Aesthetic Expressions

English 220- Intro to Dramatic Writing

During my first semester I took a dramatic writing class with Professor Carroll-Hackett that was based on writing and analyzing screenplays for short films and movies. Before taking this class I had the assumption that it was solely going to be a dramatic writing class. The biggest thing I took away was that I am definitely not a screenwriter. I learned that I prefer to write research-based papers and things that are analytical and thought provoking. While this workshopping class was very thought provoking and could be analytical at times depending on how in depth the writer was, this class was not my favorite. Mary (that’s what Professor Carroll-Hackett preferred to be called) is an incredibly interesting woman and genuinely sparked an interest in me. I was fascinated in seeing all the background work that goes into making a movie. We learned that for each page written, it equates to one minute of screen time. This fact is amazing to me because I struggled writing my 9 page short-film script and I cannot imagine writing one that is over 200 pages. I can honestly say that I have not watched a movie in the same way as I did before this class.  Even though I did not necessarily like the topic of the course and it was the source of many late nights, it prompted me to dig deep when coming up with plots. I have taken away a lot of valuable lessons from this course that go beyond screenwriting thanks to Mary.


We were assigned to write four scripts throughout the course of the semester, workshopping each others on a rotation schedule each week. Each week after workshopping other’s scripts and hearing feedback on mine, I gained knowledge about plot and character development and basic formatting. The most challenging part about writing a screenplay is creating the characters. Each has to have qualities and quirks that make them human and not one dimensional.  I struggled the most with this throughout the semester but through reading my classmates scripts and talking about it each class, I eventually learned how to improve my characters and what drives them. The script below is the second one I wrote for this class and I’ll admit that it’s not very good but I am not the most creative person when it comes to creating a storyline.

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