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Being a Screenwriter 2: Writing Your Screenplay Sample

Being a Screenwriter 2: Writing Your Screenplay Sample

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Sample from "Being a Screenwriter 2:Writing Your Screenplay" fun curriculum that guides students in completing a complete short movie script.
Sample from "Being a Screenwriter 2:Writing Your Screenplay" fun curriculum that guides students in completing a complete short movie script.

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Published by: CommunityLearning on Nov 28, 2011
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07/24/2015

Table of Contents

Introduction ......................................................................................................1
Lesson 1: Screenwriting 101
Te Building Blocks of a Great Script ......................................3
Lesson 2: Understanding Scenes
Te Building Blocks of a Screenplay ......................................13
Lesson 3: Te Scene Outline
Planning Your Screenplay ....................................................... 19
Lesson 4: How Screenwriters Write
Screenplay Formatting .............................................................27
Lesson 5: How to Start a Screenplay
Writing Slug Lines and Transitions ........................................41
Lesson 6: What Your Characters Do
Writing Action ..........................................................................55
Lesson 7: How Characters Talk
Te Importance of Dialogue ...................................................65
Lesson 8: Writing Dialogue
Deciding What Your Characters Will Say .............................75
Lesson 9: Bringing It All Together
Finishing Your Screenplay ......................................................85
Lesson 10: Your Script Comes to Life
Te Table Reading .....................................................................91
Glossary .................................................................................................... 96

Appendix: Standards Alignment ............................................................. 97
Being A Screenwriter 2

Instructor’s Guide i Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.
Welcome to Being a Screenwriter, Part 2: Writing
Your Screenplay
Being A Screenwriter, Part 2 is the second in a two-course
series designed to teach students what it takes to create
their own scripts from start to fnish, from developing an
idea, to writing it out, to pitching it to a studio. In these
two courses, they will learn every step that professional
screenwriters take to brainstorm, organize, and compose
ideas, and play a few games along the way. Tis section of
the course is devoted to writing the screenplay. It’s divided
into 10 exciting lessons that will lead students through the
entire process of composing a movie script. When they’re
fnished they will have their own professionally formatted
screenplay ready to shoot a fve-minute movie that they’ve
dreamed up themselves.
To help illustrate the concepts we will learn in this class,
students will view portions of the movie Groundhog Day. A
DVD of the flm is included in the kit for instructors to use
during their classes. Instructors will need to obtain a DVD
player and television.
In the frst course of this series, Being A Screenwriter, Part
1: Generating Ideas for a Screenplay, students studied how
the basic Hollywood movie script works. Tey learned how
to successfully utilize the three-act-structure to tell a story
and how each part of that structure works together to help
the movie’s protagonist (or hero) accomplish some sort of
goal. Tey also learned about the importance of confict,
subplots, and complications, as well as the need to “show”
rather than “tell.” Tey brainstormed and organized their
ideas, and when fnished were able to walk away with both
a logline (a succinct sentence that describes the overall
story of a movie) and a treatment (a short summary of a
movie).
Tis section of Being A Screenwriter will build on what was
learned in Part 1 as we turn now away from developing
ideas to actual writing. While in Part 1 a lot of time was
spent brainstorming and throwing ideas around, this
course will focus on refning those ideas. Tere will be less
time spent deciding what to write about in Part 2 than in
Part 1 as it is assumed that students at this point have either
decided on an idea in Part 1 or are well enough equipped to
come up with one on their own based on what they learned
in Part 1.
Important Notes on Student Journals,
Loglines, and Treatments
Students who took Being a Screenwriter, Part 1 lef
with three take-aways: Student Journals, Loglines, and
Treatments. Te student journals were used throughout
as a place where students gathered their thoughts however
they worked best—jotting down notes, drawing pictures,
pasting magazine clippings, etc. Students are encouraged
to bring the journals along to help them review the
concepts they learned and ideas they came up with in
Part 1 and they are encouraged to continue working in
them if new ideas strike them throughout the course
of Part 2. Te loglines students developed will also be
useful to them here in Part 2. Since most of the work in
Part 2 is focused on writing instead of developing, it will
be helpful for students to come to class with a solid idea
of where their screenplay is going. Teir treatments will
also be helpful on this front. Tey will be able to look
back to the treatments as a blueprint of the movie they are
going to write. Because so much was covered in Part 1, a
student taking Part 2 without having taken Part 1 will be
at a disadvantage. Tey will not only be without the same
foundation as students who took Part 1, but they will not
have the journal, loglines, and treatments that will be
extremely helpful in Part 2. Students who have not taken
Part 1 are strongly encouraged to do the following at the
beginning of the course:
- Find a notebook to use as their screenwriting journal.
- Develop a logline.
-

Write a treatment.
About the Organization of This Course
Te step-wise presentation of each lesson makes
Community Learning materials and activities easy to
follow for any instructor.
Each lesson in the Instructor’s Guide contains the
following helpful elements:
Objectives
what students can be expected to learn from this activity.
Materials List
clear identifcation of the materials required from the
Course Kit (provided) for each lesson.
Being A Screenwriter 2
Preface
ii Instructor’s Guide Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.
Preparation Notes (set-up)
easy set-ups that ensure learner engagement is on task and
on time.
Notes for the Instructor
a brief introduction to the subject matter and challenges
presented in each lesson, ofen with real-life examples from
history, popular culture, and of course movies.
Notes for the Students (including new
vocabulary)
introductory material for the students to read, discuss,
watch or listen to in order to “set the stage” for each lesson.
Activity Descriptions
step-by-step procedures for the participants’ immersion in
the activity.
Wrap-up
questions designed to summarize learning objectives, lead
a discussion, and encourage journal entries.
Clean-up Notes
wrap-up and storage instructions for the most cost-
efective use and preservation of materials.
Other Directions, Discussions and
Destinations
helpful links to media, books, and Internet resources that
extend lessons and help learners understand new concepts
across disciplinary and cultural divides.
Student Activity Books (optional) are companions to
the Instructor’s Guide, and provide worksheets and
supplemental information for learners’ knowledge. Tese
are designed for students to keep, so they can add to and
refer back to the information they learned in this course.
Course Kit Materials (optional) include materials needed
to complete each activity outlined in the Instructor’s
Guide.
A Note about Volunteers
Being a Screenwriter has a variety of responsibilities that
can be shared with a volunteer, or other adult, willing to
assist in the preparation and implementation of the lessons.
Tese responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- organizing supplies
- assembling materials beforehand, cutting, labeling
- answering students' questions
- helping students with individual writing tasks
- passing out and collecting materials
About Community Learning
Our mission is to provide interactive course kits
created around high interest, thematic topics that
engage students in expanded learning through
hands-on activities and projects. Developed by
subject experts with decades of teaching experience,
our courses provide full support for administrators
desiring an engaging, academically enriching
program for their staf and students.
Being A Screenwriter 2
Preface

