Script Analysis 2
Name of lecturer(s)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
Students should become familiar with structure, narrative and story element, such as character, theme, setup, main tension, central dramatic question, antagonist, conflict, the three act structure and its development as well as its functional deviations; techniques and specific issues of film writing and narration, difference between dramatic and literary storytelling etc. Dialogue, the dramatic use of props and costumes, staging and the creation of atmosphere as employed in the screenplay as well as realization are also covered.
Students will be expected to recognize these dramatic and narrative elements and to present a cogent analysis for a final paper.
Mode of study
Screening + lecture and discussion. Each film is screened in full length, accompanied by close analysis by the lecturer, while students are also encouraged to provide their input.
Prerequisites and co-requisites
Script Analysis 1 (recommended)
The purpose of this course is to study films from a dramaturgical perspective, to demonstrate diverse narrative techniques, dramatic structures and genre forms, and to closely examine the craft of screenwriting, with special attention given to characters’ dynamics and development.
The course is open to all FAMU students including visiting programs.
IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT THE STUDENTS HAVE WATCHED THE FILMS BEFORE THEY ARE SCREENED IN CLASS.
- Class Feb 25: Dog Day Afternoon (USA, 1975, dir. Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, based on the book The Boys in the Bank by P. F. Kluge)
- Class Mar 11: Blow Up (UK, USA, Italy, 1966, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, written by Michelangelo Antonioni and Tonino Guerra, based on the short story Las babas del diablo by Julio Cortázar)
- Class Mar 25: Harold and Maude (USA, 1971, dir. Hal Ashby, written by Colin Higgins)
- Class Apr 8:: Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (USA, 2004, dir. Michel Gondry, written by Charlie Kaufman)
- Class Apr 22: The Silence of the Lambs (USA, 1992, dir. Jonathan Demme, written by Ted Tally, based on the eponymous novel by Thomas Harris)
- Class May 6: Roma (Mexiko/USA, 2018, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón)
Recommended or required reading
Aristotle. Poetics. Translated by Gerald Else. University of Michigan Press, 1967.
Aronson, Linda: The 21st Century Screenplay: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Tomorrow's Films. Silman-James Press, 2011.
Bordwell, David. Narration in Fiction Film. University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
Field, Syd. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. Dell Publishing, 1994.
Thompson, Kristin. Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique. Harvard University Press, 1999.
In addition, SCREENPLAYS (if available) for the films screened in classes will be provided to students in .pdf and it is strongly recommended that they familiarize themselves with the scripts before the corresponding class.
Assessment methods and criteria
• Attendance + Active participation in class 15%
•Final Paper (see below) 85%
•For the FINAL PAPER, the student selects one of the films screened during the semester and chooses a scene or sequence that they analyse in detail with particular focus on its role in the overall structure of the film (narrative as well as in terms of character development). Please note, solely describing the scene does not substitue an analysis.
2 pages in length, to be delivered to the lecturer on the date of the final class via email in .pdf – DEADLINE May 13 2019.
This course is an elective for all students of this school
Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:
The schedule has not yet been prepared
The subject is a part of the following study plans
- Academy Preparation Program - Cinematography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Animated Film (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Directing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Documentary (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Editing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Photography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Screenwriting (qualification subject, optional subject)
- Production Team Studies (optional subject)