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HOME  /  Programs  /  Writing for Film & TV Diploma  /  Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered in the Writing for Film & TV program.

Please note: Course descriptions and codes may change slightly and are updated periodically.

TERM 1

  • FPC120 FILM HISTORY 1

    Is an in depth retrospective look at the past 100 years of Film History and its many influential films and events. The course will deal with directors, actors, writers and other important figures and events responsible for the shaping of today’s film industry.

    (2 Contact Hours).

  • FPC110 SCRIPTS 1

    To discover and understand effective storytelling principles by studying successful film and TV scripts (which build on successful dramatic storytelling principles as first defined by Aristotle and mastered by Shakespeare), and then apply those storytelling principles to individual creative projects.

    (2 Contact Hours).

  • FPT140 PRODUCTION 1

    Learning the essential tools & rules that allow us to take on idea (the written word) and interpret it to produce a visual creation that can be fully understood & appreciated by an audience. It is learning and understanding the building blocks of visual story telling.

    (8 Contact Hours).

  • WRT110 DOCUMENTARY WRITING

    To ensure students know the basic workings of various digital video cameras, have a basic understanding of how a film and television shooting set is established. They will also learn the many techniques, rules and visual concepts that are part of directing and how to take the written word and translate it to the screen.

  • WRT120 BROADCAST WRITING 1

    This course will introduce students to the various formats, styles, and approaches associated with writing for studio broadcast, with a focus on news reporting. Students will be familiarized with broadcast terminology, and will be re-trained to ‘write for the ear’. Subject areas will include preparation and research, interviewing and composing scripts. Specific broadcast formats for news reports, commentaries, and mini-features will be examined, and students will learn the basics do’s and don’ts for the writing of each.

    (3 Contact Hours).

  • WRT130 STORY EDITING 1

    Constructive criticism in the development of film and television scripts

    In this fundamental course students will learn the role of the Story Editor in the creative process, namely how to critically analyze the scripts and development materials of others. This in turn will give them an all new perspective on their own writing. The course will focus on the collaborative process of writing and the role of notes from story editors, executives, producers, directors and even actors. Students will be taught the ‘correct’ way to give notes both in meetings and in private, so as to make their point and get the best result from the writer. Introductory story analysis and the importance of creative brainstorming will be stressed, as students endeavour to improve one another’s work in a professional true-to-life manner.

  • WRC100 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

TERM 2

  • FPC211 INTERNATIONAL FILM HISTORY

    This is an overview of the Cinema outside of North America. It is the introduction to some of the great Masters of World Cinema, and their contribution to the Cinematic Art Form (2 Contact Hours). and non-commercial broadcast focus on the formal written reports one might be called upon to write in the industry, and the face to face meetings that may be called for in the role of story editor, producer or executive. Students will learn how to do “Written Coverage’ and how to present their notes in a organized form. Students will also engage in a more advanced analysis of one another’s work, learning not only how to give their notes ‘properly”, but which notes to give (and not give) to achieve the best result possible.

    (3 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Story Editing 1.

  • WRC200 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

    Prerequisite: Film History 1

  • FPC221 SCRIPTS 2

    This course will allow the students to understand the differences between short films and feature films; how to plan out a short film project and a master shooting script format; essentially learning to write the shooting script for the same project you planned out.

    (2 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Scripts 1

  • FPC210 WORKING WITH ACTORS

     

    To give students a basic understanding of the art of acting, which will include character preparation, dialogue analysis, and the how and when to utilize improvisation and script study.
    It is essential students learn about acting, not to be actors, but to better communicate with actors when making their films.
    Upon completion of the course students should have an understanding of how the actor works, which will better prepare them to direct actors in their projects and professional works.

    (2 Contact Hours)

     

  • FPT120 EDITING 1

    This course will introduce students to the fundamental framework of storytelling and teach basic technical skills on the FINAL CUT PRO Platform, to execute that framework .

    (2 Contact Hours)

  • WRT220 BROADCAST WRITING 2

    Building on the knowledge base established in Broadcast Writing I, this course will focus on story development, and how to compose pieces. Throughout the course, students will build an introductory portfolio of corporate video scripts, commercials, promos, and PSA’s (public service announcements) for their professional use later on.