Instructor’s Guide iii Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.
Tell us what you thought of your teaching
experience!
Share your thoughts
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 1 Instructor’s Guide
Being A Screenwriter 2
Introduction
Introduction to Being A Screenwriter 2
Welcome to Being A Screenwriter 2, an activity-flled course that helps you get
ready to point your video camera and succeed!
Now that you’ve completed the basics of screenwriting in Being A Screenwriter,
Part 1, Part 2 is here to light the way for you to professionally prepare your
script, refne your plot, and load your screenplay with crackling dialogue, fast-
paced action, and heart-tugging emotion.
In this course, the focus is on you and your ideas. Rev up your pencil and open
your activity book as you immerse yourself in a quick review of the lessons
covered in Part 1. Next, forge ahead into planning your screenplay, outlining
scenes, and sorting through the instructions you might provide for directors and
actors.
No screenplay can succeed without fully realized characters and dialogue that
zings and sparkles. Use the dialogue lessons to hang fesh on your villains,
heroes and romantic leads as you punch up those wisecracks, sofen those sighs,
and perfect those ghoulish screams. You’ll even spend time looking for those
“signature” dialogue phrases from movies of the past.
But wait—there’s more! Gather your fellow screenwriters around in a studio
setting and take your script through a trial run in a table reading exercise. With
feedback from your peers, you’ll quickly be able to identify where your script
works best, and where to tweak the weak spots.
Using clips from the very funny movie Groundhog Day, your whole class gains
insight into movie making techniques, as it once again assumes the role of
audience and critic. In this setting, you’ll get experience in identifying camera
angles, and come to understand such technical terms as cut, fade and dissolve.
Finally, you’ll learn how to integrate these cutting-edge techniques into your
own screenplay.
Action writing gets special attention in one set of super-fun activities. Are your
characters ready to soar into space, swing from vines, or hack their way through
a dark and snake-infested rainforest? Writing action requires especially tough
writing chops—cut your teeth in this powerful set of exercises that reminds you
that what people do is ofen more important than anything they say!
If you’re serious about building your skills in screenwriting, Being A
Screenwriter 2 is the right course for you. Te future promises a multitude of
careers for motivated and talented young people who bring not only the wildly
popular technical skills,—but, most critically—a frm grasp of the fundamentals
of fne screenwriting technique.
Are you eager to get started? All right, everyone. Grab your pens and journals.
Quiet on the set! Imagination ready? ACTION!
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 2 Instructor’s Guide
Objectives
Students will:

Review the concepts behind genre, theme,
setting, protagonist, and antagonist
(introduced in Generating Ideas for a
Screenplay or Part 1)

Review the three-act structure (also
introduced in Part 1)

Outline the movie they want to write
Materials

20 student activity books

20 pencils

1 dry erase marker

1 dry erase eraser

“Tree-Act Structure” poster
Preparation
1. Arrange the students’ desks or tables in
groups of four.
2. At each group, place four pencils and four
student activity books.
3. Put the “Tree-Act Structure” poster on a wall
where all of the students will be able to see it.
Notes for the Instructor
Te ultimate goal of this course is twofold. First,
students will develop a screenplay that is all their
own. Tey will develop it from start to fnish and
leave the class with their own completed script. But,
more importantly, students will understand how the
entire process of writing a screenplay works and be
able to write their own scripts for years to come.
Most of the students in your class have probably
taken of Being a Screenwriter Part 1: Generating
Ideas for a Screenplay, but some may not have. We
will spend today reviewing some of the concepts
covered in Part 1, both to fll in the students who
may not have taken it and to refresh the memories
of the students who did. Tere was a lot of
information in Part 1 that will be very helpful to
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.

Instructor’s Guide 3
students in Part 2—far too much to cover in just one
lesson. Today we’ll just focus on three important
concepts: genre, theme, and the three-act structure.
With an understanding of these concepts, even
students who didn’t take Part 1 will be able to go on
to write a successful screenplay. Encourage students
to refer back to their journals and their student activity
books used in Part 1. New students may beneft from
looking at a completed student activity book.
If you taught Part 1 of Being a Screenwriter, you
may remember that genre is one of the most
basic elements of a screenplay. Genre is a broad
classifcation of what a movie is about. You’re
probably familiar with this classifcation from your
trips to the video store: action, drama, comedy,
horror, family, etc. Within a genre are secondary
categories, called themes. A theme refers to
the underlying emotion of a movie and can be
described in one or two words—faith, love, revenge,
heartbreak, etc. Ofentimes it will be easy to come
up with more than one theme for a movie. In this
course, we’ll be using the movie Groundhog Day as
an example. If you went to the video store, you’d fnd
Groundhog Day in the comedy section. Comedy
is the movie’s genre. We will spend some time
discussing genre and theme today.
Te last concept that you’ll teach or review with
your students today is the three-act structure. Te
three-act structure is a simple format that all movies
follow. First there is a beginning (Act I), in which
the story is set up. Here the screenwriter presents his
or her movie’s setting (where and when the movie
will take place), protagonist (the movie’s hero/
heroine), antagonist (the hero/heroine’s adversary),
and confict (the problem the protagonist seeks
to resolve). In Groundhog Day, the setting is
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the protagonist is Phil,
the antagonist is the ceaseless Groundhog Days, and
the confict is that Phil wakes up every morning and
relives Groundhog Day without any way to escape.
Te middle of a screenplay (Act II) consists of all of
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the action that takes place as the protagonist tries
to solve the confict and includes the low point (the
point which the protagonist seems furthest from
his or her goal). Te last part of the screenplay (Act
III) is where the movie has its climax (the point at
which all of the action in a flm culminates) and its
resolution (the point at which the confict is solved).
In Groundhog Day, the climax is when Phil fnally
wakes up on February 3rd. Te resolution is when
Phil decides that Punxsutawney isn’t such a bad
place afer all.
It may seem like a lot to think about, but don’t worry.
Tese concepts are easy to grasp once you begin to
work with them. Afer all, they are inherent in every
movie you’ve ever seen.
One last note before your students begin their
journey: Troughout this course we will be using
the movie Groundhog Day to illustrate the concepts
you will teach in class. Tough the students will
never watch the movie in its entirety in this course,
you will be better prepared to answer your students’
questions and explain how the concepts of this
course work if you do watch the entire movie. Be
advised that there are some scenes in Groundhog
Day that some parents may not fnd appropriate for
children. In selecting scenes to use as examples in
this course, we’ve skipped the parts of the movie that
may be objectionable; you should be careful to limit
your students’ viewing of the movie to those scenes
we’ve pointed out to you.
Te activities in this lesson address the following
Common Core State Standards in English Language
Arts and Literacy: CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.
SL.1, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.W.5, and CCRA.W.10. See
the Standard Matrix included on pages 97-100 for
more detailed information.
Notes for the Student
Welcome to Being A Screenwriter, Part 2! By the end
of this course, you will not only know more about
screenwriting than you ever thought possible, but you
will walk away carrying a complete screenplay for a
fve-minute movie you’ve dreamed up all by yourself.
Tis class will teach you everything you need to know
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 4 Instructor’s Guide
Lesson 1
to be a full-fedged screenwriter. If you can dream it,
you’ll be able to write it.
First things frst, though. Before we can start writing,
we need to discover just how a screenplay is put
together. If you took Being a Screenwriter, Part 1,
you came up with a logline and treatment for your
very own screenplay. Everything you learned in that
course will be very helpful here in Part 2 but if you
have forgotten some of the concepts we talked about
in Part 1, or weren’t able to take that course, don’t
worry. Today we’re going to go back to basics and
refresh our memories about the building blocks used
in every screenplay ever written and every movie
ever made. However, for those of you who did take
Part 1, feel free to continue to bring your journals
with you to this class. You might fnd it helpful to be
able to go back to the ideas you came up with in Part
1. And for those of you who didn’t take Part 1, feel
free to begin journaling. You’ll have space in your
student activity books to jot down ideas in class, but
if you have an old notebook lying around at home,
feel free to use it to keep track of ideas you have
outside of class.
Today we’re going to discuss three very important
concepts of screenwriting: genre, theme, and the
three-act structure. Tese terms are very important
to the screenwriting process and they apply to every
single movie you’ve ever seen. Genre is a very broad
classifcation for a movie. You can think of it as
describing the kind of movie you’re watching or want
to write. Horror, action, science fction, romance,
and comedy are all genres. A theme is a more
focused classifcation of a movie. Teme refers to the
overall emotion that a movie represents, and each
movie can have more than one theme. For example,
a movie may be in the action genre, but maybe the
emotion driving the action is revenge. Revenge
would be the theme. Or perhaps a comedy movie
has a story about love. In that case, love would be
the movie’s theme.
Let’s use the movie Te Lion King as an example.
Take a moment to see if you can fgure out what the
genre and theme of Te Lion King are. First think
about where you would fnd Te Lion King in the
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Lesson 1
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.

