THEA 204A: Stage and Screenwriting - Beginning

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2021
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 72
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 18
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter, Pass/No Pass

Catalog Course Description

Beginning playwrights and screenwriters discover the basic craft of creating scripts for stage, screen, and television. Focus is on short films and on writing Act I of a full-length play or screenplay. 54 lecture hours, 18 lab hours.

Course Objectives

  • begin generating and developing ideas for scripts from thematic, situational, and character sources
  • define and start to demonstrate primary elements of plot structure
  • contrast and distinguish between a plot driven situation and a character driven situation
  • examine the relationship between plot and character
  • contrast the basic elements of a short play or Act I of a screenplay: dialogue vs. visual
  • evaluate the primary collaborative relationships between the writer, director, and producer
  • demonstrate critical thinking - Through the use of in-class writing exercises the student will be expected to use critical thinking skills to define and evaluate basic principles of playwriting and screenwriting. The students will discuss the projects presented in class by their fellow classmates. These discussions will help promote their ability to evaluate their own writing in a constructive manner. The students will generate scripts that require the synthesis and application of skill approaches to writing. One on one sessions with the instructor will accelerate the student's progress and performance.

Major Course Content

  1. Theatre and Film vs. Life
    1. Selecting and heightening a “life event” to create drama
  2. Sources of Ideas for Scripts
    1. Theme
    2. Situation
    3. Characters
    4. Media
  3. Beginning introduction to Plot and Other Forms of Dramatic Progression
    1. Situation
    2. Character
    3. Incident, action and plot
      1. stasis, the condition of the action
      2. intrusion, the cause of the action
      3. the resulting action
      4. revelations and reversals
    4. Central and secondary characters
      1. protagonist
      2. antagonist
      3. characters who progress vs. static characters who advance the plot
  4. Rising Action
  5. Plot vs. Subplot
  6. Short Plays & Screenplays, Act I
  7. Genres of Scripts and Their Audiences
  8. Collaboration Between the Writer, Director, and Producer
  9. The Writer in Rehearsal and Production

Lab Content

  1. Observing live performances
  2. Observing filmed performances
  3. Maintaining an in-class written journal
  4. Various in-class writing exercises

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Act I of a full-length play or screenplay including dialogue, stage directions, act breaks and character breakdown is required.

Examples of Outside Assignments

reading the text observing various films journal writing formatting their Act I of a full-length play or screenplay

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Lab, Online Education Lecture, Online Education Lab