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EGL 126 — An Introduction to Screenwriting: You Oughta Be (Writing) in Pictures

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Jun 4
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 15
Units: 3
Tuition: $665
Instructor(s): Adam Tobin
Limit: 21
6:30—9:20 pm
Apr 2—Jun 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 15
3 Units
Adam Tobin
Long before becoming an Oscar-winning feature film or a history-making flop, every movie begins with a simple screenplay. But there is rarely anything simple about effective, entertaining screenplays. They all start with strong concepts, characters, structure, outlining, and scene work. In this course, we will learn what it takes to lay that essential groundwork for a film. We will start with simple exercises to generate and identify core ideas of your story, which can be turned into dramatic scene material. We will then progress to character development, act structure, basic scene writing, and finally, longer sequences of script material. Weekly viewing of such films as North by Northwest, Thelma & Louise, and Toy Story will help us demystify core screenwriting concepts and industry terms like “high concept” and “three-act structure.” Meanwhile, students will workshop sequences of a feature film or TV script and give feedback to others. Finally, we will develop a sense of how to complete the feature-length script after the course has ended. Whether you are an experienced writer or just a film fanatic, this course will help you grapple with the building blocks of your own blockbuster screenplay.

Adam Tobin, Senior Lecturer, Film & Media Studies Program, Stanford

Adam Tobin is a screenwriter, playwright, and actor. He created the sitcom About a Girl and the reality show Best Friend’s Date for Viacom’s TeenNick (formerly The N channel) and has written for ABC, ESPN, and the Discovery Channel. Most recently Tobin has written the script and lyrics for the play She Persisted, the Musical, based on Chelsea Clinton’s children’s book. Tobin has taught story and pitching seminars at DreamWorks Animation, Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios, and Aardman Animations. He received an MFA in screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Paul Gulino, Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach (ISBN 9780826415684)
(Recommended) Andy Rose, The Aspiring Screenwriter's Dirty Lowdown Guide to Fame and Fortune (ISBN 1250159490)