Instructor’s Guide 5
video store. Tis will be its genre. Ten think about
what emotions run through the movie. Tese will be
the themes. (Give the students about sixty seconds to
think.) Do you think you have it? Te genre of Te
Lion King is animated or family. Tere are several
themes running throughout the movie, including
revenge, love and growing up.
Before we can begin the screenwriting process, we
also need to refresh our memories on how the three-
act structure works. Te three-act structure is the
format that every movie follows, and it lays out for
us every movie’s beginning, middle and end. Te
frst act, or the beginning, introduces us to four
major components of every screenplay: the setting,
the protagonist, the antagonist, and the confict.
Te setting is where a movie occurs. In Te Lion
King, the setting is the Pride Lands of Africa. Te
protagonist is the hero/heroine of a movie. In Te
Lion King, this is Simba. Te antagonist is the hero
or heroine’s enemy. In Te Lion King, this would be
Simba’s uncle, Scar. And the confict is the problem
that the protagonist is trying to solve. In Te Lion
King, the confict is that Simba must return to the
Pride Lands to overthrow Scar and become king.
Te second act of a movie includes all of the action it
takes for the protagonist to resolve the confict. Tis
could include many other smaller story lines and
events, as the second act is the longest part of the
movie. Te second act ends at the low point—the
point in the movie where the protagonist seems the
farthest from his or her goal.
Te third act is where you’ll fnd the movie’s
climax. Te climax is when all of the action in the
movie reaches a breaking point and the confict is
solved. In Te Lion King, this is when Simba fnally
triumphs over Scar and kicks him over the clif. Te
climax is then followed by the resolution, where the
protagonist returns to his or her everyday life—like
when Simba and Nala become the new king and
queen of the Pride Lands.
Okay. Tat was a lot of information, but now you
have an understanding of all the tools you need to
get started on your own screenplay. If you took
Being A Screenwriter, Part 1 you already have a
logline (a one-sentence summary of an idea for a
screenplay or movie) and treatment (a summary of
a screenplay idea that includes the movie’s genre,
theme, main character and important scenes) for
your screenplay. If you didn’t take Part 1, perhaps you
have a great idea that you can’t wait to write down.
You will want to spend time before the next class
thinking about the concepts we discussed today—and
writing in your screenwriter’s journals—so you’ll be
ready to start developing your screenplay ideas the
next time we meet. Remember that it’s usually much
easier and much more worthwhile to choose a topic
of which you have frsthand knowledge. In Being A
Screenwriter, Part 1 we called this “writing from the
heart.” When choosing a storyline for your movie,
try and choose a story that’s close to you, perhaps
something that happened to you or to a friend, so that
your movie will have a special meaning to you and
will be fun for you to write.
Let’s get a little practice with the concepts of genre,
theme and three-act structure. Soon enough you’ll
be on your way to writing a brand new movie all by
yourself!
Vocabulary
antagonist: the enemy of the movie’s hero/heroine.
climax: the emotional high point of the movie.
confict: the problem the hero/heroine is trying to
solve and/or tension in a story.
genre: the category of a movie, such as action,
comedy, horror, science fction, etc.
logline: a succinct sentence that describes the overall
story of a movie.
low point: the point in the flm in which the hero/
heroine seems farthest from his or her goal.
protagonist: the hero/heroine of the movie.
resolution: the point in the flm when the confict is
fnally worked out.
setting: the place and time in which a story occurs.
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 6 Instructor’s Guide
Lesson 1
theme: a word or phrase that sums up the main
emotion of a movie, such as love, revenge, greed, etc.
three-act structure: the structural system for most
Hollywood flms composed of the setting, confict
and resolution.
treatment: a summary of a screenplay idea that
includes the movie’s genre, theme, main character
and important scenes.
Activity 1: Back to Basics
(30 minutes)
1. Have the students turn to lesson 1, activity 1
in their student activity books. Ask them
to follow along as you read the treatment for
Groundhog Day aloud to the class. Encourage
them to be looking and listening for the separate
parts of the overall screenplay within the treatment:
Pittsburgh meteorologist Phil Connors is not
happy when his boss sends him to
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual
Groundhog Day festival. He’s even more upset
when a blizzard strands him and his crew in the
small town. When he wakes up the next
morning to fnd that, somehow, it is still
Groundhog Day (February 2), he must try to
fgure out what is happening and how he can
make it stop.
When Phil tries to convince the people around
him that, for some reason, every day has become
Groundhog Day, they think he’s crazy. He begins
to take advantage of the situation, lying to the
town’s residents and even stealing from the truck
that pulls up to the bank every day. Eventually,
he grows tired and begins to lose hope that
he’ll ever escape from Groundhog Day. It’s not
until his coworker Rita, on whom Phil has a
crush, suggests that Phil start using his situation
to make Punxsutawney a better place that Phil
fnds hope again. When he begins to use the
time loop for good by helping people and
bettering himself, he fnally escapes Groundhog
Day. It’s then that Rita and Phil fnd themselves
in love and decide they should stay in
Punxsutawney.
2. Now, let the students work together in their
groups for ffeen minutes to fll in the three-act
structure diagram in their activity books. Some
of the blanks might be tough to fll in, but
encourage them to do their best to fgure it out.

