University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Introduction to Screenwriting

LEVEL 00 - Mod Pre-Tert, Foundation, Proficiency & DegreePlus

ECTS CREDITS Not Applicable

DEPARTMENT Degree Plus Programme

DESCRIPTION In this unit, students will learn the fundamentals of how to write a story for a feature film (live or animation), a short, a documentary and television drama/sitcom. Topics explored include screenwriting fundamentals (such as conflict, story structure), finding the story spark and discovering what you want to say (theme), creating compelling characters, implementing visual storytelling, crafting well-constructed scenes utilizing POV, dialogue, structure and style, and understanding the basic formatting of a script.

Learning Objectives:

To gain an awareness of screenwriting as art and craft;
To gain the understanding of:
• what makes a cinematic story (language of cinema);
• conventions of the screenplay (telling story through images);
• what makes a story great?;
• story structure and its theme;
• the difference between plot-driven and character-driven story (is there one?);
• in what way and why is a story in a feature film different from a story in a short film?;
• Is non-fiction (documentary) storytelling different from fiction storytelling?

Learning Outcomes:

To gain the ability to:
• identify and understand the conventions of the major genres;
• understand the theme of your story;
• use imagery to show emotions through action (externalizing the internal);
• combine imagery, dialogue, and subtext in your screenplay;
• develop visual metaphors;
• possess a basic understanding of a scene structure;
• write an outline, synopsis, proposal, and a treatment in a professional manner;
• write and format screenplays and scripts in a professional manner.

Unit Material:

Appropriate unit material will be provided by the tutor during the sessions.


In keeping with the spirit of Degree Plus, there is no formal assessment associated with this unit. However attendance and active participation in the sessions are compulsory.

Note: Degree plus units are not designed to be incrementally burdensome in terms of the many academic demands placed on students during their undergraduate years.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This unit may not be offered if there are an insufficient number of applicants.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Attendance No 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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