Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Spring 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will develop the skills necessary to create clearly defined, dynamic characters.
  • A successful student will write short scripts for video and film in fiction and non-fiction formats.
  • A successful student will demonstrate a command of the principles of story structure for fiction and non-fiction forms.


An introductory course in scriptwriting for film and video which covers the basic skills needed in scripting for the media. Emphasis will be on the development of visual sensitivity, the examination of sample scripts and experience in progressing from concept to finished script. The role of the script in media production and the appropriate formats for fiction and non-fiction scripts will also be examined.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Develop visual sensitivity as a means of more effectively tapping into the visual potential of the material.
B. Gain experience in progressing from initial concept to finished script by completing several short script projects.
C. Develop the skills necessary to create clearly defined, dynamic characters.
D. Write short scripts for film and video in fiction and non-fiction formats.
E. Share works-in-progress with the class and participate in the collaborative evolution of script projects.

Course Content

A. Development of visual sensitivity
1. Visual possibilities and limitations of the medium
2. Elements of filmmaking, such as camera technique and editing
3. Viewing of fiction and non-fiction films to develop sensitivity to their varying visual requirements
4. Encouragement of personal observation of the filmmaking process
B. Progression from initial concept to finished script
1. Conceptual considerations, such as content, motivation, audience and format
2. Research and selection of interesting, relevant, dramatic and visually effective material
3. Construction of a solid foundation for a fiction script through character analysis and the creation of a dramatic structure
4. Creation of dialogue in a narrative script that captures a sense of living speech
5. Practice in writing several revised drafts leading to a final script
C. Development of clearly defined, dynamic characters
1. Character analysis
2. Visual means of defining character
3. Dialogue as character revelation
D. Writing of short scripts for film and video in fiction and non-fiction formats
1. Two-column television format
2. Master-scene dramatic narrative format
E. Sharing of works-in-progress and participation in the collaborative evolution of script projects
1. Group/class discussion and evaluation of foundational steps of script creation
2. Class evaluation of scripts in regard to application of covered concepts
3. Read through of scripts

Lab Content

A. Practice writing the same scene in various styles representing screenwriters being studied.
B. Viewing cinema with same screenplay from different eras.
C. Viewing cinema with revised screenplays from different directors and eras.
D. Use of computer lab with scriptwriting software for the formatting of scripts and screenplays.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Student access to computers with script formatting software, DVD playback.
B. An instructional presentation station, including appropriate hardware, software and internet access.
C. Computer projection system, sound system, and lighting suitable for listening to audio media and displaying projected media.
D. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address, JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software, and videotape viewing.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Participation in the collaborative evolution of scripts
B. In-class writing exercises
C. Character analyses and structural outlines for narrative script projects
D. Short scriptwriting projects
E. Read through of final script project

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture on scriptwriting topics.
B. Collaborative exercises in scriptwriting.
C. Film screenings that demonstrate effective scriptwriting.
D. Group discussion and critique.
E. Oral presentations.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Trottier, David. The Screenwriter's Bible. 6th ed. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 2014.
Although the text listed is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Writing original scripts.
B. Writing original film treatments.
C. Review of handouts and relevant reading material.
D. Research and planning of individual creative projects.
E. Reading and study of the textbooks.
F. Group research projects.


Media Production or Film Studies