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Dramatic Writing Program


Professor Gaylyn Studlar, Director
Program in Film and Video Studies
2512 Frieze Building 1285
(734) 764-0147

Wendy Hammond, Coordinator
Assistant Professor, Theatre and Drama
Lecturer, English Language and Literature
3541B Frieze Building 1285
(734) 936-2414
(734) 647-7693


Film-Video's Dramatic Writing Homepage

Theatre Department's Dramatic Writing Homepage

May be elected as an interdisciplinary concentration program


Beaver (Film and Video), Brater (English Language and Literature), Fredricksen (Theatre and Drama), Konigsberg (Film and Video)

Associate Professors

Gordon (Theatre and Drama), Neville-Andrews (Theatre and Drama)

Assistant Professors

Hammond (Theatre and Drama)

Lecturers Burnstein (Film and Video), Rayher (Film and Video)

The Dramatic Writing Program is a cross-college, interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration (A.B.) between the Program of Film and Video Studies and the departments of English and Theater and is administered by a Faculty Oversight Committee. The concentration is designed to enrich, coordinate, and make visible the creative work emerging from playwriting and screenwriting classes at the University, as well as to provide an intellectually resonant forum for the historical and analytical study of forms of writing intended for production on the stage or screen.

The integration of the disciplines of playwriting and screenwriting into a joint concentration in Dramatic Writing unites two artistic endeavors which logically belong together in an academic context just as they are united in the cultural world. This concentration centralizes the study of dramatic writing as text and as art form, providing students with a logically structured concentration that emphasizes a global approach to the analysis, study, and creation of dramatic texts. The curriculum for the Dramatic Writing concentration provides strong historical and theoretical grounding that stresses the inter-relatedness of the intellectual study and creative production of dramatic texts. It is our belief that better writers are made of those who are well read, but also of those who have the opportunity to be immersed in the creative production of texts for the stage or for the moving image (film, video, studio television, digital images). Studying the liberal art of dramatic writing can make a better, more thoughtful reader and viewer of the students in this concentration who may ultimately decide to pursue a career other than that of professional author. The goal of this concentration, then, is not merely to produce technically skilled screenwriters and playwrights, but also to acquaint student writers with the full range of excellent plays, films, and productions that have preceded them.

The Dramatic Writing Program ensures an integrated and creative approach to dramatic texts and provides formal advisory guidance to writers who are presently on their own and may be constructing an arbitrarily assembled course of study rather than receiving comprehensive training. The program provides student playwrights with as full a command of their craft as possible through the optional playwriting sequence (6 credits). Similarly, screenwriting is studied as it emerges from both visual and literary forms. Students may gain more extensive creative experience in screenwriting through the sequence devoted to this dramatic art. The program seeks to enrich the training of students interested in screenwriting by exposing them to the building-block fundamentals of theatrical form (scene and act construction, dialogue, character, theme) while broadening the instruction our playwrights receive by having them study the virtues of cinematic technique (story, pace, editing, visual composition).

Valuable forums offer students the opportunity to see their work in production and promote our integrated approach to the creation and study of dramatic texts. Students will have a public forum for presenting productions from their work at Theater's regularly-presented Shorts Festival and Film and Video Studies' End of the Semester Student Festival.

Undergraduate Committee. Students who wish to consult or petition the program regarding any requirement should submit a written request addressed to the Program Undergraduate Committee, 2512 Frieze Building.

The Avery and Jule Hopwood Awards in Creative Writing. Under the terms of the will of Avery Hopwood, a member of the Class of 1905, the annual income from a generous endowment fund is distributed in prizes for creative work in four fields: dramatic writing, fiction, poetry, and the essay. Competition is open to qualified students enrolled in any school or college of the University. Entrants must, however, be enrolled in a designated writing course elected through the Department of English Language and Literature, Residential College, the Program in Film and Video Studies, or the Department of Theatre. For full information about the conditions of competition contact the Hopwood Program Associate, 1006 Angell Hall, 764-6296.

The Leonard and Eileen Newman Prize for Dramatic Writing. Students enrolled in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts may submit dramatic writing - screenplays, stage plays, or teleplays - for consideration to the Leonard and Eileen Newman Prize for Dramatic Writing. The winner will receive an award of $1000, to be announced as part of the Hopwood Awards ceremony. Full information about entry is available in The Program in Film and Video Studies office, 2512 Frieze Building. 764-0147.

Prerequisites to the concentration.

Theater 211/English 245/RC Hums. 280, Introduction to Drama and Theater, and
Film and Video Studies 200, Introduction to Film, Video, and Television Production.

Application is selective. It should be made to the concentration through submission of the student's writing portfolio, with a letter of application copies of course transcripts, and letters of recommendation from two faculty members.

Concentration Program. 30 credits as follows:

  1. Core Courses:

    Theater 242. Directing II

    English 327. Playwriting II

    Film and Video 310. Screenwriting I


  2. Specialization: At the 400 level of writing coursework, students specialize in either Playwriting or Screenwriting and choose one of the following sequences:
    1. Sequence in Playwriting (6 credits). English 427, Playwriting and one of the following: Theater 420, Playwriting toward Production; English 428, Senior Thesis Tutorial; Theatre 430, Theater Senior Playwriting Tutorial (Thesis).
    2. Sequence in Screenwriting (6 credits). Film and Video 410, Advanced Screenwriting and one of the following: Film and Video 423, Practicum for the Screenwriter or Film-Video 489, Film and Video Senior Screenwriting Tutorial (Thesis).
  3. Electives and Cognates (15 credits):
    1. Six credits chosen from the following general surveys of drama, theater, or film: English 443, 444, 447, 448, 449; Theatre 321, 322, 423; Film/Video 350, 360
    2. Nine credits chosen from the following drama, theatre or film history, criticism, and/or theory courses:

      Any course listed in 3a not used to meet the 3a requirements

      Comparative Literature 436

      English 317, 319, 367, 368, 445, 446, 450, 467

      Film/Video 361, 414, 420, 440, 441, 442, 455, 460, 461, 470

      French 440

      German 330, 331

      Music History and Musicology 413

      Musical Theatre 441, 442

      Russian 463, 470

      Theatre 402

Honors Concentration. The Honors Program in Dramatic Writing is open to seniors who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their University courses and who have demonstrated both the interest and capacity to carry out the independent work required to complete an Honors thesis during their senior year. Applications should be made by Spring of the junior year.

Advising. Students who may be interested in a concentration in Dramatic Writing are encouraged to consult with a Program advisor. Appointments for Gaylyn Studlar can be scheduled in 2512 Frieze Building,or by calling 764-0147. Appointments for Wendy Hammond can be made by calling 647-7693.

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