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Film Studies

The Building Blocks of the Screenplay

8 Thursdays, January 23 to March 12, 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm  
Instructor: Martin Leicht, M.F.A., Author and Screenwriter

Regardless of what many directors would like to believe, films do not spontaneously spring to life the moment the cameras start rolling. The first concrete step in making any film—good, bad, or ugly—is to write a screenplay. This is the blueprint the director, production team, and actors will use to create the world, characters, and story that come to life on the big screen several months later. In this course, we will discuss how screenplays work on a micro level and learn the essential building blocks of a sturdy and engaging film narrative.

Outside of class, students will view films like The Big Lebowski, closely examine the story “beats” that advance the narrative, and answer such questions as: “Who is the protagonist?” “What is his/her goal (i.e. what does he/she want)?” “Who or what stands in the way of the protagonist achieving this goal?”

Using the answers to these questions and the lessons gleaned from the films, each student will produce original, focused scene work, starting small and building toward the final project: a screenplay for a short (ten-minute) film. Student writing will be read aloud and discussed in class to maximize the benefits of the workshop format.


Course Information

Location: Community Room

$250 for members, $275 for non-members

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Schedule
  • Thursday, January 23 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, January 30 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 6 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 13 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 20 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 27 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 5 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 12 · 6:30 pm