Winter 2012 quarter
- Tom Maddox
- Fields of Study
- communications, literature, media studies, moving image and writing
- Preparatory for studies or careers in
- writing, screenplay writing, American film, theory of fiction, and literary studies.
Storytelling has changed in extraordinary ways during the thousands of years separating preliterate tellers and singers of tales from contemporary novelists, graphic artists, or filmmakers. However, in all their work we can recognize the elements and structures of story . This program is for students who want to understand these elements in order to make better stories, and who want to develop a deep, practical understanding of the structures that govern forms such as film, television, and the short story. Primarily, they will learn the grammar and practice of storywriting by examining the works of masters and attempt to apply this knowledge in their own work. Students who want to tell stories are welcome, whatever their chosen expressive mode--prose, poetry, graphics, film, television, videogame script, or any other genre or mix of media.
Movies and television are media that pose unique challenges and opportunities regarding story and dramatization; they are also the dominant media of our time. They are inherently collaborative and demand specialized talents and skills from a writer, who must work within limits imposed by time, space, money, and the myriad complexities of production, as well as the formulaic expectations that have come to govern the 50-minute television drama or 22-minute comedy and the 120-minute film. Thus we will spend considerable time examining how screenplays work and discovering the conventions governing them.
We will also pay attention to short stories, perhaps the most demanding story form, in order to learn from its masters how to combine economy of expression with great power. Authors will most likely include Anton Chekhov, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, and Raymond Carver.
Students will begin the quarter by describing a storytelling project they want to complete; then, in consultation with the faculty, they will write a project proposal detailing their goals. The projects will be the core and driving force of student work. As the quarter progresses, students also submit work in progress for ongoing critique and guidance. At the end of the quarter, they will present their finished project for group review and response.
Every week students will read stories and view films or television episodes. They will also participate in weekly film and story seminars, where they will respond to the week's viewing and reading. In weekly story workshops, they will submit their work for group critique and do a series of workshop exercises. Finally, every week will end with meetings of the SIGs (special interest groups). These small groups will be defined, organized, and run by the students. This is the part of the program where students are free to define their own topic and pursue it according to their own needs. As examples, these might include short fiction, situation comedies, hard-boiled detective fiction, or graphic novels.
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|October 28th, 2011||New offering added.|