In this course, we will focus intensively on the craft of screenwriting, with the goal that each of you will produce by the end of the semester a complete, polished, flawless, 90- to 120-page original screenplay. In the process of developing your scripts, we’ll focus together on story structure, dialogue, character development, and cinematic methods. We will, throughout, both explore and problematize the conventions of Hollywood film. These conventions, despite all the multiplex evidence to the contrary, do not prevent the creation of art; rather, the art lies in figuring out how to make what appears to be a rigid structure work for instead of against you.
In order to understand those conventions in a way thorough enough to use them skillfully, we’ll spend some time analyzing films, both classic and contemporary, taking them apart in order to figure out how they were put together. You’ll also do a number of writing exercises intended to help you imagine your own script and build your skills as a writer.