3. When the ffeen minutes are up, go through the
three-act structure diagram together on the
“Tree-Act Structure” poster. Ask every group
what they came up with for each blank. If there is
a group consensus, fll in the appropriate blank
with the dry erase marker on the “Tree-Act
Structure” poster. If there are a variety of
answers, take a vote as a class. If the students
are still stumped, help them out using your
answer sheet.
Activity 2: Getting Started!
(20 minutes)
1. Have students turn to lesson 1, activity 2 from their
activity books. Ask them to jot down what they
remember about their treatment in Part 1 (lesson 10).
2. Give the students ten minutes to work
independently to fll out a three-act structure
diagram on a movie they’d like to write a
screenplay for while participating in this
class. Tey do not have to use the treatment they
developed in Part 1. Tell them that it’s important
to write about things with which they have
frsthand experience and to write from the heart,
but also that their movies will be short and that,
for now, simpler is better. Remind them that
the screenplay they are writing will ultimately
amount to a movie that’s only fve minutes long, so
they can keep it simple.Tere is no need for them to
get bogged down in creating all of the twists and
turns that a full-length feature would contain.
3. Walk around the room and help students who
are struggling with the three-act-structure for
their screenplay. If students are having trouble
coming up with ideas, be encouraging. If any
students are drawing absolute blanks, let them
know they can give it more thought between classes
and may come to the next class with their ideas.
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Activity 1: Back To Basics
Groundhog Day Treatment
Pittsburgh meteorologist Phil Connors is not happy when his boss sends him to Punxsutawney,
Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festival. He’s even more upset when a blizzard
strands him and his crew in the small town. When he wakes up the next morning to fnd that,
somehow, it is still Groundhog Day (February 2), he must try to fgure out what is happening and how
he can make it stop.
When Phil tries to convince the people around him that, for some reason, every day has become
Groundhog Day, they think he’s crazy. He begins to take advantage of the situation, lying to the town’s
residents and even stealing from the truck that pulls up to the bank every day. Eventually, he grows
tired and begins to lose hope that he’ll ever escape from Groundhog Day. It’s not until his coworker
Rita, on whom Phil has a crush, suggests that Phil start using his situation to make Punxsutawney a
better place that Phil fnds hope again. When he begins to use the time loop for good by helping people
and bettering himself, he fnally escapes Groundhog Day. It’s then that Rita and Phil fnd themselves in
love and decide they should stay in Punxsutawney.
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 8 Instructor’s Guide
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.

Instructor’s Guide 9
Antagonist: Protagonist:
Act III
Movie title: Genre:
Teme:
Act I
Confict:

Low point:
Climax:
Resolution:
Three-Act Structure
Setting:
Act II
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Activity 1
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 10 Instructor’s Guide
Antagonist: Groundhog Day Protagonist: Phil Connors
Act III
Movie title: Groundhog Day Genre: Comedy
Teme: Love, Becoming a Better Person
Act I
Low point: Phil gives up on trying to stop Groundhog Day.
Climax: By being a better person, Phil fnally wakes up on February 3rd.
Resolution: Together with Rita, Phil decides Punxsutawney isn’t such a bad place
afer all.
Three-Act Structure Answer Sheet
Setting: Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Act II
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Activity 1
Confict: Phil must fnd a way to keep Groundhog Day from happening over and
over again.
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Instructor’s Guide 11 Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.
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Activity 2: Getting Started
Antagonist: Protagonist:
Act III
Movie title: Genre:
Teme:
Act I
Confict:
Climax:
Resolution:
Three-Act Structure
Setting:
Act II
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Low point:
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 18 Instructor’s Guide
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved.

Instructor’s Guide 19
Objectives
Students will:

Learn how a scene outline helps
screenwriters organize their ideas

Learn how a scene outline is written

Develop a scene outline for their own movies
Materials

student activity books

DVD player

television

Groundhog Day DVD

index cards from the previous lesson

pencils
Preparation
1. Arrange the students’ desks in groups of four.
2. Assemble the supplies and place them on the
students’ desks.
3. Put the television where all of the students
will be able to see it and cue up the Groundhog
Day DVD to 19:30, when Phil is leaving his
hotel room. (Chapter 3, “Rise and Shine”)

