Actors and writers alike enroll in screenwriting classes to learn how to write television or movie scripts. Scriptwriting is also a great outlet for middle and high schoolers to practice their writing skills.
The key to scriptwriting is the character development and the formatting of the script. Much different than a novel, a script is character-centric. Conveying this notion in lesson plans on writing a script may prove to be a bit challenging, particularly because the student may be very excited by the creative aspect of the project, but may become bored with the learning process.
"Write a Batman Script"
Grade Levels: 7-8
- Students will write a script
- Students will develop characters
- Students will develop situations for the characters to go through
- "Throw Mama From the Train" script (first three scenes)
- Screenwriting for Dummies book
- "Throw Mama From the Train" DVD
- Pass out photocopies of select sections in the Screenwriting for Dummies book to the class.
- Pass out the "Throw Mama From the Train" script (first three scenes only)
- Turn on the first 20 minutes of "Throw Mama From the Train"
- Have students identify the characters and their motives
- Have students analyze what the characters are going through
- Have students write their own scene four of "Throw Mama From the Train"
The above lesson plan can also be implemented by assigning a book like The Great Gatsby to the class to read and then have them write a script scene based on one of the chapters of the book.
Students can also practice screenwriting using real life experiences. If you plan to have students pull material from real life experiences you should develop a specific lesson plan that includes direction on a specific timeframe of experience to draw from as well as what should and should not be included.
A lesson plan on character development would include an activity on dialogue development. For example:
- You write out on strips of paper dialogue lines. Put them in a shoebox and shake them around.
- Have a few students select no more than two lines of dialogue.
- After the students look at the line(s) of dialogue, you can have them brainstorm on a character that actually might say that line of dialogue.
- Give the students a character profile list that will better enable them to develop the characters.
- From inception to conclusion the student will have to come up with a clear character profile. They will write a monologue that answers the questions:
- What does the character treasure the most?
- When did they laugh or cry last? Why did they do this?
- The characters must use the line of dialogue that they initially selected at either the beginning or the end of the monologue. Having the students prepare the monologue will better enable them to write and understand character profiles.
These lesson plans will give teachers direction on the objectives they should have and how to structure their lessons on scriptwriting with creativity.