Screenwriting II — Syllabus

New York City classes

The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. But many of the topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes

Gotham has two separate programs for Screenwriting II. They complement each other, and many students take both programs, but it makes no difference which one is taken first. If you take one program, then enroll again for Screenwriting II, Gotham will make sure you are placed in the other program.

The topics covered in one program (x):

Outlines: Pros and cons of outlining. Basic movie structure. Types of outline—story map, beat sheet, step outline, prose outline. Using sections. Advice from gurus. Outline techniques.

Protagonist: Desire. Evolution. Personality. Multiple protagonists.

Story Construction: Plot Movies: Story basics for plot-driven movies. Detailed analysis of a plot-driven movie.

Story Construction: Character Movies: Story basics for character-driven movies. Detailed analysis of two character-driven movies.

World: Finding and conveying the vibe of the world. Level of reality. Professional worlds. Research.

Art of the Scene: Basics and fine points of scene construction. Long scenes. Sequences. Montages. Set pieces.

Good Pages: Good description. Voice. Good dialogue. Strong openings.

Stories Within Story: Basics of subplots. Protagonist and non-protagonist subplots. Hints of subplot. Plot strands. Split point of view. Big subplots. Multi-plot movies.

Handling Time: Time compression. Time cuts. Types of flashbacks. Using two tracks of time. Time as a puzzle. Other time stunts.

Selling Your Script (and Yourself): How scripts are evaluated. Which doors to knock on. Various forms of pitching. How to sell yourself.


And the topics covered in the other program (y):

What Is Your Movie?: Hollywood vs. indie. Genre. Tone. Theme. Premise. Plot types. Pitch and promotion. Emotional connection. Process. Outlines.

Story Analysis 1: Basics of structure and protagonist arc. Detailed analysis of a plot-driven Hollywood movie.

Story Analysis 2: Detailed analysis of a character-driven Hollywood movie. Conflict. Subplots.

Story Analysis 3: Detailed analysis of a character-driven indie movie. Shifting goals. Plot strands. Positive and negative endings.

Real Characters: Basics of characterization. Layers of presentation. Desires. Evolutions. Arc of perception. Relationships. Minor characters.

Visual Storytelling: The ways to use visuals. Visual functions—plot, character, world/tone, theme, showing thought, fun, wow factor, small touches, subtext. Set pieces. Key images. Visuals on the page.

Better Dialogue: Dialogue basics. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext in dialogue. Dialogue tricks. Excellence in dialogue.

Suspense/Surprise: Using macro and micro suspense. Foreshadowing. Using macro and micro surprises.

Logic/Exposition: Plot logic. Character logic. Fantasy logic. Plot or world information. Character background. Exposition techniques.

DIY Filmmaking: Short films explained. Ideas and story in short film. Presenting short films. Filmmaking basics – camera, lighting, sound, composition, editing.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.