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EGL 08 W — That's a Great Idea for a Movie! The Making of a Strong Screenplay

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Sep 1
Drop Deadline: Jul 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $850
Instructor(s): Xandra Castleton
Limit: 17
Jun 26—Sep 1
10 weeks
Drop By
Jul 4
3 Units
Xandra Castleton
Have you ever wondered why certain stories make good movies while others may not? Do you have an idea for a screenplay or an interest in learning how to come up with one? This course will help you recognize and develop viable screenplay ideas and give you the tools to write compelling scenes. We’ll examine the all-important screen story premise from a number of different entry points, such as screenplays, essays on screenwriting, interviews with screenwriters, writing exercises, and an online workshop of story ideas, outlines, and scenes. Each week we’ll deepen the study of premise as we study other essential elements of screenwriting, such as character, theme, dialogue, and plot structure. We’ll dissect the screenplays for Chinatown and recent work such as Moonlight while screenwriting texts such as Robert McKee’s Story will guide us as we practice story analysis through the process of workshopping.

Students will take a screenplay idea through various stages of development, beginning with a one-line summary and ending with a five-page outline and a few pivotal screenplay scenes.

List of films has been updated since the printing of our paper catalogue.

Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.

Xandra Castleton, Screenwriter; Producer

Xandra Castleton’s scripts have been the basis for award-winning documentary, TV, and film projects, including a profile of the filmmaker John Waters, which received a regional Emmy award. Her films have been shown at the Sundance, Tribeca, AFI, and Rotterdam festivals. She co-wrote and produced the feature film Full Grown Men, which received the 2007 Sundance Channel Audience Award. Castleton is the co-creator and writer of the scripted TV documentary Stand Up Planet. She received an MFA in cinema from SF State.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Robert McKee, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-0060391683)
(Required) Jennine Lanouette, Thelma and Louise: A Screenplay Analysis, 1st (Audiovisual: Use code CASTTL04171 for 25% discount). (ISBN N/A)