The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago




Course Title: Scriptwriting and Storytelling for Digital Media Production



Course Number and Section: DMP

Term: Fall


Year:  2005



Number of Contact Hours: 6

Time: Tuesday / Thursday 6:30– 9:20 pm

Weekly Homework Hours: 3-6

Place: 180 N. Wabash (Loop)



Instructor: Lindsay D. Grace




Office Phone / E-mail:

Office Hours: As needed


Course Overview:
This course focuses on applying industry-standard scriptwriting and storyboarding techniques to media production.  Contents to be covered include the various purposes and formats of scripts, the basic terminology and concepts used in scriptwriting, and the application of scriptwriting techniques to the creation of scripts and storyboards.
Required Reading:
               The Screenwriter’s Bible, 1-879505-44-4
Required Viewing
               As specified – see film list
Drawing & Perspective, Color Theory & Design 
Course Objectives: 
·        Exhibit proficiency in writing for media production.
·        Demonstrate proficient use of language, grammar, and vocabulary in writing for media.
·        Recognize and apply the stylistic characteristics in writing for media.
·        Develop narrative, storytelling, and scriptwriting skills. 
·        Create scripts specific to various target audiences and delivery mechanisms.
·        Identify the demographic attributes of a target audience.
·        Determine delivery mechanisms appropriate for the subject.
·        Write a script to tell a story with appropriate techniques and style for the subject.
·        Select specific scripting approaches that appeal to a chosen audience.
·        Research background, story, or project information.
·        Apply basic library research skills.
·        Employ the various search engines on the Internet.
·        Interact with media clearing houses.
·        Conduct a basic media research.
·        Evaluate and organize researched information for effective presentation.
Week 1: Book 1
               Overview of Story fundamentals
Week 2: Book 1
               Overview of Story fundamentals (continued)          
               Character and Dialogue 
Week 3: Book 2
               Research: Finding Ideas
               Understanding Audience 
               Formatting a PSA or Commercial 
Week 4: Book 2 and Handouts
               Creating a Treatment                             
               *****PSA/ Commercial Due*****    
Week 5: Book 3
               Writing a Teleplay/ TV Script

Week 6: Book 3

            Writing a Teleplay / TV Script


Week 7: Book 4

            Writing a screenplay

            The Art of Revision


            *****Teleplay Due*****


Week 8: Book 4

            Writing a screenplay – Camera Language

            Creating Big Stories


Week 9: Book 5(199-208) – Protecting Your Work

            Developing a larger script


Week 10: Handouts and Revisions

            Peer Review


Week 11: Work Week


*****Final Project Due*****

Course Requirements and Policies


There will be a lecture and discussion for every class session.


Many classes will involve workshop activities that seek to enhance your writing abilities through practice and guidance. Some workshop activities evolve into homework assignments.


All assignments must be handed in at the beginning of class.


Students should always keep a backup copy of their work.


No late assignments are accepted. Every working professional is expected to provide their work on time. Failing to do so reflects poorly on that person’s performance. Repeated failure to meet deadlines often results in firing. It is best to learn to meet deadlines now.


In this course, each assignment will build on the previous.  Failure to complete the prior week’s assignment will make each subsequent week more difficult. It is in your best interest to complete each assignment on time and to the best of your ability. Always hand in what you have, even if you want to revise it. Partial credit is better than no credit at all.



Movie and Television Viewing:

In addition to reading and writing, watching good scripts helps you to become a good writer.  This course requires you to view films on a weekly basis.  You may rent these films from local rental outlets or borrow them from the local library.  It’s also a good idea to watch these films with other students.  Please allow yourself time to obtain and watch the required film list.  Failure to watch required films will adversely effect your grade in this course. 


Grading System:


Point Score range

Letter Grade

93 and above






















Below 60







Score Breakdown/Grading Basis:


Participation and Preparedness:                                                              5%

PSA/ Commercial:                                                                                                   10%

Week 7 - Midterm Project: Teleplay                                                       20%

Week 11 - Final Project: (2) Teleplays or Short Film                            25%

Assignments and Workshops:                                                                               40%


Midterm grades will be based on current collected assignment and the PSA commercial project. 



Attendance / Absences:


Students are expected to attend each class and arrive on time.  It is a student’s responsibility to contact the instructor when they know they will be absent or have missed a class session.  Students should notify the instructor of their planned absence as soon as they are capable.  It is best to send an email.


Makeup exams and acceptance of late assignments will only be granted in the following circumstances; Medical excuse, emergencies, campus-sponsored activities.


All issues of attendance and tardiness will be handled as school policy dictates and at the discretion of the instructor.


Cheating and Plagiarism:


Any student that cheats or plagiarizes will be reported to the academic standards committee and may be dismissed from the course.


All homework is to be completed independently (except when instructed otherwise). Any student who is caught or suspected of working in conjunction with any other student will be penalized.


Student Accommodations

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a special needs coordinator, Jamey DiVietro, who organizes services for qualified students requiring reasonable accommodations. Notifying the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago that you have a disability or special needs is optional and confidential. However, in order for the school to accommodate your needs, we need advance notice of the services you require. For more information please contact Jamey DiVietro at 312-777-8616.