Notes for the Instructor
In today’s lesson we will be taking the next step in
helping students write their screenplays. In the
previous lesson, your students learned that movies
are broken into parts called scenes and that scenes
must work together if the movie is to be interesting
and cohesive. Today we’ll be taking this concept
one step further to create a scene outline.
A scene outline is a step-by-step list of each and
every scene that will occur in a movie. Te scene
outline serves as a bare bones representation
of how a movie will unfold, and it’s essential in
helping a screenwriter decide whether or not the
story is unfolding the way it should.
One of the key principles behind good
scriptwriting is showing rather than telling.
When one writes, he or she has a tendency to
explain aspects of a story with words. In a movie,
though, the story has to be told visually. A scene
outline helps a screenwriter visualize how a story
will come alive on-screen before the writing process
even begins. Screenwriting is unlike other forms of
writing in that everything the screenwriter writes isn’t
meant to be read, but seen and heard. Te movie your
students are writing is only meant to be fve minutes
long, so visualizing what happens will be key. In their
fnal activity today, they’ll be paring down the scenes
they wrote in the previous lesson into just those that
are essential to their stories. Encourage them as they
do so to be visualizing their stories. Remind them of
this unique aspect of storytelling for the screen and of
the possibilities it presents.
Te activities in this lesson address the following
Common Core State Standards in English
Language Arts and Literacy: CCRA.R.7, CCRA.
SL.1, CCRA.W.5 and CCRA.W.10. See the Standard
Matrix included on pages 97-100 for more detailed
information.
Notes for the Student
Today, as you take the next step in your journey
as screenwriters, you will learn about a tool that
will help you to write a successful screenplay. In
the last lesson, we talked about screenwriting as
being like building a structure. Once you continue
in the creative process, it becomes clear that you
need a plan, much like a builder uses a blueprint.
A blueprint is like a map that tells a builder what
his structure is supposed to look like. It can also
help him decide where to start building and how to
organize the building as he works. In screenwriting,
we have our own blueprint. It’s called a scene
outline. Te scene outline is one of the frst steps in
a screenwriter’s writing process. A scene outline is
a list of each and every scene that will happen in a
movie. It allows screenwriters to walk through their
ideas before they start writing.
Scene outlines are helpful for a variety of reasons.
First, they help screenwriters get their ideas
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 20 Instructor’s Guide
down on paper. Scene outlines can serve as a great
brainstorming tool when you need some help
envisioning what your movie will look like on-screen.
But scene outlines can also help a screenwriter decide
which scenes are best for his or her story. A scene
outline gives a screenwriter the opportunity to see
how well the scenes are working together, which
scenes to cut, and where more scenes should be
added.
A scene outline is very simple. It shouldn’t contain
a lot of information about where or when or why
a movie takes place, but instead should provide a
rough sketch of what you envision happening on-
screen. Te purpose of a scene outline is to let you
see how your scenes will work together, so there’s no
need to describe every detail of a scene. A few words
for each scene is absolutely fne.
In our last lesson we looked at the scenes that make
up the frst act of Groundhog Day. Please turn in
your student activity books to lesson 3 to see a scene
outline for that portion of the movie. Notice that
each scene is summed up in a simple statement. Te
screenwriter doesn’t spend a lot of time focusing
on what the characters are saying or feeling. At this
point, there’s no pressure to know how every last
detail of your screenplay will unfold. If you do know
already, that’s great! But if you’re still fguring it out,
today will be an excellent jumping-of point.
In our activities today we will explore how to
write an efective scene outline. As you’re doing
so, continually be thinking about how best to use
your scenes to tell your story. In the last lesson we
talked about how the number of scenes you’ll have
will depend on the types of scenes you have. Today
be thinking about how each scene you’ve come up
with plays a role in telling your story. Is it vital to
the story you’re trying to tell? Make careful choices
about how you’ll use the fve minutes of your movie.
Your student activity books have room for fve scenes
in each act, but feel free to write more or less as you
feel necessary. Remember, it’s your movie! You need
to write it as you see ft!
Vocabulary
scene outline: a list of scenes that will appear in a
movie or screenplay.
Activity 1: Writing a Scene Outline
(15 minutes)
1. Have the students turn to lesson 3, activity 1 in
their student activity books. Let the students
know that in this activity they will be expanding
on the scene outline for Groundhog Day given in
the Notes for the Student.
2. Start playing the Groundhog Day DVD at 19:30,
when Phil is exiting his hotel room. Afer the
frst scene (when Phil fnishes his conversation
with the man in the hall outside his hotel room
and starts to head downstairs), pause the DVD.
As a class, see if you can fgure out how this
scene should be described in the scene outline. If
the students need help, the correct answer should
be something like this:
Phil discusses Groundhog Day with a man in the hall
outside his hotel room.
3. Have the students write this description in the
frst line of the “Continuation of Groundhog Day
scene outline” in their student activity books.
4. Explain that as you continue to watch the movie
together, the students should try to fll in the
next fourteen lines of their outlines themselves.
If the students are having trouble understanding
this concept, complete a few more entries together.
(See answers below.)
5. Continue playing the DVD until 29:43, afer the
scene in which Phil visits the psychiatrist.
6. As a class, go through the ffeen blanks together
to make sure everyone has the same answers.
Te answers are as follows:
1. Phil discusses Groundhog Day with a man in
the hall outside his hotel room.
2. Phil talks with the hotel owner at breakfast.
3. Phil stops a lady in the street and asks her what
day it is.
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Lesson 3
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Instructor’s Guide 21
Lesson 3
4. Phil runs into an acquaintance from high
school as he walks to the festival.
5. Phil arrives at the Groundhog Day festival.
6. Phil takes a shower at his hotel room.
7. Phil goes to sleep in his hotel room.
8. Phil wakes up in his hotel room.
9. Phil runs into a man in the hallway.
10. Phil runs past the hotel owner in the lobby of
the hotel.
11. Phil runs to the festival.
12. Phil arrives at the festival.
13. Phil meets Rita at the diner.
14. Phil visits the doctor.
15. Phil visits the psychiatrist.
Activity 2: Gathering Your
Thoughts
(20 minutes)
1. Ask the students to fnd a partner.
2. Hand out the index cards they worked with in
the previous class. Ask them to lay their index
cards on the table in front of them and organize
the scenes in the order that they think they will
appear in their scripts. Give them fve minutes to
do this.
3. Have the students read their scenes to their
partners, then exchange ideas and provide each
other with feedback.
4. Give them ffeen minutes to exchange ideas. Walk
around the room and help students as needed.
Activity 3: Outlining Your
Screenplay
(10 minutes)
1. Working independently, have students turn to
lesson 3, activity 3 in their student activity books.
2. Have students fll out the scene outline for all
three acts in their activity books. Walk around
the room and continue to help students as
needed. Let struggling students know they will
be able to change their outlines later if they’re
unsure of their outlines at this point.
Wrap-Up
(5 minutes)
Have the students turn to the wrap-up page in their
activity books and refect on their scene outlines
(students choosing to use their screenwriting
journals can jot down their ideas in their journals).
Give them the chance to jot down any problems they
may have run across while making their outlines
or any scenes they might want to come back to
later. Also, encourage them to record any ideas that
they may have come up with in class that weren’t
pertinent to the scene outline activities done in class.
Clean-Up
(5 minutes)
1. Have the students return their materials.
2. Check the foor for extra pencils or index cards.
3. Remove the Groundhog Day DVD from the DVD
player and return it to its case.
Other Directions, Discussions
and Destinations
Te following activities and websites will enrich what
has been learned in this lesson about scene outlines.
1. Students can practice writing scene outlines
for movies or television shows during the week.
Encourage them to imagine what the scene
outline of the programs they are watching may
look like even if they don’t necessarily feel like
writing the scene outline down.
2. A great resource for creating a scene outline
is the hero’s journey that we discussed in Part 1
of Being A Screenwriter. Te hero’s journey
provides a screenwriter with the steps every
protagonist must go through in order to reach
his or her goal and it can provide a great template
for a screenwriter struggling to get through the
three acts. For more information on the steps of
the hero’s journey (also called the mono-myth)
visit www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/journey/
ref/summary.html.
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Instructor’s Guide 23
Scene Outline
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 24 Instructor’s Guide
Activity 1: Writing a Scene Outline
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Instructor’s Guide 25
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Wrap-Up
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Instructor’s Guide 41
Objectives
Students will:

