ADN 492 : Special Topics in Design – Film and Story Structure

“In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.”

-Alfred Hitchcock


In this writing workshop, students will develop skills in narrative structure and prepare screenplay of short documentary format (up to five minutes), and explore story elements (character, dialogue, scene construction).

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Through the analysis of short films, the following principles are examined and explained: three act story structure, plot points, the function of exposition, the catalyst, rising action, crisis, climax, culmination, resolution; idea, theme, as well as ability to create smaller parts of a movie – sequences and internal scene structure.
  2. Most importantly, students will learn to analyze films according the sequence method, and to employ it in their own short documentary screenwriting and filmmaking.
  3. Complete revised draft of an original short documentary screenplay (cca 10 pages) with solid topic, film structure, characters, locations and possible situations listed with possible narrative structure.

There should be finished preparation of a documentary (up to 5 min) of a single topic or portrait of a single person in its natural environment (or the environment given by the concept). The film might be also fictional, pedagogical aim is to work with Film Language. Creative limit is a usage of minimal sync-sound in direct speech into camera (possibly except of situation). No talking heads. There will be focus on making additional sound composition based on sounds collected on the place.