Introduction to Screenwriting

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 204

       Course Name: Introduction to Screenwriting

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 or consent of instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers basic techniques of screenwriting. Content includes elements and techniques of screenwriting such as format, structure, character, dialogue, and dramatization of scene. Emphasis will be on writing and revising a feature-length screenplay of the student’s own creation.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. To develop and propose ideas for feature-length films.
  2. To improve writing skills by drafting and revising at least 30 pages of one of those ideas.
  3. To identify the basic conventions of screenwriting, along with their strengths and weaknesses, in both professional screenplays/film models and peer writing samples.
  4. To better understand the collaborative process of revision by receiving and giving criticism on material presented in class.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Weeks 1 and 2: Dramatic structure
Weeks 3 and 4: Genre and workshop
Weeks 5 and 6: Character and workshop
Week 7: Scene construction
Week 8: Format for Act I
Weeks 9-11: Workshops for screenplay development
Week 10: Step outline for Act II
Week 11: Step outline for Act III
Weeks 12-14: Workshops for screenplay revisions
Weeks 15-16: Presentations of final screenplays

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, discussion, writing exercises, use of film clips and other media, with emphasis on workshop format; activities presented to introduce and clarify principles of effective screenwriting.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Reading and critiquing works of both student and professional writers. Producing drafts of ideas, as well as finished 30-page screenplay for final presentation. Collaborating with students and professor in workshop format.

The Oakton Community College Catalog states: 
Oakton Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, or marital status in admission to and participation in its educational programs, College activities and services, or employment practices. The College does not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual assault by or of its students or employees.

In keeping with this policy of tolerance and non-discrimination, in this class all of us (myself included) should strive to:

  • listen and give careful consideration to all ideas expressed in class, especially those that are different from our own, without attacking or demeaning the people who hold those views, and
  • avoid using insulting terms or telling offensive jokes when talking to or about individuals or groups. 
  • Attendance Policy:
  • Late Assignments:
  • Outside Reading: The more you read in English, the faster your reading and writing will improve.  You should make sure that you spend several hours each week reading material of your choice in English. 
  • Extra Help:

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

To be selected by the instructor in consultation with the department chair.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods include grading of student writings, exercises and other class activities. Examinations are optional.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance policy
  2. For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.


If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.