Learn when and how to use fades, cuts and
dissolves

Learn what to include in a successful slug line

Write their own slug lines for the scenes in
their movies
Materials

television

DVD player

Groundhog Day DVD

pencils

student activity books

storyboard posters from lesson 4
Preparation
1. Place the television and DVD player in a place
where all of the students will be able to see
it. Put the Groundhog Day DVD in the DVD
player. Cue the DVD to around 3:40, where
the news crew is driving to Punxsutawney.
(You’ll use this scene as an example in “Notes
for the Student.”)
2. Arrange the students’ desks in groups of four
and place pencils and student activity books
at each group.
Notes for the Instructor
In today’s lesson students will fnally begin to write
their own scripts. We will start with two very
small but important parts of any screenplay: slug
lines and transitions. A slug line, as we learned in
the last lesson, tells where and when a scene takes
place. It appears at the beginning of each scene in a
script and it is typed in capital letters. A good slug
line allows the screenwriter to convey his or her
vision to the audience; it is the only description of
the setting that the scriptwriter uses. As a director
or actor reads through the screenplay, the slug lines
will let him or her visualize the story. Te slug lines
also communicate to the flmmaker where and
when a particular scene needs to be flmed.
As we discussed in the last lesson, slug lines have a
very standard, easy-to-follow format. Tey start by
stating whether the scene will happen indoors or
outdoors, using the abbreviations INT for interior
or EXT for exterior. Tis is followed by a brief
description of where the scene will take place, for
example, INT. SUSIE’S GRANDMOTHER’S LIVING
ROOM or INT. TV STUDIO. Lastly, if it’s relevant
to the scene, the screenwriter indicates when the
scene is taking place relative to the rest of the story,
for example, INT. SUSIE’S GRANDMOTHER’S
LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT DAY or INT. TV
STUDIO - MORNING.
We haven’t discussed the concept of transitions in
this course yet, but the concept certainly won’t be new
to your students. Tey’ve been watching transitions
all their lives without even knowing it. Transitions
are the means by which each scene moves to the next.
Tey generally fall into three categories: cuts, fades
and dissolves. Tere are certainly more transition
types than just these three, and perhaps you’ve even
seen others in commercials or on television. Some
other transitions include when one scene seems to
peel away to reveal another, or when one image spins
away to reveal the next. But movies generally utilize
cuts, fades and dissolves a majority of the time, and
screenwriters very rarely note any other transition, so
we will stick to these for your students’ screenplays.
A cut is an abrupt transition from one scene to
another: one scene ends and the other begins
immediately. Tis is the most common transition
used in movies. A dissolve is when one scene slowly
fades into another and for a moment you will be able
to see both scenes at once. Dissolves are usually used
to denote the passage of time in a movie. Fades occur
when the image on the screen fades to black and then
the next scene fades back up. Fades also denote the
passage of time, but in a much more dramatic way
than dissolves. Fades also start and end every movie.
Every movie starts with a black screen that fades to
the frst scene, and most movies end by fading to a
black screen on which the credits role.
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 42 Instructor’s Guide
Lesson 5
To familiarize yourself more with cuts, dissolves
and fades, it will be useful for you to preview the
examples you’ll be showing the class. If you play
Groundhog Day from the very beginning, you
will see the movie “fade in” from black to the frst
scene in which the credits roll over the clouds. Fast
forward to 3:40 (chapter 2, “Te Groundhog Story”),
to the shots of the cities before the news crew is
leaving for Punxsutawney, and you’ll see a series of
cuts as the van drives from place to place. Finally,
if you fast forward to 7:15, when Phil is leaving his
crew for the night, you’ll see a dissolve between the
scene with the crew on the street and the scene of the
sun coming up over the trees. Transitions and slug
lines are incredibly easy to understand, but the more
familiar you are with them, the easier it will be for
you to answer your students’ questions!
Te activities in this lesson address the following
Common Core State Standards in English
Language Arts and Literacy: CCRA.R.7, CCRA.L.6,
CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.5, and
CCRA.W.10. See the Standard Matrix included on
pages 97-100 for more detailed information.
Notes for the Student
In previous lessons, we’ve talked a lot about what
makes up a screenplay. You’ve learned about genres,
the three-act structure, scenes, outlines and reading
screenplays. Te three-act structure was your
foundation. Scenes were your building blocks. Now
you’ll start to divide the space of your structure. In the
last lesson, you decided which scenes you want to use
in your screenplay. Now you will begin to write them.
Do you remember from our last lesson what slug
lines are? Slug lines are the capitalized lines of text
at the beginning of each scene that tell us where and
when the scene is taking place. It is important for
screenwriters to learn how to write good slug lines
because they are essential in communicating an idea
to an audience. Say you’re thinking of an important
scene in your movie that takes place around dinner
time in the living room of your protagonist’s
home. You write “INT. SUSIE’S APARTMENT -
EVENING” for your slug line. In your mind this
means 5 o’clock in the living room, but to a director
it could mean 8 o’clock in the kitchen. Does this
make a big diference in your scene? Maybe it does,
maybe it doesn’t. But it’s up to you to be specifc
about how your story unfolds. If you want your
reader to understand your vision, you need to write
a slug line that refects it, such as: “INT. SUSIE’S
LIVING ROOM - 5 PM.”
It’s also incredibly important for screenwriters to
follow the proper format when writing a slug line.
Tis format is easy to follow, but if you ignore it, the
director may not understand your vision and can
interpret your script the way he or she wants. Let’s
review the format. Every slug line starts by saying
whether or not the scene is an interior scene (one
that takes place indoors) or an exterior scene (a
scene that takes place outside). Tis is represented
by the abbreviations INT. or EXT. Next the
screenwriter gives a brief description of where the
scene is taking place, like SUSIE’S LIVING ROOM.
Te screenwriter follows this with when the scene is
taking place, like 5 PM. When we put it all together
we get INT. SUSIE’S LIVING ROOM - 5 PM.
Te second aspect of screenwriting that we’re going
to focus on today is transitions. Transitions are
how one scene changes into the next. Screenwriters
usually work with three types of transitions: cuts,
fades and dissolves. Screenwriters usually write what
kind of transition they think should be used between
scenes before the slug line, although they can also
leave that up to the director to decide for him- or
herself. Cuts are the transitions that you’ll use
most, and cuts are used so ofen that screenwriters
don’t even need to write them in their screenplays,
although they can if they so choose. Cuts occur
when there is an abrupt transition from one scene to
the next. Cuts are used when scenes are happening
in a relatively short time in a movie. For example,
when Phil and his news crew are driving from
Pittsburgh to Punxsutawney, the screenwriter uses all
cuts because all of these scenes happen in a relatively
short time period (play Groundhog Day from around
3:40, when the van is leaving the city, until around
4:30, when the crew is talking in the van). If you
decide you want to use a cut in your screenplay,
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Lesson 5
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Instructor’s Guide 43
simply write a slug line, and the cut is implied.
Te next most popular type of movie transition is
the dissolve. In a dissolve, one scene slowly fades
into another. Dissolves are used to imply a passage
of time. In Groundhog Day we see a dissolve between
the scene when Phil leaves his crew and the hotel and
the scene in which Phil wakes up in his hotel room.
(Play the DVD from 7:15, when Phil goes to get in the
news van, until 7:30, when we see a shot of the alarm
clock in Phil’s hotel room.) During the dissolve, you
briefy saw both a part of the scene in which Phil’s
cameraman and producer are laughing and a part of
the scene in which the sun is rising over the trees.
Tis is because between these two scenes several
hours go by. If you want to use a dissolve in your
screenplay, you will write the words DISSOLVE
TO, skip a line, and then write your slug line.
Te last type of transition we’re going to talk about
is a fade. Fades occur when one scene dissolves to
just a black screen and another dissolves back from
a black screen. Fades are used in much the same
way as dissolves in movies—to imply a passage of
time—but they are not as common. A fade generally
implies a much larger passage of time than a dissolve
does. In Groundhog Day there are only two fades,
but they are the same two fades that every movie
has: one at the very beginning of the movie and
one at the end. (Play Groundhog Day from the
very beginning of the movie at 0:08 to 0:20, when
the Columbia Pictures title comes on.) When the
movie starts all we see is a black screen with some
music playing and then it fades to the clouds in the
sky. A lot of times a screenwriter will start his or
her screenplay with the words “FADE IN” and then
the slug line or a description of what we’re seeing
on-screen. You may have noticed that a lot of times
movies open with a series of pictures, animations,
or shots that aren’t necessarily a scene. Tis is
the case in Groundhog Day. For the beginning of
Groundhog Day we would write FADE IN followed
by a description of what is on-screen as the credits
begin, in this case, “CLOUDS IN A BLUE SKY.” Te
screenwriter will also end the screenplay with the
words “FADE OUT.” It will be up to you to decide
how you want to use fades in your movie, but if
you want to use one, you follow the same format
you did to write a dissolve: FADE TO, skip a line,
and then write your slug line.
Tis may seem like a lot of new information, but
it’s all very easy to understand with a little practice.
You’ve been watching movies all of your life, and you
probably can’t even remember all of the cuts, fades and
dissolves you’ve seen. You just need to start thinking
about how you’ll use these techniques in your own
movie. Before we get to that, though, let’s get a little
practice working with slug lines and transitions. Before
you know it, you’ll be writing your own!
Vocabulary
cut: transition between scenes in which one image
comes right afer another.
dissolve: transition between scenes in which one
image gradually fades into another image.
exterior (EXT.): a scene that takes place outdoors.
fade: Transition between scenes in which one image
fades into black and then another fades up from black.
interior (INT.): a scene that takes place indoors.
slug line: Capitalized text at the beginning of each
scene in a script that indicates where and when the
scene takes place.
transition: the means by which one scene ends and
another starts.
Activity 1: Understanding Slug
Lines and Transitions
(10 minutes)
1. Have the students turn to lesson 5, activity 1 in
their student activity books.
2. Begin playing Groundhog Day at chapter 11,
(38:45) when Phil is walking to the festival.
Let it play until Phil fnds his news crew in the
crowd and then pause the DVD. Ask the
students to fll in the transition and slug line
for this scene in their activity books.
3. When everyone seems to have the answer, ask
for a volunteer to read his or her answer.
Te correct answer is Transition: Cut, Slug line:
INT. PHIL’S HOTEL ROOM - MORNING
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Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 44 Instructor’s Guide
Lesson 5
4. Now let the students work independently to
fgure out the transitions and slug lines for the
next few scenes. Fast forward to around 38:45
when Phil is out of bed and about to leave the
hotel room. Let the movie play while the
students watch for scene changes. Stop the
movie at around 39:30, when Phil runs into
Nancy at the festival.
5. As a class, go through the answers together to
make sure everyone has the correct answers and
understands the concepts.
Here are the correct answers:
1. CUT
INT. PHIL’S HOTEL ROOM - MORNING
2. CUT
EXT. STREET - MORNING
3. CUT
EXT. OUTSIDE CAFE - MORNING
4. CUT
INT. CAFE - MORNING
5. CUT
INT. PHIL’S HOTEL ROOM - MORNING
6. CUT
EXT. GOBBLER’S KNOB - MORNING
Activity 2: Writing Slug Lines
and Transitions for a Logline
(10 minutes)
1. Hand out to each group the posters on which
they developed scenes for the logline, “A
struggling Little League baseball team fnally
gets a shot at winning the championship” in
lesson 2. Tey should arrange the posters on the
tables so that everyone in the group can see them.
2. Have the students turn to lesson 5, activity 2 in
their student activity books.
3. Have the students work together to create a
transition and a slug line for each scene that they
came up with in lesson 2 and record each in
their activity books.
4. Walk around the room during the activity and
remind the students to be as specifc as possible.
Activity 3: Slug Lines for Your
Own Screenplay
(15 minutes)
1. Have the students turn to lesson 5, activity 3 in
their student activity books.
2. Working independently, they should spend
ffeen minutes writing slug lines and transitions
for each of the scenes they’ve outlined for their
own screenplays in lesson 3, activity 3.
Wrap-Up
(5 minutes)
Give the students who’ve completed their slug
lines fve minutes to refect on the next phase of
writing: determining what will happen in each
scene. Allow them to make notes on the wrap-up
page of their student activity books of any ideas
they may have come up with during the course of
this class that they may not have been able to get on
paper (students choosing to use their screenwriting
journals can jot down their ideas in their journals).
For students who haven’t fnished their slug lines,
give them these extra fve minutes to do so. If they
can’t fnish now, let them know there will still be
time in the next class or they are welcome to jot
down their ideas at home and copy them into their
books during the next lesson.
Clean-Up
(5 minutes)
1. Remove the Groundhog Day DVD from the
DVD player and return it to its case.
2. Collect the student activity books and pencils.
3. You won’t need the posters for any further
activities; the students can take them home or
you can discard them.
4. Check the foor for any stray materials.
F)2 $) +$0"$ 0 +,"--%./015 !"#$#%& +/*& L#%-; 0%9 6"0%;#$#)%;
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 46 Instructor’s Guide
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Instructor’s Guide 47
+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- EJ
!"##$% +
Activity 1: Understanding Slug Lines
and Transitions
1. Transition:
Slug line:
2. Transition:
Slug line:
3. Transition:
Slug line:
4. Transition:
Slug line:
5. Transition:
Slug line:
6. Transition:
Slug line:
Groundhog Day, chapter 11, Phil walking to festival
Transition
Slug line
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+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- EC
!"##$% +
Activity 2: Writing Slug Lines and
Transitions for a Logline
(refer to lesson 2, activity 1)
Act I
Transition:
Slug line:
Act II
Transition:
Slug line:
Act III
Transition:
Slug line:
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Instructor’s Guide 49
+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- EK
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Activity 3: Slug Lines for Your Own Screenplay
Act I
1.
Transition:
Slug line:
2.
Transition:
Slug line:
3.
Transition:
Slug line:
4.
Transition:
Slug line:
5.
Transition:
Slug line:
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 50 Instructor’s Guide
Directions: Record your original scene on the line (from lesson 3, activity 3). Ten create a transition and a
slug line for each scene. Repeat for all three acts.
+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- ?4
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Instructor’s Guide 51
!"##$% +
Activity 3 Continued
Act II
1.
Transition:
Slug line:
2.
Transition:
Slug line:
3.
Transition:
Slug line:
4.
Transition:
Slug line:
5.
Transition:
Slug line:
+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- ?3
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!"##$% +
Activity 3 Continued
Act III
1.
Transition:
Slug line:
2.
Transition:
Slug line:
3.
Transition:
Slug line:
4.
Transition:
Slug line:
5.
Transition:
Slug line:
+$*9-%$ 8)): >0&- ?E
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Instructor’s Guide 53
!"##$% +
Wrap-Up
Act 1 Act II Act III
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action: what the characters are doing in a scene
besides speaking.
antagonist: the enemy of the movie’s hero/heroine.
climax: the emotional high point of the movie.

