Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592:Introduction to Screenwriting

Instructor: Lou Buttino

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to screenwriting format, craft, and technique, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of storytelling. Students workshop multiple revisions of a short narrative script. The goal is to complete a polished script suitable for screenwriting competitions and production.

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe in you. I believe in your capacity to visualize and I want to help you understand how to tell a story, not just for now, but throughout your life. No matter what you do in film, you will need to be able to analyze a story. No matter what genre or writing venue you land upon, the elements of a good story seldom varies by too much. I believe that you learn writing by listening to others, and authors who spent much of their lives studying creativity and screenwriting. Think of the years you will save if you listen to them, and to others, carefully and with your full attention. I am here to help. I'm more of a coach that a teacher. I'm here to inform, inspire and insist that you do the very best you can.

Learning Outcomes:

You will learn the fundamentals of storytelling applicable to a variety of writing forms. You will learn how to plot a story, develop characters, and execute your work in the screenwriting format. You will learn about the creative process itself, and learn about screenwriting from the the maestro himself, Aristotle, and one of the most widely heralded screenwriting instructors. If you work at it, you will have a polished, well-honed screen play.

It is my hope that you will be able to analyze and edit your own work better as a result of this course. Since issues come up in your work that do not follow a neat or even coherent pattern, when I say "workshop" below, I intend to bring to bear story elements and other pertinent information as it has relevance to your own particular, and unique, screenplay.

Course Reading and Assignments:

You are to read all texts and make an effort to understand them. We will discuss the texts in class.

You will be making presentations to the class. These will include "pitching" and work shopping your story to the class. We represent the people you are trying to convince to put up money and to produce your story. This will occur on an ongoing basis throughout the semester. "Ongoing" here means your re-writes and revisions. We will draw names randomly as to the order of presentations. I will draw up a calendar of when you are to present. You will be evaluated on whether or not you are prepared and adhere to the guidelines of the assignment.


You are required to be in class. You get one excused or unexcused absence. A death in the family and other major issues have to be addressed with me directly. You get one absence because one seminar absence is the equivalent of three absences (3 contact hours). Two absences and your grade is reduced by one letter grade. Three absences, another letter grade, and so on.

--If you should miss class, please get the information of what happened from your peers--

Texts, Method of Evaluation, and Schedule:

This information will be provided in the course syllabus.

Last Update: February 6, 2017