Part of Unit: Writing for the Screen
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
The main focus of this lesson is the technical formatting of the written script.
Students will learn about the five elements of a story (5 W's), and apply those elements into the traditional three-act plot structure from the previous lesson in this course. This lesson expands the content of the previous lesson; plot-development, and how to write a story and teaches how to go from story, setting and plot to finished movie script.
Students will be able to identify and discuss the specific formatting details of a traditional narrative movie script. Students will produce and format their own narrative script.
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- AME.A.A2.5 Know the writing processes, formats, and conventions used for various media.
- MPD.B.B4.2 Understand the process for producing a comprehensive script and storyboard.
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
- ELA.1.R.NAGT.3.1 Identify and describe the elements of plot, setting, and character(s) in a story...
- ELA.5.R.NAGT.3.2 Identify the main problem or conflict of the plot and explain how it is resolved.2
- ELA.5.R.SFIM.2.1 Understand how text features (e.g., format, graphics, sequence, diagrams, illust...2
- ELA.5.W.2.1b Write narratives that show, rather than tell, the events of the story.
- T.2.AP.DVT.1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre to describe theatrical experiences, such as plot (...
- T.5.AP.CATE.1.2 Identify the structural elements of plot (exposition, complication, crisis, clim...
- T.5.AP.DVT.1.1 Use the vocabulary of theatre to describe theatrical experiences, such as sense ...
- T.5.CE.CT.2.3 Collaborate as an actor, director, scriptwriter, or technical artist to create f...
- T.9-12 (proficient).CRA.CCS.5.3 Demonstrate an understanding of the professional standards of the actor, directo...
English Language Development Standards
- R.LRA.EA.NAGATLC.K.R Read and identify beginning, middle, and end of a story.
- R.RC.EA.C.L Locate and identify the function of text features such as format, diagrams, char...
Common Core Standards (Reinforced)
- Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting ...
- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effecti...
- Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and ...
- Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing o...
- Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate e...
Objectives and Goals
- Students will learn to identify the five main elements of a story
- Students will learn the three-act design of the traditional screenplay.
- Students will understand the basics of plot development, and character development.
- The students will learn the terminology, format, and basic elements of a narrative film script.
- Students will be able to create a narrative story, and properly format the story as a film script.
Activities in this Lesson
- THE MOVIE SCRIPT - Hooks / Set
To begin the lesson, show the movie titled, "How to write a Script."
This video introduces the concept of a three-part story structure, and emphasizes the script as the heart of any movie.
After viewing the video, lead a class discussion, and review the key concepts of the video:
ACT 1: Introduces the characters, setting, etc. Who, What , Where, When... and sometimes Why. (5 elements of a story). Act 1 sets up the story. Possible conflict / problems is introduced near end of Act 1.
ACT 2: Conflict shifts characters into having to deal with the conflict. - Enter Act 2. What happens now that the conflict is introduced? In Act 2, there is a "Turning Point" which shifts the story when the conflict becomes a drastic problem or danger. The situation has become dire. Leads into the 'point of no return'.
ACT 3: Now the situation is the most dire, seems hopeless, the character(s) is against the worst odds, close to failing... intense... How do they eventually deal with the conflict... how do they use their strengths, intellect, emotional strength, resources, to resolve the issue....? FInally, Resolution! The big ending.
- Trigger Word Activity - Guided Practice
TRIGGER WORD ACTIVITY
-Students will write a significant person, animal, or object on an index card.
-Students will flip the card and create the 5 elements of a possible story that relate to the trigger word. (5 W's)
-Teacher will then guide students to focus on a beginning, middle, and end to create a three-part story. (Acts 1,2,3)
-Teacher will invite each student to present his/her story to the class.
*THESE INDEX CARDS WILL BE USED LATER IN THIS LESSON- SO HAVE THE STUDENTS HOLD ON TO THEM.
- Very short lecture - Lecture
Screenplays or SCRIPTS submitted to studios, production companies and talent agencies are expected to conform to a very specific standard format, which stipulates how the elements of a screenplay (scene headings, action, transitions, dialogue, character names, shots and parenthetical) should appear on the page. This includes font type and size, margins and line spacing. In fact, scripts submitted in anything but this traditional form are universally rejected for being unprofessional.
Usually best to play it safe and stick with the font: Times or Times New Roman. !2 pt.
For scheduling and budgeting purposes, the rule of thumb is that one page of screenplay is equal to one minute of screen time.
- Formatting your story into a film Script - Lecture
Hand out to the students the document titled, "Script Example 1"
And ask the students to take a look at it closely. Ask them what it is? (A film script)...
Ask the class the following question: What do you see? What features make the film script unique? How is it formatted, or structured/organized?
Allow time for discussion....
Havel each student to write their names on the upper right corner of the script example.
At this point, is it good to have each student follow along as you identify each specific element of the script and it's formatting. Slug-line(heading), Transition, Action/Scene descriptor, Parentheticals, Dialogue. Character names.
Now hand out the second handout: Script Example 2.
- How To Format a Script - Demo / Modeling
*There are several popular softwares designed for script writing and formatting. Final Draft, Celtex to name a couple. Celtex is free, and FInal Draft comes with curriculum, and other educational supplements for teaching script writing, formatting etc. link: http://celtx.com/
Play the movie titled, "How to format your script". Ask the students to refer to their Script Example #2 while they watch to identify the various parts or elements of the formatting.
- Script Formatting Quiz - Assessment
After viewing the video, "How to format your script", ask the students is the video demonstrating the same formatting in the "Script Example 2" handout? (yes)
Tell the students to prepare for a quiz where they each will need to look at a script example like "Script Example 2", and write in the names of the main elements of the script:
SLUG-LINE, TRANSITION, DIALOGUE, CHARACTER, etc.
- Script Formatting Quiz [ Download ]
- Format your own script! - Projects
At this point, we return the the Trigger Word activity previously in this lesson. Have the students retrieve the INDEX CARDS from the Trigger Word activity.
**Use either MS WORD, or Celtex, or FINAL DRAFT, or whatever is best for your classroom, and assign the following activity:
The Assignment is to take the three act story from the back side of the index card, and format one page of script from that story idea.
Tell the students to pick a point in their stories, and begin with the SLUG-LINE, and go from there. Make the story come alive with the ACTION descriptors, and the DIALOGUE etc.
Handout the SCRIPT Rubric to each stuent for assessment purposes.
*Students are expected to follow this formatting for all future video assignments requiring the narrative film script.
- Script formatting RUBRIC [ Download ]
- Assessment Types:
- Rubrics, Projects, Writing Samples, Demonstrations,
Students identify the elements of a written script example, use the proper terminology, and eventually create their own script from a three-act story plot they wrote themselves.
- Script Formatting Quiz [ Download ]