module specification

SJ5053 - Scripting Performance for Screen (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Scripting Performance for Screen
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 40%   Oral presentation: review of set film text and its link to development of student's creative practice
Coursework 60%   Step Outline and Screenplay for approx 12' short film with critical evaluation (3000 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides an opportunity to study the art and craft of screenwriting via the short film. Screenwriting differs from other forms of creative writing because the screenplay is a vehicle for a production team to create a film. It requires a combination of visual imagination and engineering to create a good screenplay.  Students need to learn the clues which enable an audience to follow the story via character creation and use of action, choice of locations, the tone, the use of genre and narrative pattern of their story.  Via a mix of film analysis and writing their own script, students will have a basic grounding in this element of film production.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims



In this module students will look at a range of short films that best exemplify key theoretical aspects and the practical skills for writing and developing scripts.  Students will examine the key characteristics of film scripts as well as the interrelations between text and performance. LO1 - LO2

Students will also be introduced to theories of performance, audience reception and key concepts informing storytelling for screen. LO1 - LO2

Students will have the opportunity to develop their own skills for the creation of scripts. LO3 - LO4

Students will develop a critical understanding of the craft and practice of scriptwriting both theoretically and in creative practice. LO1 - LO2

The transferable skills developed will enable students to meet the challenges of employment in a society in which the creative industries play a central role. LO3 - LO4


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions each of the 15 teaching weeks of the autumn term.  Sessions will generally comprise lectures, screenings and seminars.  In some instances, the individual session may be devoted entirely to lecture, workshops, screening or seminars.  In all cases seminars will include time for small group work, individual writing and comprehension tasks (all intended to develop transferable and valuable employability skills), support from the tutor and reinforcement of weekly lecture themes. The module will incorporate guest speakers and performers when appropriate and may also include field trips to London-based venues including special screenings such as BFI, where students can complete writing and research projects pertinent to future employability. Independent learning will be encouraged and include guided reading and viewing, weekly writing tasks, and guided online research and visits to film related events where possible.  Tutors will make full use of Weblearn and students will be directed to other websites and blogs of relevance and will be invited to research their own.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

(1) know what are the components required to create a screenplay or film script;
(2) evaluate theoretical approaches to cinema and creative writing;
(3) demonstrate competency in group-work and in the written and oral presentation of critical and creative ideas
(4) express a creative voice in the production of original scripts for screen.


Hiltunen, Ari. Aristotle in Hollywood: Visual Stories That Work, Intellect, 2011
Maras, Steven, Screenwriting: History, Theory and Practice, ColumbiaUniversity Press, 2009
Nelmes, Jill, Analysing the Screenplay, Routledge, 2010
Parker, Philip, The Art and Science of Screenwriting, 2nd Ed, Intellect Ltd, 1999


Ashton, Paul, The Calling Card Script: A Writer’s Toolbox for Screen, Stage and Radio, A& C Black, 2011.
Bicat, Tony & MacNabb, Tony, Creative Screenwriting, Crowood Press, 2002.
Cooper Pat & Dancyger, Ken, Writing the Short Film, 3rd Ed, Elsevier Focal Press, London, 2005
Cowgill, Linda, Writing Short Films: Structure and Content for Screenwriters, iFilm, 1997
Field, Syd, Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, Delta, 2005
Field, Syd, The Screenwriter’s Workbook, Delta, 2006
Gaffney, Freddie,  On Screenwriting, Auteur, 2008

Scripts for Screen:
Arriaga, Guillermo,  21 Grams, London, Faber & Faber, 2003
Frayn, Michael, Noises Off, Methuen Drama, 2010
Kesserling, Joseph, Arsenic and Old Lace, Josef Weinberger Plays, 2002
Ramsay, Lynne, Ratcatcher, London, New York, Faber & Faber, 1999
Schamus,James  The Ice Storm, The Shooting Script, New York, Newmarket Press, 1997

Online Resources:
Aristotle, Poetics:

Database of Film Scripts: