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Module Reading List

Screen Fiction, 2019/20, Semester 2
Dr Alison Peirse
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Core Reading:

John Yorke, Into the woods : a five act journey into story (London: Penguin, 2013)
Paul Ashton, The calling card script : a writer's toolbox for stage, screen and radio (London: A&C Black, 2011).
Edward Fink, Dramatic Story Structure: A Primer for Screenwriters ISBN: 9781135081225 (e-book) (London: Routledge, 2013)

I highly recommend that you purchase a second-hand copy of Into the Woods. There are print copies in the Library but they are limited. The Calling Card Script and Dramatic Story Structure are both available as eBooks through the library catalogue so you do not need to purchase copies of these if you are happy to read these books online. All film and television viewing will be freely available to stream anytime via Box of Broadcasts.


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Weekly Viewing and Reading:

Week One: Introduction

My mad fat diary : series 1 [videorecording]. (2013 - 2014, created by Tom Bidwell, E4, UK)
Series One Episode One ‘Big Wide World’. 47 mins.
Series One Episode Two ‘Touched’. 47 mins.

Chewing Gum (2015 – 2015, created by Michaela Coel, E4, UK)
Series One Episode One ‘Sex and Violence’. 25 mins.
Series One Episode Two ‘Binned’. 25 mins.

Michael Rabiger, Developing Story Ideas 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2016), pp.73 – 78. Chapter ‘The Tools of the Dramatist’. 
 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Paul Ashton, The Calling Card Script (London: A&C Black, 2011), pp.11 – 13, 49 - 54. Sections ‘The Writer as Medium’, ‘Where to Begin’.

Week Two: Character I

Point break [videorecording]. (1991, dir. Kathryn Bigelow, USA). 122 mins.

Point Break Screenplay. All scripts will be provided as PDFs on Minerva.
John Yorke, Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey into Story (London: Penguin, 2013), pp.3 – 31; 45 - 60. Chapter 1 ‘What is a Story?’, Chapter 2 ‘Three Act Structure’, Chapter 4 ‘The Importance of Change’.
Ashton, The Calling Card Script, pp.77 – 93. Section ‘Getting into Character’.

Week Three: Character II

Bros, ‘When Will I Be Famous?’ Official Music Video (1988): 4.20 mins.
Bros, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ Official Music Video (1988): 3.40 mins.
Bros : after the screaming stops [videorecording] (2018, dir. Joe Pearlman & David Soutar, UK). 98 mins.

Yorke, Into the Woods, pp.123 – 151. Chapters 12 – 15. Chapter 14 available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva.
Ashton, The Calling Card Script, pp.122 – 138. Section ‘Deeper into Character’.
Neil Landau, TV writing on demand : creating great content in the digital era ISBN: 9781138705715 (pbk.); 9781138705692 (hardback); 9781315202150 (e-book) (London: Routledge, 2018), pp.127 – 150. Chapter 7 ‘Character Empathy vs Sympathy’.
 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Week Four: Dialogue I

Fleabag (2016, created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, BBC3, UK)
Episode One. 26 mins.
Episode Two. 26 mins.
Episode Three. 25 mins.
Episode Four. 26 mins.
Episode Five. 23 mins.
Episode Six. 25 mins.

Fleabag Pilot Script.
Ashton, The Calling Card Script, pp.198 – 217. Section ‘The Character’s Voice’.
Edward Fink, Dramatic story structure : a primer for screenwriters ISBN: 9781135081225 (e-book) (London: Routledge, 2014), pp.84 – 105. Chapter 5 Dialogue.

Recommended further reading:
Steven Maras, Screenwriting : history, theory and practice ISBN: 9781905674817 (pbk.) : £16.99; 9781905674824 (hbk.) : £45.00; 1905674821 (hbk.) : £45.00; 1905674813 (pbk.) : £16.99 (London: Wallflower, 2009). Chapter 4 'Reading the Screenplay', pp.63 - 78. 
 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Week Five: Plot & Structure I: Linear Films

Wallace and Gromit : the wrong trousers [videorecording]. (1993, dir. Nick Park, UK). 29 mins.


The Script Lab on 'Three Acts' - read sections on Act One, Act Two, Act Three:

The Script Lab on the alternative, 'eight sequence' model:

The Script Lab on the midpoint: and on the midpoint mirror:

Read a couple of The Script Lab Five Plot Point Breakdowns:

Go into the Story How to Raise the Stakes:

You may wish to revisit Chapter 2 'Three Act Structure' of Yorke, Into the Woods

Then read IYorke, Into the Woods, Chapter 3 'Five Act Structure', (Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva) Chapter 5 'How We Tell Stories', Chapter 8 'The Inciting Incident' (Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva).

Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Suggested further reading:
Craig Batty, Screenplays : how to write and sell them ISBN: 9781842436448 (e-book) (Harpenden: Kamera, 2012), pp.75 – 100. Chapter 6 ‘Designing a Structure’. 

Week Six: Plot & Structure II: Nonlinear Films 

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004, dir. Michel Gondry, USA). 108 mins.

Ashton, The Calling Card Script, pp.55 – 63. Section ‘Kinds of Stories’.
Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush, Alternative scriptwriting : beyond the Hollywood formula ISBN: 9780240522463 (pbk.); 9780240522470 (ebk.); 9781136053627 (ebk.) 5th ed. (Abingdon: Focal Press, 2013), pp.193 – 202. Chapter 14 ‘The Non-Linear Film’. 

Recommended further reading:

Pilar Alessandra, The coffee break screenwriter...breaks the rules : a guide for the rebel writer ISBN: 9781615932825 (pbk.) : £9.99 (Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese, 2018), pp.56 – 64. Chapter 6 ‘News Flash: There is No Structure Jail’.  OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (KR 17/01/2019) 

Week Seven: Plot & Structure III: The Importance of Genre

Student choice, at least one episode from Secrets of Cinema genre series

Student choice, at least five shorts in chosen genre from

Dancyger and Rush, Alternative Scriptwriting, pp.91 – 121. Chapter 8 ‘Why Genre’, Chapter 9 ‘Working with Genre I’.

Robert McKee, Story : substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting ISBN: 9780413715609 (pbk.); 0413715604 (pbk.); 0413715507 (New York: Regan Books, 1997), pp.79 – 99. Chapter 4 ‘Structure and Genre’. 
 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Week Eight: Plot & Structure IV: The TV Drama Pilot

Veronica Mars : the complete collection [videorecording]. (2004 – 2007, created by Rob Thomas, UPN / The CW, USA)
Episode One. Pilot. 42 mins.

Scandal : the complete first season [videorecording]. (2012 – 2018, created by Shonda Rimes, ABC, USA)
Episode One. Pilot. 45 mins.

Killing Eve [videorecording]. (2018, created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sid Gentle / BBC America, USA / UK)
Episode One. Nice Face. 43 mins.

Veronica Mars Pilot Script.
Scandal Pilot Script.
Killing Eve Pilot Script.

Pamela Douglas, Writing the TV drama series : how to succeed as a professional writer in TV 3rd ed. (Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese, 2018), pp.13 - 37.

Daniel Calvisi, Story maps : TV drama. The structure of the one-hour television pilot (Act Four Screenplays, 2016), pp.32 - 59.

Recommended further reading:
Jason Mittell, Complex TV : the poetics of contemporary television storytelling ISBN: 9780814769607 (pbk.); 9780814771358 (hbk.); 9780814744963 (New York: New York University Press), pp. 55 – 85. Chapter 2 ‘Beginnings’.

Week Nine: Dialogue II

Peaky Blinders (2013 - , created by Steven Knight, BBC2, UK)
Series One. Episode One. 58 mins.

Peaky Blinders Pilot Script.
Yorke, Into the Woods, pp.163 – 168. Chapter 17 ‘Subtext’.
Steve Waters, The secret life of plays ISBN: 9781848420007 (pbk.) : £10.99; 1848420005 (pbk.) : £10.99 (London: Nick Hern Books, 2010), pp.114 – 140. Chapter 6 ‘Powers of Speech: Language as Rhetoric’. 
 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

** Easter break. Write and Redraft Screenplay for Summative Assessment**

Week 10: Table Read

No set viewing or craft reading in preparation for this week.

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Further Reading:

This list was last updated on 06/09/2019