    (3 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Broadcast Writing 1

  • WRT230 STORY EDITING 2

    Reader Coverage and Story Editing of film and television scripts Following on Story Editing I, this course will expand on the tools needed to analyze the premise, story, characters and controlling idea of a script, and how to present concerns to the writer in the most effective way. This course will also broadcast scripts that grab and hold an audience. Students will be taught the fundamental considerations in the production of advertisements, announcements and corporate videos, as they examine and analyze current commercials.

  • FPT240 PRODUCTION 2

    Further study of the various uses of camera, with focus on direction students will work together in creating short projects, gain insight into pre-production, production and post, and understand the importance of teamwork.

    (8 Contact Hours)

TERM 3

  • WRT310 COMEDY WRITING

    This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of sketch, talk- show, and sitcom writing, and to the required elements of a sitcom script. The notion of A, B & C plots will be examined, as will the traditional ‘Tease-2 Acts-Tag’ structure. Students will be familiarized with the language and process of television comedy writing and rewriting, as they analyze the various formats for television comedy, and study current sitcoms (animated and live-action), talk and sketch shows. Students will be encouraged to develop their own comic voice and point-of-view, while preparing a series of monologues, desk jokes, sketches and a spec script of an existing sitcom, for their portfolio. Three hours a week will be spent table reading and work- shopping student scripts.

    (5 Contact Hours)

  • WRT330 DRAMA WRITING

    In this course, students will be introduced to the unique style and structure of dramatic television series, with a focus on storyline and story development. Plot structure, narrative unity, characterization, dialogue, exposition and setting will all be studied in depth, as students analyze various dramatic series currently on the air, including some children’s programming. The traditional four-act structure for hour-long series will be introduced, as students examine the ‘rules’ in some of their favorite series, and the regimented way in which each functions. Through the course, students will write a spec script for an existing dramatic series from proposal to draft, to be used as a portfolio piece after graduation. Three hours a week will be spent table reading and work-shopping student scripts.

    (5 Contact Hours)

  • WRT320 FEATURE WRITING 1

    This course will build on the base established in Screenwriting 1 & 2, as it introduces students to the unique considerations of writing for the big screen. Students will delve further into the creative process, looking at how words translate into images, and how filmic elements create a visual narrative. Focus will be on continued examination the concepts of conflict, theme, subtext, tone, dialogue and genre, as students are introduced to the traditional three act story structure for film. Portions of classic and modern films will be screened and analyzed, to reinforce the theory learned. The importance of researching and/or knowing your characters and world will be stressed, as students come up with their own concept proposals (log line & synopsis), which will be taken to outline and then treatment by the end of the course. Three hours a week will be spent table-reading and work-hopping student materials.

    (5 Contact Hours)

  • FPB413 FILM CONTRACT/COPYRIGHT

    This course looks at the essential provisions of copyright, including terms, coverage, exclusive rights, ownership and royalty payments. To study and discuss the various contracts (License. distribution, artistic, etc) and the terms to all these agreements.

    (3 Contact Hours)

  • FPC222 FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT

    This course will focus on the process of developing and pitching an original factual entertainment project (reality show). Steps include the process creating a story and episode structure, casting, budgeting the production, and the packaging the overall proposal.

    (2 Contact Hours)

  • WRC300 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

TERM 4

  • WRT410 SITCOM WRITING 1

    Building on the base established in Comedy Writing, this course will analyze the structure, scripting and pacing of the sitcom in greater depth. Single-camera and multi- camera shows will be examined, compared, and contrasted, as students consider the ‘trajectory’ of the sitcom in recent years. The importance of likeable, well defined characters (and knowing their ‘clowns’) and a compelling, comfortable world (with consistent rules) will be stressed as students write an original sitcom pilot from proposal through outline to draft. Three hours a week will be spent table reading and work-shopping student scripts.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Comedy Writing

  • WRT430 ONE-HOUR DRAMA WRITING 1

    Building on the base established in Drama Writing, this course will move students from theory to practice in its focus on the writing of one-hour dramatic television. Students will conceive of their own ideas for an original pilot, contemplating how they’d like their series to function and the ‘rules’ of their world - en route to an outline, then a draft of a pilot script. The market-driven nature of dramatic television will be stressed, as students learn that writing drama demands flexibility, accommodation of external influences, understanding audience, and most recently extending story to digital platforms. Three hours a week will be spent table reading and work-shopping student scripts.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Drama Writing

  • WRT420 FEATURE WRITING 2

    Writing a feature film script. Building on the base established in Feature Writing I, this course will focus on story structure, as students learn to construct and deconstruct story in various ways. More complex structures will be examined, to give students a solid foundation in the language of feature film story. Scene structure will also be examined in greater depth. Students continue to work on the feature outlines written in part I, and begin writing a first draft of their script. Standard industry formats for the various development documents will be reviewed, as students also revise their pitch documents from part I (log lines, synopses, etc.) for future use. Three hours a week will be spent table reading and work-shopping student materials .

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: FEATURE WRITING 1

  • FPB410 DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING

    To introduce Film and TV students to the business side of the industry and understand the processes required to get your project sold and shown around the world. Understanding the Global workplace in which they will be working.

    (3 Contact Hours)

  • FPB412 FINANCE FOR FILM AND TV

    This course is designed to introduce the student to the various ways and means in which to finance a Film or Television project. It will familiarize them with the terms and workings of the film finance world and the different funds that are available to them and how to access them.

    (3 Contact Hours)

  • WRC400 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

TERM 5

  • WRT510 SITCOM WRITING 2

    This course will look at the structure of real-world story departments, and what can be done to put oneself in the best position possible to be hired in a staff position. Using the original pilot drafts written in Sitcom Writing 1, students will also get a chance to see what it’s like to run a writing room, as they act as Showrunner for their pilots. Students will be divided into small groups that act as pseudo-writing rooms, with each taking a turn as Showrunner, using their team members to rework and enhance their scripts. Through this workshop course, instructors will guide students as they go through the process of brainstorming, story editing, and ‘punching up’ each others’ scripts in real-world writing room style. Students will receive invaluable experience as they are forced to decide which of their writers’ ideas to leave and to take, often in the face of tremendous peer pressure, all while trying to stay true to the voice of their show.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Sitcom Writing 1

  • WRT510 WRITING 2 ONE-HOUR DRAMA

    In this course, students will learn the ins and outs of the dramatic story department, and the skills necessary to be hired in a staff position. Using the original pilot drafts written in One-Hour Drama Writing 1, students will break into small groups that function as pseudo-writing rooms, with each student taking a turn being Showrunner with their own script. Instructors will consult with the groups on a regular basis, giving producer/network style notes for each Showrunner to follow. Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of having additional ‘brains’ on their project, as they collaborate, rework, rewrite, and do their best to keep a consistent style and tone in their pilots. Instructors will guide the process, but it will ultimately be up to each student to decide which of their peers’ ideas to take, and how to best use the resources available to them to improve their script.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: One-Hour Drama Writing 1

  • WRT520 FEATURE WRITING 3

    Rewriting and Polishing a feature film script In the next installment in this area, students will workshop their first drafts from Feature Writing II, rethinking and rewriting as they receive feedback from instructors and their peers. Focus will be on the increasingly collaborative nature of feature writing today, and how to make the most of the criticism of others. The logistics of writing a commercially saleable script will be examined, as will the art of producing a compelling feature adaptation from a novel or other medium. Modern story structures for current saleable genres will be studied, including romantic comedies and thrillers. Students will finalize pitch materials from parts I & II (log lines, synopses, etc.) so that along with a polished script, they’ll have the short documents needed to get people interested enough to read. Three hours a week will be spent table-reading and work-shopping student materials.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Feature Writing 2

  • WRT531 TV MOVIE WRITING

    With a solid basis in Feature Writing, this course will introduce students to the always prevalent (especially in Canada) area of TV Movie or MOW (movie-of-the-week) writing. The unique structure (typically 8 acts, with an act 4 ‘twist’) and production concerns for these films will be examined, as will their atypical plot development and characterization. Subject areas will include ripped- from-the-headlines adaptations, and how far the writer can/should stray from the truth to make their story as compelling as possible. Finding a story that will be saleable in today’s MOW market will be stressed, as students choose a TV Movie concept which is eventually taken through to treatment then outline.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Feature Writing 2

  • FPB414 NEW MEDIA FOR FILMMAKERS

    This course is designed to explore the new technologies being created in the filmmaking industry every day. It is to help students stay ahead of the curve and be prepared to deal with what is new and improved in the industry.

