Writing for the Screen

Module summary

Module code: COML1067
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Design
Module Coordinator(s): Rosamund Davies


Pre and co requisites



Building on their studies at level 4, students will have the opportunity to explore further the theory and practice of writing for the screen. The course seeks both to encourage students towards creative self expression and to familiarize them with the established conventions, processes and commercial practices of the media industries. It will develop their skills and experience in writing individually and collaboratively as part of a writing team. This course encourages students to engage with alternative narrative methods (web series, for example), and means of distribution, and what the idea of ‘screen’ has become in the digital age.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Understand and work within screenplay conventions and techniques that pertain to television, cinema and the web as screening contexts, while exploring their own personal style, individual interests and competencies.
2 Develop, research and pitch an idea from initial premise, through short documents, such as synopses and step outlines, to final script.
3 Work collaboratively as part of a writing team
4 Analyse their own work and the work of others and be able to revise and edit their own work and provide feedback to their peers.

Indicative content

Students will study narrative structure and dramatic form, with the emphasis on the storytelling challenges and possibilities presented by new platforms for content and patterns of consumption in a digital media landscape. They will study short form web series and consider the potential of transmedia storyworlds, as well as more established forms of storytelling common to film and television. They will view and analyze visual and written examples of film, television and web based narratives, as well as carry out their own practical work.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will comprise lectures to introduce key concepts and techniques; screenings of key works and group discussions to clarify and deepen students' understanding of theories and approaches, and practical workshops, in which they will have the opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice. Students will also be required to deepen and extend their understanding through individual reading, viewing and writing.


Script analysis - 25% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 & 4.
Outline Details - Analysis of a produced screenplay by a professional writer. 1000 words

Proposal (group work) - 25% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 4.
Outline Details - Series proposal. 2000 words.

Screenplay - 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1, 2 & 4.
Outline Details - 3 x 5 minute scripts + reflective analysis of process. 3000 words.

Students are not required to pass all elements of summative assessment in order to pass the course.

Formative Assessment - Weekly tasks and seminar exercises.