University of Southern California
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Please note: Due to late revisions, some text on this page differs from what appears in the printed version of the USC Catalogue. The changes appear below as highlighted text, with corresponding explanations appearing in the right margin.

Courses of Instruction

Writing (CTWR)

CTWR 105 Nonverbal Thinking: Visual and Aural (2, Sp) An introduction to non-verbal elements of images and sounds which convey meaning, mood, and emotion.

CTWR 106ab Screenwriting Fundamentals (4-4, FaSp) a: Introduction to and overview of the elements of theme, plot, character, and dialogue in dramatic writing for film. b: Exercises in dramatic writing: theme, plot, character, dialogue and images. Integration of these elements into scenes and sequences. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only.

CTWR 120 Genesis of the Screenplay (2, Sp) The evolution of the screenplay from its roots in myths, plays, and short stories. Writing original treatments for film and television inspired by literary masters. Open only to Writing for Screen and Television majors.

CTWR 206ab Writing the Screenplay (a: 4, Fa; b: 2, Sp) a: Development of synopsis and treatment for a theatrical or documentary screenplay: theme, plot, character, mise-en-scene and utilization of cinematic elements. b: Creation of feature-length theatrical or documentary screenplay based on treatment developed in CTWR 206a. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only.

CTWR 213 Content and Consciousness (2, Fa) Inquiry into the relationship between cognitive and affective knowledge as it relates to the art of screenwriting and the screenwriter.

CTWR 215 Practicum in Writing Short Films (2, Sp) Developing stories less than feature length; writing screenplays from them; understanding what length each story demands; creating idiosyncratic forms and styles. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only.

CTWR 250 Breaking the Story (2, SpSm) Examination of the fundamental elements of a good story, and how to use those elements to develop new screenplay ideas. Recommended preparation: CTWR 106b.

CTWR 305 Advanced Screenwriting: The Relationship Screenplay (4, Fa) An inquiry into the complex nature of human relationships by writing an original feature length screenplay that examines the multi-dimensional world of characters and the ties that bind them together. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only. (Duplicates credit in former CTWR 306a).

CTWR 306 Advanced Screenwriting: Alternative Narrative (4, Sp) Develop and write an original feature-length screenplay utilizing a non-linear narrative story structure that examines the creative use of time, perspective, and point of view to enhance both character and story. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only. (Duplicates credit in former CTWR 306b). Prerequisite: CTWR 305.

CTWR 314 Writing To Be Performed (2, Fa) Understanding the elements of screen performance to enhance the writing of complex characters and human relationships. Open only to Writing for Screen and Television majors. Prerequisite: CTWR 106b.

CTWR 315x Filmwriting (3, FaSpSm) The basics of screenwriting: theme, story structure, characterization, format, dialogue, and scene description. A character profile, short treatment, and first 30 pages of the screenplay are written. Lectures, screenings, and in-class readings. Not for degree credit for Cinema-Television majors.

CTWR 321 Introduction to Television ­Writing (2, FaSpSm) The fundamentals of writing for episodic television. Writing scenes from popular television shows and examination of television story structure. Prerequisite: CTWR 106b or CTWR 412.

This new course is available beginning summer 2010.

CTWR 401 Writing the First Draft Feature Screenplay (4, max 8, Sm) Writing an outline and the first draft of a feature-length screenplay. Emphasis on character interrelationships, conflict, and three-act structure.

CTWR 410L Character Development and Storytelling for Games (4, Fa) An exploration of characters and story worlds as they relate to gaming with an emphasis on emotionally rich environments in interactive entertainment. Recommended preparation: CTIN 488.

CTWR 411 Television Script Analysis (2, Sp) In-depth analysis of the craft of writing prime-time episodic television. Examination of situation comedies and dramas through weekly screenings and lectures.

CTWR 412 Introduction to Screenwriting (2) Introduction to the formal elements of writing the short film.

CTWR 413 Writing the Short Script I (2, FaSp) Preparation of scripts for short films: form, structure, planning.

CTWR 414 The Screenplay (2, FaSpSm) Students study story structure and develop several story outlines, and a short script for possible CTPR 480 production. They will also write a detailed, 15-25 page treatment for a feature film. Prerequisite: CTWR 412 or CTWR 413.

CTWR 415ab Advanced Writing (2-4, FaSp) a: Principles of the two-hour story for film and television; creating theme, character, and structure that combine into a feature-length story treatment. Prerequisite: CTWR 412, recommended preparation: CTWR 416. b: Creation of script with extensive workshopping of scenes in class leading to a first draft and revision as a final assignment.

CTWR 416 Motion Picture Script Analysis (2 ) Critical analysis of story structure from classic films to contemporary works. Identification of key story concepts and elements of three-act structure.

CTWR 417 Script Coverage and Story Analysis (2, FaSp) Evaluation of completed scripts prior to their production. Coverage and analysis of scripts as potential properties from the perspective of a production company.

CTWR 418ab Senior Thesis (a: 4, Fa; b: 4, Sp) a: Creation of feature-length treatment and first draft senior thesis screenplay, including “pitching” experiences. b: Completion and revision of senior thesis project and introduction to motion picture industry procedures and practices through interaction with industry representatives. Open to B.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students only. Prerequisite: CTWR 305.

CTWR 421 Writing the Hour-Long Dramatic Series (2, FaSp) Writing an episode of an existing dramatic television series within the hour-long format with an emphasis on conception, pitching, characterization and structure. Prerequisite: CTWR 206b or CTWR 321 or CTWR 414 or CTWR 514a or CTWR 529.

This new course is available beginning summer 2010.

CTWR 422 Creating the Dramatic Television Series (2, max 4, FaSm) Examination and creation of the world, characters, and concept for an original hour-long dramatic series. Writing an outline for an original dramatic pilot.

CTWR 430 The Writer in American Cinema and Television (2, FaSp) American and international writers in cinema; screenwriting; political and economic aspects of the writer in the motion picture industry. Lectures, guest speakers, screenings.

CTWR 431 Screenwriters and Their Work (2, FaSp) Lectures and readings on creative problems in screenwriting: current scripts; interviews with visiting screenwriters.

CTWR 433 Adaptations: Transferring Existing Work to the Screen (2, Fa) An examination of motion picture adaptations; problems attendant upon translating a novel, play, or other creative forms into screenplays. Prerequisite: CTWR 206b or CTWR 414 or CTWR 514a or CTWR 529.

CTWR 434 Comedy Writing Genres (2, max 6, FaSp) Exploration into filmic comedy; writing by committee; developing comedic timing; using humor as a style of filmmaking. Prerequisite: CTWR 206b or CTWR 321 or CTWR 414 or CTWR 514a or CTWR 529.

CTWR 435 Writing for Film and Television Genres (2 or 4, max 8, FaSp) Preparation of proposals and scripts for different types of film and television programming: emphasis on conception, structure, characterization and format. Prerequisite: CTWR 206b or CTWR 414 or CTWR 514b or CTWR 529.

CTWR 437 Writing the Situation Comedy Pilot (2, max 4, FaSp) Comedic series television with an emphasis on pilots including descriptions of characters, settings, tone and themes for students’ own comedic series which will lead to a pilot script. Prerequisite: CTWR 434.

CTWR 439 Writing the Original Dramatic Series Pilot (4, max 8, FaSp) An advanced workshop in which students create an original dramatic series, including a first script and a summary of characters and storylines. Prerequisite: CTWR 421.

CTWR 441 Writing Workshop in Creativity and Imagination (2, FaSp) Students will explore a variety of problem solving techniques to strengthen their creative work and apply these techniques to individual writing projects.

CTWR 453 Advanced Feature Rewriting (4, FaSpSm) An advanced workshop in which a feature length screenplay will be rewritten using a specific methodology that focuses on a macro to micro approach to revision. Prerequisite: CTWR 305 or CTWR 415b.

CTWR 459ab Entertainment Industry Seminar (2, Fa; 2, Sp) Examination and analysis of various topics, issues and resources pertaining to creative, legal and business perspectives for writers in the entertainment industry. Prerequisite: CTWR 459a for CTWR 459b.

CTWR 494x Practicum in Screenplay Development (2, Sm) Development of writing skills learned in CTWR 315x; students will develop and write the second and third acts of a screenplay begun in CTWR 315x. Not for degree credit for Cinema-Television majors. Prerequisite: CTWR 315x.

CTWR 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, FaSpSm) Detailed investigation of new or emerging aspects of cinema and/or television; special subjects offered by visiting faculty; experimental subjects.

CTWR 505 Creating the Short Film (2, FaSp) Strengthening and deepening the ability to conceive and develop ideas that will lead to compelling, authentic, and personally meaningful films. (Duplicates credit in CTWR 528.) Concurrent enrollment: CTPR 507, CTPR 510.

CTWR 509 Understanding the Process of Film making (2, Sp) An introduction for screenwriters to the process of creating a feature film, from script through release print, including pre-production, production and post-production.

CTWR 513 Writing the Short Script (2, Fa) Preparation of scripts for short films; dramatic, informational, experimental, and other forms. Open to screenwriting (CNTV) and dramatic writing (Theatre) majors only. Concurrent enrollment: CTWR 514a.

CTWR 514ab Basic Dramatic Screenwriting (a: 2, Fa; b: 2, Sp) Dramaturgy for the fiction and nonfiction work. Techniques for creating the original or adapted theatrical script. Open to graduate screenwriting majors (CTWR) and dramatic writing (Theatre) majors only. a: Emphasizes narrative development, through short scripts, sequences, and story outlines. Concurrent enrollment: CTWR 513. b: Development of an outline and feature length, original script.

CTWR 515abcd Practicum in Screenwriting (4-4-1-1, FaSp) a: Creation of a feature screenplay from presentation through treatment, including some scene work. b: Comprehensive rewriting of a second and third draft of a feature screenplay leading to a polished and professional piece. c and d: Supervised rewrite of feature screenplay. Prerequisite: CTWR 514a; CTWR 515a for CTWR 515b; CTWR 515b for CTWR 515c; CTWR 515c for CTWR 515d.

CTWR 516 Advanced Motion Picture Script Analysis (2, FaSp) Critical analysis of the structure of films from the classics to current award winners. Students will learn how to identify key story concepts and break down three act structure in finished films and scripts.

CTWR 518 Introduction to Interactive Writing (2, Sp) A series of exercises written and discussed for interactive experiences.

CTWR 519ab Thesis in Television Drama (a: 4, Fa; b: 4, Sp) a: Writing the pilot: an intensive workshop in which master’s students develop an original television one-hour series including characters, world and storylines for season one. Final assignment is the finished pilot episode of the series. Prerequisite: CTWR 421, CTWR 514b. b: Further development of the original series by writing the bible for the series and the mid-season episode which is reflective of storylines, characters and settings developed in CTWR 519a. Open only to M.F.A. Writing for Screen and Television students.

CTWR 520 Advanced Scene Writing Workshop (2, SpSm) Intensive workshop oriented specifically to writing and rewriting the most effective and telling dramatic scenes to heighten audience participation and greater story impact. Prerequisite: CTWR 414, CTWR 514b, or CTWR 529.

CTWR 528 Screenwriting Fundamentals (2, FaSp) Introduction to the principles of screenwriting with special emphasis on story, characterization and dramatization.

CTWR 529 Intermediate Screenwriting (2, FaSp) Emphasizes structural elements crucial to the feature film. Techniques for creating an original and adapted theatrical-length script. Prerequisite: CTPR 507 and CTWR 505.

CTWR 533ab Writing the Feature Script (4-4, FaSp) Advanced screenwriting workshop. a: Development of characters and story to complete a treatment and first draft of a feature length script. Prerequisite: CTWR 529; recommended preparation: CTWR 516. b: Rewriting the first draft into a second draft through advanced work-shopping of script. A third draft polish is the final assignment. Prerequisite: CTWR 533a.

CTWR 541 Writing from the Unconscious (2, FaSp) Students are introduced to unique problem solving methods over a broad spectrum of subject matter and integrate the results in specific creative writing assignments.

CTWR 550 Advanced Story Development (2, FaSp) Advanced development of the story creation process by examining the core elements of a good story. Compiling a portfolio of story ideas. Prerequisite: CTWR 514a or CTWR 529.

CTWR 553 Advanced Rewriting Workshop (4, FaSp) Advanced feature screenwriting, emphasizing the rewrite of a first draft script. Prerequisite: CTWR 514b or CTWR 533b.

CTWR 555 Pitching for Film and Television (2, FaSp) Development and pitching of ideas for motion pictures, episodic and television pilots. Reducing ideas to basic components enhancing verbal presentation skills. Prerequisite: CTWR 305 or CTWR 415b or CTWR 514b or CTWR 533b.

CTWR 559 The Business of Writing for Screen and Television (2, FaSp) Examination and in-depth analysis of the studio system, the television development process, literary representation, new emerging markets, and the Writers Guild of America. Prerequisite: CTWR 514b.

CTWR 572 Practicum in Directing Actors for Film (2 or 4, FaSp) Seminar in directing actors for film; emphasis on demonstration and laboratory exercises, script analysis, and detailed study in character motivations.

CTWR 574 Advanced Seminar in Directing Actors for Film (2, FaSp) Emphasis on detailed script analysis and character motivation. Individual projects. Prerequisite: CTWR 572, CTCS 673 or CTPR 532.

CTWR 577ab Intermediate Screenwriting Workshop (2-4; 2-4, FaSp) a: Ideation and development of a treatment for a feature length, original screenplay. Writing first act. Prerequisite: CTWR 514b. b: Completion of the first draft of the screenplay; introduction of techniques for rewriting; revisions of the first draft of the screenplay just completed.

CTWR 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, Irregular) Detailed investigation of new or emerging aspects of cinema; special subjects offered by visiting faculty; experimental subjects.