Creative Screenwriting: Understanding Emotional Structure
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NMDS 5125
Course Format: Seminar, Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
This course considers classic and alternative screenwriting theory and analysis, offering a way to rethink narrative in terms of emotional structure. Students study a select group of films, analyzing their emotional and story structures, focusing on what makes these films work, and what we can learn from them, both as scholars and as writers. Subjects covered include classical and alternative narrative structures and how they relate to the films at hand; the use of cinematic images; explorations of theme, character analysis and development, and how they interconnect. Films discussed in class include Citizen Kane, Rashomon (various narrative perspectives), Before the Rain, The Crying Game (compilation of stories in spiral structure), The Usual Suspects, Memento, and Mulholland Drive (associative organization or even dissolution of time). The course first introduces the main schools of thought and classic screenwriting theories and discusses the history of dramatic screenwriting practice, and then focuses on illustrating contemporary experiments with different perspectives, chronological order and narrative concepts, for which one needs different tools than the ones used till now. Students are expected to make substantive contributions to seminar discussion and to submit, as instructed, step outlines and structural graphs, which can be used as tools of analysis both for films and for scripts in development.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Open to Graduate students.