Writing for the Screen

Writing for the Screen II

Selma Thompson
Spring 2017

Professor Thompson’s Spring course, “Writing for the Screen II,” helps students develop their screenplays. Students who are admitted to the course must apply by submitting a screenplay draft that will be developed throughout the course of the semester.

The course is structured so that students take turns each week for a table read of their respective screenplay drafts, getting feedback from their peers, as well as from the instructor. As noted on the syllabus, in-class discussions revolve around “structure; flow; set-ups and pay-offs; character arcs; length; natural-sounding dialogue; ways to make the script more active; image-systems and maximizing the script’s visual potential.”

Using NYU’s Web Publishing platform as the main course’s website, one student each week would assign a screenplay of a current movie for the class to read. All students would then post their reactions to the assigned screenplay, analyzing its structure and highlighting three examples of effective choices made by the screenwriter. Prof. Thompson also used Web Publishing to give students feedback on their weekly reaction posts.

Students responded well to the use of digital technology in their course. In our survey, one of Prof. Thompson’s students said the following about Web Publishing: “It was a very convenient and easy way to interact with the professor and students outside of the classroom and discuss,” concluding that “technology can play an immensely helpful role in the classroom, particularly in creative and artistic courses like Writing for the Screen II.”