ENGL 4071 Screenwriting Workshop
Prof. Sidney Goldfarb
About the Course:
This course is intended to help you write the first part of a full-length screenplay, roughly 40-50 pages. All screenplays should be of a narrative nature. I’d like them to have some characters, some action, and at least the semblance of a plot. This is to distinguish your screenplays from experimental or documentary ones, estimable as those forms of film may be.
I think you need at the start some sense of what screenplays are like. I’ve put three very different screenwriters and scripts on the reading list: Robert Towne (Chinatown), Werner Herzog (Aguirre, or the Wrath of God), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). I’d like you to pick one of them as a friendly guide and, hopefully, as an inspiration. There will be available also some additional books about these writers or on screenwriting in general that could be useful to you.
You will write a very brief paper on some aspect of the script you have chosen. I want you to write a very brief treatment of your screenplay at the start of the class, and a slightly longer one later. You will need to pass in, on a regular schedule, segments of your screenplay. No extensions. We don’t have time.
This course is open to juniors and seniors in Creative Writing, Cinema Studies, and Theater, and to others by application.
Robert Towne, Chinatown
Werner Herzog, Aguirre, or the Wrath of God (in Scenarios 1)
Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth (only in Spanish, El Labirinto del Fauno, to be explained)
Robert McKee, Story
Werner Herzog, Herzog on Herzog, ed., Paul Cronin
Guillermo del Toro, Cabinet of My Curiosities
Also, see IMDB for interesting material on all writers and films.
Required Film Viewing
You cannot possibly appreciate these screenplays without seeing the films. All films are available to stream for free in our Canvas course. You also can find them on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. DVDs of all are available.