression of visual thinking.
  • Work in collaboration with peers to analyze and improve the outline
  • Create an outline for a screenplay in master scenes which includes: a. Act I, the beginning b. Act II, the middle c. Act III, the end
  • Create an original screenplay that includes: a. action expressed dramatically and visually b. multi-dimensional major and secondary characters c. well-constructed scenes that utilize action and dramatic storytelling d. clearly defined protagonist and antagonist e. indication of character arc for central characters.
Specified Program Learning Outcomes:
  • MASTER OF FINE ARTS IN DIGITAL CINEMA
    • Create an original screenplay or a documentary production treatment with a coherent structure and compelling storyline that engages and sustains the interest of a discriminating audience
    • Critique the creative works of others using relevant critical models and professional vocabulary
    • Evaluate professional and theoretical issues and processes pertaining to movies and aspects of digital filmmaking based on recognized industry models and standards
    • Generate an original narrative screenplay that incorporates standard industry format and narrative structural elements
  • MASTER OF FINE ARTS IN PROFESSIONAL SCREENWRITING
    • Collaborate with others in achieving writing and/or pitching goals.
    • Demonstrate critical reflection and viewpoint in evaluating the work of peers and others.
    • Using films, television programs and transmedia IP's analyze the principles of writing in these varied media.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like: http://nu.libguides.com/citations

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:

URL: http://www.nu.edu/library.

Contact the Library:

  • RefDesk@nu.edu
  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml

Ethics:
Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Technology:
Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Diversity:
Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

Civility:
As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures