CINE 72

Nonfiction Scriptwriting

CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO

Cinema Department

Spring 2019

NOTE FOR Spring 2019: CINE 72 is a late-add course that begins on February 25. I will only add students during Week 1 for this class (February 25-March 3). Placement on the wait list does not guarantee a spot in the class. Please continue to look for other open CCSF classes and assume that you will not get into the class if you are on the wait list. You can email me if the wait list is full and I will put you on a list to add after the official wait list students have been contacted. Please do not email me about adding the class after March 3. I will contact you via CCSF email if any spots open up.

Other Online Courses Taught By Professor Sherman in Spring 2019

Instructor: Kevin Sherman

Time: Online Course/Canvas

Email: Canvas Inbox or ksherman@ccsf.edu

Canvas Support Hotline (844) 592-2198 available 24/7

Course Description:

An introductory course that offers essential skills in writing a professional nonfiction script. Attention to research methods supporting content development, interviewing techniques, story structure, script format, and cinematic grammar are emphasized. Historical nonfiction films and their influence on current work will also be explored.

Films:

All films for the class will be embedded in Canvas via streaming resources provided by the CCSF Library such as Films on Demand, Swank, InfoBase's Feature Films for Education Collection, and the BLC Library of Foreign Language Film Clips. Once you use your RAM ID to access Canvas you will be able to stream the films directly in each Module.

Required Texts:

Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Digital Videos (5th Edition) by Alan Rosenthal and Ned Eckhardt

How to Write a Documentary Script by Trisha Das (PDF available on Canvas)

NOTE: Rosenthal & Eckhardt's book for the course is available as an E-book via the CCSF library

Student Learning Outcomes:

*Examine how early nonfiction cinema developed and influenced content development, story structure, and cinematic grammar of today's nonfiction film.

*Assess a nonfiction story idea and evaluate essential components required to research and structure the idea to reach a targeted audience.

*Organize, appraise and interpret a range of researched materials and interviews, and integrate these into a professionally formatted nonfiction script.

*Analyze and criticize diverse nonfiction script styles, with specific attention to content development, story structure, and cinematic grammar.

Course Schedule

Module 1: Introduction

SCREENING:

Tales from the Script (Peter Hanson, 2010)

Module 2: Planning the Script

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Introduction” (pp. 1-4) & “Clearing the Decks” (pp. 7-16)

SCREENING:

American Movie (Chris Smith, 1999)

Module 3: Conceptualizing the Idea

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Getting to Work” (pp. 17-29)

Das, “Introduction” (pp. 3-4), “Writing for Film and Why Documentaries Are Different” (pp. 5-7) & “Short Introduction to Documentary Styles” (pp. 8-9)

SCREENING:

Quest (Jonathan Olshefski, 2017)

Module 4: Writing the Proposal: Content/Organization

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Writing the Proposal” (pp. 30-38) & Read Examples in “Writing the Proposal” (pp. 44-59)

Das, “Putting a Script Together” (pp. 38-46)

SCREENING:

The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)

Module 5: Writing the Proposal: Approach/Form/Style

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Writing the Proposal” (pp. 38-44) & Review Examples in “Writing the Proposal” (pp. 44-59)

Das, “Essential Script Elements” (pp. 16-37)

SCREENING:

Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)

Module 6: Research

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Research” (pp. 60-68)

Das, “Research, Research, Research: You Can’t Say It Enough!” (pp. 10-15)

SCREENING:

I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)

Module 7: Shaping the Film: Approach/Style/Form/Structure

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Shaping the Film” (pp. 69-83)

SCREENING:

Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989)

Module 8: Beginning the First Draft

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Beginning the First Draft” (pp. 84-98)

Das, “Writing a Great Script” (pp. 47-52)

SCREENING:

The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014)

Module 9: Spring Recess

Module 10: Midterm: Completing the First Draft

READING:

Rosenthal/Eckhardt, “Completing the First Draft” (pp. 99-115)

Module 11: Writing for Documentary Subjects/Social Actors Who Don't Speak - Revise: Content/Organization

READING:

TBA

SCREENING:

Kedi (Ceyda Torun, 2016)

Module 12: The Experimental Memoir - Revise: Approach/Form/Style

READING:

Scott MacDonald, “Su Friedrich” & “Script of Sink or Swim”

SCREENING:

Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich, 1990)

Module 13: Reflexivity & Documentary/Experimental Hybrids - Revise: Research

READING:

Scott MacDonald, “William Greaves,” “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One – Director’s Early Notes Prior to and during Production in the Spring of 1968,” & “Transcript of Excerpt from Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One”

SCREENING:

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (William Greaves, 1968)

Module 14: Experimental Ethnography - Revise: Approach/Style/Form/Structure

READING:

TBA

SCREENING:

Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2012)

Module 15: Thinking About Resources - Microbudget Documentary

READING:

TBA

SCREENING:

Give (David de Rozas, 2017)

Module 16: Discussing the Final Draft

Module 17: Final

Important Dates:

Day Class Begins: February 25

Last Day to Drop Class for 100% Refund: March 4

Last Day to Add: March 11

Last Day to Drop Without 'W': March 21

Last Day to Take Class P/NP: March 21

Last Day to Drop With 'W': May 7

Day Class Ends: May 22

Grades Available via WEB4: June 5

Assignments:

Our class starts at 8am on Monday, February 25 and consists of seventeen Modules. The course is a late add course which means we cover all seventeen Modules (17.5 weeks worth of material) in 12 weeks. The class covers one or two Modules each week. You will be able to read material, watch films, and complete assignments for each week beginning each Monday at 8am. All assignments for each week must be completed by 11:59pm on Sundays. Most weeks will require 1-2 discussion posts and response posts.

The first half of the course will work through the stages of nonfiction scriptwriting in relationship to documentary film: From idea to treatment/outline to shooting script. For the midterm, you will submit the first draft of your script project. The midterm resembles more of a formal outline where you will commit to a particular approach toward developing your script.

The second half of the course will focus on more experimental works. Many of the films we will study in the second half may be considered experimental documentaries or memoirs. These films will allow you to see how experimental imagemakers have incorporated documentary aspects to address topics such as queer autobiography and ethnography. These experimental works may inspire you to take a more unconventional approach toward your final script.

The final project for this course will consist of the 15-minute-long nonfiction shooting script and a treatment.

The class requires a minimum of about 10-12 hours of work per week. You will fall behind if you do not plan ahead and complete the work throughout each week. You will not be able to watch 1-2 feature films, complete 40-50 pages of reading, and complete discussion posts/response posts each week if you wait until the weekend to complete the work.

Attendance:

Students must login and complete work on Canvas in order to stay in the class. Students who do not complete all work from the first week by Sunday, March 3 at 11:59pm may be dropped from the class. I will maintain work completion records via Canvas and will let you know if you are not completing assignments. If you miss an assignment you will receive a notification via Canvas. Students who do not log into the class for more than one week or do not complete more than 2 consecutive weeks of assignments may be dropped from the class at any point. Any student whose grade drops below 60% after Week 4 will be dropped. I will make my best effort to contact students at least once before dropping them from the course, but keep in mind I typically have 200-250 students per semester. I will contact students via Canvas Inbox. Please make sure that you check your Canvas Inbox or link Canvas messaging to your CCSF email or preferred email address.

Grading:

Weekly Discussion Post & Response Post(s) (50% of Final Grade - /42)

Midterm (20% of Final Grade - /100)

Final (30% of Final Grade - /100)

Module 1: Introduction

Discussion Post – 3 pts.

Module 2: Planning the Script

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 3: Conceptualizing the Idea

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 4: Writing the Proposal: Content/Organization

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 5: Writing the Proposal: Approach/Form/Style

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 6: Research

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 7: Shaping the Film: Approach/Style/Form/Structure

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 8: Beginning the First Draft

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 9: Spring Recess

Module 10: Midterm: Completing the First Draft

100 pts.

Module 11: Writing for Documentary Subjects/Social Actors Who Don't Speak

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 12: The Experimental Memoir

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 13: Reflexivity & Documentary/Experimental Hybrids

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 14: Experimental Ethnography

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 15: Microbudget Documentary

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 16: Discussing the Final Draft

Discussion Post – 2 pts.

Response Post – 1 pts.

Module 17: Final

100 pts.

Late assignments cannot be accepted except in severe circumstances. You will not receive any points for late work. Also, please keep an eye on the “Announcements” link on the left side of the course homepage. Recent Announcements will also appear on the course home page.

Final Grades

100-90 = A

89-80 = B

79-70 = C

69-60 = D

< 59 = F

Standards of Conduct

Students who register in CCSF classes are required to abide by the CCSF Student Code of Conduct

Violation of the code is basis for referral to the Student Conduct Coordinator or dismissal from the course or CCSF. You are expected to do your own work, and have your own unique answers to questions. Anyone found cheating or plagiarizing the work of others will receive a zero on the assignment and face disciplinary action at the college. PLAGIARISM = copying/citing the words, images, videos, or ideas of others without giving them credit.

DSPS Accommodations

Students with disabilities who need academic accommodations should request them from the Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) located in the Rosenberg Library, Room 323 on the Ocean Campus. Telephone: 415-452-5481 (V) 415-452-5451 (TDD).