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Screenwriting 1: An Introduction to Writing for Film and Television (Credit) (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This lively and interactive course will explore the process of script development and writing, from idea to script. It will show how to generate ideas, write a logline and plot synopsis, flesh out characters, structure the story as a screen drama, create a compelling narrative for visual drama, and get it all down in professional script format.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge or experience is needed but students should have an interest in film/television drama. The course will have a high practical element so students will need to be prepared to write in class and work with other students. It would benefit students if they could have watched the two set films prior to the course beginning: The Shawshank Redemption and Thelma & Louise.

Content of Course

1. Getting Started: introduction and ideas generation.

2. What is a script?

3. Writing for an audience.

4. Finding the Premise.

5. Advanced Story Development.

6. The structure and core elements of visual drama.

7. How your film story should work.

8. Writing the Synopsis.

9. Creating compelling characters.

10. Revealing Character through Story.

Teaching method(s)

Lectures, screenings and analysis of clips/script excerpts. Students will be given practical exercises to work on individually and in groups to master the skills demonstrated.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Layout and present a script in a professional manner.

  • Develop an idea into a workable story.

  • Write effectively for film and television.

  • Critique scripts, diagnose problems and find solutions.


Core Readings


  • Frensham, R.,1996. Teach Yourself Screenwriting, Hodder & Stoughton

  • Vogler, C., 1999. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structures for Storytellers and Screenwriters, Pan

  • Goldman, W., 1996. Adventures in the Screen Trade, Abacus

  • Goldman, W., 2001. Which Lie Did I Tell?, Bloomsbury


  • Darabont, F., 1994. The Shawshank Redemption (film).

  • Boyle, D., dir., and Beaufoy, S., wr., 2008. Slumdog Millionaire (film).

  • Docter, P. & Peterson, B, 2009. Up (film).

Web Sources Script-O-Rama: hundreds of movie and TV scripts to download and read (for education purposes). Internet Movie Script Database: professional movie scripts. Script Slug: more scripts to download and read. BBC Script Library: TV and radio scripts to download and read. 

Class Handouts

Back-up notes, information and practical guidelines will be handed out at every class.


10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.