    (3 Contact Hours)

  • WRC500 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

TERM 6

  • WRT610 SITCOM SHOWRUNNING

    In this final term showcase, students will have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers from the acting school as they mock showrun the production of a pilot script. Students will use their pilot script from Sitcom Writing 2 as they go through the process of casting then ‘shooting’ their original pilot. Though full production will not occur, a standing camera will be used to capture each take, and students will have the opportunity to guide their vision from the page to the ‘screen’, as they manage actors and punch up jokes on set. Instructors will discuss pre and post production considerations with the class, to give a broader, more realistic perspective. Students will also have the opportunity to use the ‘writers’ from their Sitcom Writing 2 class either as additional eyes on-set, or as writing support in the event last- minute changes need to be made to scripts.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: One-Hour Drama Writing 2

  • WRT 630 ONE-HOUR DRAMA SHOWRUNNING

    As in Sitcom Showrunning, students will have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers from the acting school as they mock showrun the production of their pilot script from One-Hour Drama Writing 2. Students will go through the process of casting then ‘shooting’ their original pilot, in this true-to-life, real-world-style experience. Though full production will again not occur (as in Sitcom, a standing camera will be used to capture each take), students will have the opportunity to guide their vision from the page to the ‘screen’, as they manage actors and tweak story on the spot.

    Students will also once again have the opportunity to use the ‘writers’ from their One-Hour Drama Writing 2 class either as additional eyes on- set, or as writing support.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: One-Hour Drama Writing 2

  • WRT620 FEATURE WRITING 4 Delivering the Script – Table Reads and Filming Scenes.

    This final Feature Writing course will allow students to use the materials created in Feature Writing I -III to experience the challenges faced by the auteur, writer-director filmmaker. The course is heavily weighted to the practical. As in the final term Showrunning courses, students will collaborate with students from the acting school to shoot selected scenes from their original feature script. Students will begin with the table read, then cast their film, and manage their actors on set as they watch their words brought to life. As with the Showrunning courses full production will not occur, though everything will be captured on standing-cam for possible showcase use and/or analysis later on. Students will gain invaluable experience from this true-to-life, real-world style exercise.

    (5 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Feature Writing 3

  • WRB610 CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR WRITERS

    This course will focus on building a career in the film & television industry, both from a business standpoint and a creative one. On the business side, how to obtain and/or deal with agents, lawyers and managers will be examined, as will the role of these people in the industry and one’s career. On the creative side, the type of portfolio needed for various goals will be focused on, as will the benefit of having both original and spec scripts, and the appropriate balance. Formats for pitch documents will be reviewed, including log-lines, synopses, treatments, bibles, and pilot scripts. Students will learn pitch techniques, and have the opportunity to practice pitching their projects in simulated real- world scenarios.

    (3 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: Feature Writing 3

  • WRB611 NEW MEDIA WRITERS

    This course focuses on the various new forms of media as they apply to the writer/ creator of interactive content. Students will learn the basic creative affordances offered by the key formats, specifically transmedia narrative, digital games, interactive cinema, installation-based media, web- based content, and mobile applications. In addition, the student will become familiar with the key business issues related to the creation of such content. Students will develop practical skills in both the creative and business sides of the development of new media concepts. Current best practices will be studied, and students will gain experience in working within standard industry processes, such as solution- based ideation and user experience design. The student will have a knowledgeable grounding in the history of new media and its key theoretical underpinnings, but more practically, (s)he will emerge with an original project and a prospectus for investors and government funding bodies such as the CMF. Professional guest speakers will be featured, bringing the latest developments in this fast-changing world into the classroom.

    (30 Contact Hours)
    Prerequisite: New Media for Filmmakers

  • WRC600 WRITING WORKSHOP

    This course is offered in a collaborative setting to help students work together to develop important connections between creative expression and the writing process. Discussions will be based on student papers within the different genres that they produce within their writing classes each term.

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