Please note: this unit is more condensed than our prior units due to time constraints. As a result, you complete a smaller number of critiques. In this case, you are expected to complete 12 total annotations during the workshop (as assigned by Canvas). For this final unit, I will tally your critiques evenly between the two grade columns after all critiques have been submitted (the last day of class).
So, drama/screenplay is a really unique medium. It – especially screenwriting – has an elaborate set of conventions that many writers can find overwhelming and can fill an entire course by itself. Know up front: we’re not going to get into the nitty gritty details of it. Instead, we’re going to keep it simple. Please follow the guidelines presented here: https://www.writopialab.org/programs/specialty-programs/worldwide-plays-festival/the-competition/standard-playwriting-format (the link is also in the module underneath this assignment). Please note: things like our length requirements assume you will be following this formatting. Disregard it at your own peril (and potential grade penalties). However, perhaps more importantly – screenplays and stageplays have a very crucial constraint: barring extensive voiceover (which is EXTREMELY discouraged both by the industry and myself), you can’t directly present character thoughts. Instead – EVERYTHING must be conveyed through dialogue, action, image, irony, etc. You might even want to revisit the 3rd person objective/secrets prompt for ideas.
THE PROMPT: COMPOSE a 4-7 page adaptation of a scene or scenes from a piece of short fiction. You may choose any piece of short fiction from our reading assignments, from the textbook, or from your peer’s workshop submissions. Please do not pick your own.
Drama and Screenplay Workshop Objectives/Requirements
You are going to write 4-7 pages of adapted material.
You are going to practice implementing basic stage play formatting conventions – see the appropriate link.
You are going to practice showing rather than telling. Screen and stage writing do not show the thoughts of characters outside the occasional monologue, aside, or soliloquy. Though there is a convention for voice overs and narrators – we are not going to use those here.
You’re going to practice creating an interpretation of a work created by another author whether it be a professional or peer.
When you choose what scenes to adapt – try to work with scenes that showcase character dynamics. Just like poetry and fiction, we need there to be something dynamic/changing about the main character we focus on.
Though you can fill in details not present in the work you are adapting, you may not change any details of the work you are adapting. In other words, you can choreograph a detailed fight in place of they phrase “They fight” but you cannot have them hug instead.
Assume your reader has read the piece you are adapting – though please indicate WHICH piece you are adapting underneath your title.
Please post your drama and screenplay workshop submission packet here. Do not forget to adhere to all requirements. Failure to follow the guidelines can result in point loss and (in some cases) a loss of opportunity for your work to be discussed.
Additional Constraints and Considerations:
In order to complete the workshop successfully, you must accomplish the following:
Content restrictions and suggestions: You might not have the space to adapt the entire work you have selected. Stage and screen both require the story slow down and focus on scene and moment to moment action and dialogue. This is fine. Do not try to force the whole story into our 4-7 pages. Instead, focus on conveying the material you adapt well.
The most important task is to center in on the places where action or action-through-dialogue occur. All stage and screen is build around scene – do NOT rely on narration.
Please treat the source material with respect. While you are welcome to explore your own meanings and themes, it is discouraged for you to deliberately counteract or undermine the ideas of the original. For example – let’s say we have a story about the importance of pacifism. If you adapt it so that the work glorifies violence – you’d be seriously distorting the original work.
Racism, hate speech, graphic violence, and/or graphic sexuality are not allowed unless they clearly and directly generate significant constructive meaning within the piece. Put another way: socially aware pieces that construct a strong message sometimes might need to push boundaries to succeed. Any element within a poem or piece of creative writing should be purposeful – extreme elements that aren’t purposeful actively undermine the piece. If you have any concerns about content – don’t just decide not to include it – that too undermines the work – instead, ask. I will happily review and material or ideas you fear may be objectionable and let you know my thoughts.
Craft Requirements:Your drama/screenplay must develop a central character who displays dynamic characteristics (during the course of the story, your character must either change or have the opportunity to change and either fail to do so or deliberately choose not to do so).
Your central character needs to have a central, driving desire.
Do not forget to use stage directions/description to build out your setting. Try to focus in on details that you believe are concrete and significant.
You must develop a clear plot – here defined as a sequence of events that connects to the central characters attempt to achieve their desire.
Style Restrictions:Your drama/screenplay must be proofread. While some breakage of grammatical rules is expected for stylistic purposes, sloppy editing is not acceptable and will result in point loss, especially if the clarity of your piece suffers because of a lack of time and effort attending basic mechanics.
Your use of language should reflect a solid level of effort through the establishment of a level of diction appropriate to the voice of the characters/narrator.
Download, read, and critique your peer’s work. For annotation and critical/craft discussion guidelines., see the reoccurring guidelines section of our canvas home page.
Workshop Submission Point value: 100 points towards Workshop Submission grade category
Workshop Submission Evaluation Rubric
Length (20 points): The assignment meets the basic length requirements.
Cohesion (20 points): The assignment develops clear and coherent prose or verse and events described in the assignment follow comprehensible cause and effect in a manner internally consistent to the creative piece.
Mechanics (20 points): The piece is written in mechanically correct, edited Standard American English (SAE). NOTE: deviations from SAE for stylistic purposes will be considered on their own merit on a case-by-case basis.
Craft (20 points): The piece incorporates deliberate examples from within the categories of craft elements (image, voice, character, setting, story, conventions of the 3 genres) studied during the course up to the date of submission.
Uniqueness and Originality (20 points): All pieces are to be original student work and seek to present a unique and distinct combination of elements particular to the thinking and abilities of each student. Please note: fan-fiction (works set in the universes created by other authors) is not allowed within this course.
Timeliness: Because of the unique concerns of our class concerning the need for access to peer work in order for students to be able to complete required assignments, late postings of workshop materials will be subject to up to a letter grade penalty for every 12 HOURS they are late unless prior arrangements have been made with me (in situations such as severe illness and other emergencies). Works more than 48 hours late will not be eligible for peer-critique.