confict: the problem the hero/heroine is trying to
solve and/or tension in a story.
cut: transition between scenes in which one image
comes right afer another.
dialogue: conversation that takes place between
characters in a screenplay or movie.
dissolve: transition between scenes in which one
image gradually fades into another image.
dramatic language: the unrealistic way movie
characters speak when they’re talking about
something important to the movie.
executive producer: person in charge of organizing
the production of a movie.
exterior (EXT.): a scene that takes place outdoors.
fade: transition between scenes in which one image
fades into black and then another fades up from
black.
genre: the category of a movie, such as action,
comedy, horror, science fction, etc.
interior (INT.): a scene that takes place indoors.
logline: a succinct sentence that describes the overall
story of a movie.
low point: the point in the flm in which the hero/
heroine seems farthest from his or her goal.
peer review: process in which writing is exchanged
between partners who then critique one another’s
work.

protagonist: the hero/heroine of the movie.

resolution: the point in the flm when the confict is
fnally worked out.
scene: all of the continuous action that takes place in
one specifc time and place in a movie.
scene outline: a list of scenes that will appear in a
movie or screenplay.
setting: the place and time in which a story occurs.
slug line: capitalized text at the beginning of each
scene in a script that denotes where and when the
scene takes place.

storyboard: a visual representation of the scenes of a
movie.
studio: the company that makes a movie.
table reading: a part of the flmmaking process in
which the actors of a flm and others sit around a
table and perform a reading of the movie’s script.
theme: a word or phrase that sums up the main
emotion of a movie, such as love, revenge, greed, etc.
three-act structure: the structural system for most
Hollywood flms composed of the setting, confict
and resolution.

