module specification

SJ7037 - Scriptwriting (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Scriptwriting
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

This module introduces students to dramatic storytelling and the craft of writing scripts for the media of film and television. In line with film and television industry practice, students learn how to develop their ideas via outlines, treatments and story beats. This process of development is essential work before a writer can create a good script or screenplay.

Through a series of seminars and workshops, the module aims to introduce students to the major principles and techniques of screenwriting:
• You will develop new skills to enhance your writing and storytelling ability in the media of film and television.
• You will learn what a dramatic story is and how that applies to screenwriting.
• You will develop a critical awareness and understanding of existing screenplays, films and television drama.
• You will learn how to produce a range of development documents and a screenplay, all of which are required to work professionally.
• You will learn how to pitch your work professionally.

Learning will be a mix of analysing existing film and television dramas along with the development of students’ own project for the assessment. This project could be an idea for a feature film or a television series. It must be an original work, developed into a treatment together with a screenplay and accompanied by a reflective essay.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? YES


Each week the class will focus on a specific aspect of screenwriting theory that will be taught via viewing existing material and class analysis. (LO1, LO3)

Some sessions will also workshop student work at each step of the development process. It is important that students are willing to share their work, to give and receive group feedback in order to develop their own understanding of the craft of screenwriting. (LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5)

Outside the classroom, it is essential that students read the core texts from the book lists and existing screenplays. They should also continue to practice their craft analysis from further watching of existing material. This will support the seminar work. (LO1, LO3)

Students must produce material to deadlines set during the course in order for the workshops to be successful. This also encourages students to learn professional practice in meeting deadlines on time. (LO3, LO4, LO5)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Scheduled teaching and learning will consist of weekly classes comprising a combination of practical writing workshops, discussion seminars and mini-lectures, supplemented by tutorials and use of the University’s blended learning platform.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities such as on-line discussion, evaluation of online resources, access to online media databases etc. It will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, and as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community-building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement. Students’ final coursework will include a reflective essay.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress through their programme, to understand the professional environment of their discipline, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
LO1 through analysis and the supplementary reading of theory, understand what dramatic storytelling is and how it is created; applying this knowledge to their own work and experiencing it in practice;

Cognitive, intellectual abilities
LO2 learn how to talk about their ideas in a workshop setting, how to give and receive development feedback on work, and how to work in the collaborative industries of film and television;

Transferable skills
LO3 write to deadlines and develop an idea from an initial idea to a fully formed piece of work;

Specific skills
LO4 write film and television development documents and screenplays through analysing and learning from existing material.

Behaviours and values
LO5 demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioners/professionals in their discipline.

Assessment strategy

Students will produce a portfolio addressing the module’s learning outcomes through the tasks and criteria as set out in the assessment brief. These will be detailed at the start of each academic year.

Typically the portfolio will comprise:

• A treatment which is the complete story in prose form

• The opening 20-30 minutes of either a feature film or pilot episode of a TV series, presented as a formatted screenplay

• A commentary reflecting on the creative process and showing understanding of screenwriting principles and theory