Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2024

  • Advanced Film Writing

    194 001 | CCN: 31261

    Dolores McElroy

    Location: Dwinelle 226

    Date and Time: TU, TH 12:30pm - 1:59pm

    4 Units

    This course is open to 3rd-year and 4th-year Film & Media majors.

    How does one translate a cinematic experience into words? Different forms of film and television writing serve a variety of professional functions, engaging different audiences to different ends, but all writing about cinematic texts must grapple with this basic question.

    This course orients students to the conventions and standards of different forms of evaluative criticism, with special attention to the specific forms of film and television writing required in journalism, film festivals, film archives, and universities. The course addresses the following questions: What are the unique purposes of each form of writing? How should writers adjust their tone when addressing different audiences? When writing about film and television, how does a writer balance elements of narrative description and analysis, with aesthetic appreciation and critical evaluation? How does writing a preview piece, with an aim to gathering an audience for a film or show, differ from addressing a shared viewing experience after the fact?

    This course gives students an awareness of and practice in composing written work for the various modes and genres of professional film writing. And, as in the professional world, writing is a process of revision and entails substantial interaction between writers and editors. To this end, the course emphasizes drafts and revisions, and trains students to compose and incorporate meaningful peer feedback. The units for the course will include an analysis of accomplished examples of writing within a given genre; a group screening or other encounter with a “prompt” piece or experience; and an opportunity for each student to compose a piece of writing within the given mode. The course culminates in the creation of a research proposal, which requires pre-conceptualization, serious and substantial preliminary research, project design, and strong persuasive skills.

    The proposal process serves the function of advance planning for an Honors Thesis or other substantial capstone project.