transition: the means by which one scene ends and
another starts.
treatment: a summary of a screenplay idea that
includes the movie’s genre, theme, main character
and important scenes.
=+"%%*$A
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Instructor’s Guide 97
Being A Screenwriter meets
the National Standards in English Language Arts
Being A Screenwriter (1 and 2) comprises a series of fun, interdisciplinary classroom activities that
engage learners efectively, cognitively and behaviorally. As they participate in the development of ready-
to-shoot screenplays, students exercise skill sets in language arts (new vocabulary, research skills), and
occasionally, into discussions that help them understand concepts in other disciplines.
Primarily, however, Being A Screenwriter is focused on driving achievement toward meeting the
National English Language Arts Standards (developed by the National Council of Teachers of English). In
the table below, we illustrate how many of the activities and discussions in the Screenwriter courses support
learner progress, understanding, and ongoing development of ELA literacy skills and creativity.
All of the ELA standards are interrelated. Tis table simplifes the correlation between and among activities
in the Screenwriter courses and provides some examples, but many activities satisfy more than one standard.
Selected National ELA Standards
Standard 1
Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts
to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of
the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire
new information; to respond to the needs and demands
of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfllment.
Among these texts are fction and nonfction, classic and
contemporary works.
Standard 3
Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend,
interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. Tey draw on
their prior experience, their interactions with other
readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning
and of other texts, their word identifcation strategies, and
their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter
correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
Standard 4
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual
language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to
communicate efectively with a variety of audiences and
for diferent purposes.
Standard 5
Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write
and use diferent writing process elements appropriately
to communicate with diferent audiences for a variety of
purposes.
Activities in
Being A Screenwriter 1 and 2
In both Screenwriter 1 and 2, learners review scripts
and screenplays, storyboards and flm clips, in order to
recognize and defne the roles of screenwriters working in
contemporary America.
Critical thinking—asking questions, exploring theories,
hypothesizing, and testing ideas, all cornerstones
of building ELA competency—are part of every
Screenwriter lesson.
At the heart of every Screenwriter lesson is the task of
writing with clarity, appropriateness, and creativity in
order to communicate with specifc audiences.
A unique feature of both Screenwriter courses is the
emphasis on drafing, brainstorming, free writing, review,
feedback and sharing a fnal product with peers. Te
Course Kits provide writing tools to encourage students
to write ofen, personally, and without the demands of
formal classroom instruction.
N>>&.:-U
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Being A Screenwriter 2
Appendix
Standard 6
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language
conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media
techniques, fgurative language, and genre to create,
critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Standard 7
Students conduct research on issues and interests by
generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
Tey gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety
of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people)
to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their
purpose and audience.
Standard 9
Students develop an understanding of and respect for
diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across
cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social
roles.
Standard 11
Students participate as knowledgeable, refective, creative,
and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
Standard 12
Students use spoken, written, and visual language to
accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning,
enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Screenwriting places particular demands on
creative writers to master dialogue, create consistent
characters, frame shots and give directions. Formatting
conventions—as well as preparing the fnal manuscript
editorially—are covered in these lessons. Students ofen
critique and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Learners in the screenwriting courses are encouraged
to consult a wide range of sources, stories, memories,
interviews, other flms, and other sources to plan their
screenplays. Trough exercises, they become acquainted
with plotting, confict, and other genre elements. Teir
own works are subjected to a gentle peer review that helps
them identify problems, generate new ideas, and explore
questions of logic and flmmaking basics. Audience is an
ever-present element of screenwriting production.
Trough role playing in one another’s screenplays,
learners “act” in the guise of fctional characters, enabling
them to try on new ways of speaking. Te development
of colorful characters—critical in every screenplay
product—encourages learners to explore new selves, new
languages and dialects, and new roles, including ethnic,
gender and age roles, among others.
Trough the table reading and flm review activities, as
well as the many informal discussion activities in both
Screenwriter 1 and 2, learners share their expertise
with their peers as it develops. Tey ofer one another
advice, constructive criticism, and promote the dialogues
necessary for community-building.
Troughout the Screenwriter series, learners use their
language skills, creativity, imagination, and ambition to
explore how dialogue, narration, direction and visual
imagery can combine to communicate and entertain.
Te purposes of diferent genres of video are discussed.

To learn more about the National English Language Arts Standards,
visit the web page at
http://www.ncte.org/standards
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Instructor’s Guide 99
Being A Screenwriter 2
Appendix
9&-.4 * 12$&&.3$-,&$ 1,*.:*$:% V*,$-U
Tis unit meets Common Core State Standards
(CCSS) in English Language Arts and Literacy.
Te lessons and activities in this unit address the
Common Core Anchor Standards for Reading,
Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language.
Te activities are designed for students in grades
6-8. Specifc CCSS addressed include:
T&*:-.4
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2: Determine
central ideas or themes of a text and analyze
their development; summarize the key
supporting details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3: Analyze how
and why individuals, events, or ideas develop
and interact over the course of a text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3: Analyze the
structure of texts, including how specifc
sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions
of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or
stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7: Integrate
and evaluate content presented in diverse
media and formats, including visually and
quantitatively, as well as in words
H$-,-.4
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3: Write
narratives to develop real or imagined
experiences or events using efective
technique, well-chosen details and well-
structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4: Produce
clear and coherent writing in which the
development, organization, and style are
appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3: Develop and
strengthen writing as needed by planning,
revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new
approach.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10: Write
routinely over extended time frames (time for
research, refection, and revision) and shorter
time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)
for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
1>&*;-.4 *.: /-%,&.-.4
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1: Prepare
for and participate efectively in a range of
conversations and collaborations with diverse
partners, building on others’ ideas and
expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2: Integrate
and evaluate information presented in
diverse media and formats, including visually,
quantitatively, and orally.
/*.4#*4&
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6: Acquire and
use accurately a range of general academic
and domain-specifc words and phrases
sufcient for reading, writing, speaking, and
listening at the college and career readiness
level; demonstrate independence in gathering
vocabulary knowledge when encountering an
unknown term important to comprehension
or expression.
Copyright © Community Learning LLC. All rights reserved. 100 Instructor’s Guide
Standards Matrix
Standard
Lesson
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Common Core Learning Standard
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2:
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development;
summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
-
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3:
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the
course of a text.
- -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5:
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specifc sentences, paragraphs, and
larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each
other and the whole.
-
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7:
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including
visually and quantitatively, as well as in words
- - -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1:
Prepare for and participate efectively in a range of conversations and
collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their
own clearly and persuasively.
- - - - - - - -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2:
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats,
including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- - -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6:
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specifc words
and phrases sufcient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college
and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary
knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or
expression.
- -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3:
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using efective
technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
- - - -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4:
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and
style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- - - -
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5:
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting,
or trying a new approach.
- - - - - - - -
CCCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10:
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, refection, and
revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of
tasks, purposes, and audiences.
- - - - - - - -
Appendix
8-#%& 0 +,"--%2"#$-" +$0%90"9; S0$"#T

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