module specification

SJ5053 - Scripting Performance for Screen (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
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
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
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 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides an opportunity to study across text, performance and creative writing.  Students will study the formal characteristics of screenplays and the political, social and philosophical concerns of the societies in which they have developed.  This will be combined with a study of film performance and production where students will examine how writing and performance intersect, inform, and inspire each other.  Students will develop specialist skills both in the critical and theoretical analysis of films and screenplays, and in creative writing of scripts for screen.

This module will be delivered in combination with the 30 credit, Level 5, Scripting Performance for Screen and Stage module.

Module aims

This module aims to
• examine a range of texts, for screen, within theoretical and historical contexts.
• develop the vocabulary and critical awareness necessary to discuss screenplays and performance texts, and the creative process;
• encourage students to explore, challenge and overcome divisions between texts, theory and practice.


In this module students will look at a range of performance texts from 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.  Students will also be introduced to theories of performance, audience reception and key concepts informing storytelling for screen.  Students will have the opportunity to develop their own skills for the creation of scripts.  Students will develop a critical understanding of the craft and practice of scriptwriting both theoretically and in creative practice. 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.

Learning and teaching

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

• distinguish the relationship between text, context, script and performance;
• evaluate theoretical approaches to cinema  and creative writing;
• demonstrate competency in group-work and in the written and oral presentation of critical and creative ideas
• express a creative voice in the production of original scripts for screen.

Assessment strategy

• Formative assessment tasks will comprise weekly written exercises; workshop pieces; writing and research tasks as well as oral and online contributions to seminars and workshops
• Summative assessment comprise oral and written presentations; oral presentation linking theoretical concepts to creative practice; script for screen demonstrating knowledge of form and media; reflective writing on the development of creative work.


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

Cinema 16 (DVD) – British Short Films (2003); European Short Films (2004); World Short Films (2008); American Short Films (2009):  Cinema 16 Collections

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: