Filming The Unfilmable

Display Schedule

Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
300MUNF2 credit 1 24 lecture hours (45 min) of instruction per semester, 7 to 12 hours of self-study English winter

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)

Neil Andrew TAYLOR


This course is focused on exploring and developing students’ dramatic and creative writing techniques along with the critical thought required to enable screenwriters to adapt a range of source material into a format suitable for screen production. The student will develop a screenplay suitable for production and filming in the following semester. The first half of the course will focus on creative techniques and in-roads for developing style and content. The second half will focus on script production, subject choices and structure. Students are expected to view/read the range of material suggested plus bring awareness to the group of material from their own cultures and cinematic heritage.

  1. Introduction: Lecture plus in-class exercises; 'Creative play on the page' Intro to Creative Writing for screenwriters - chronology, narrative structure, character, dramatic principles, cinematic requirements, why write?

Prior reading/screening - none this session but students to screen two music videos of their choice on YouTube

  1. The range and commonality of adaptation. Principles of creative writing/thinking - thinking the unthinkable.

1st mini-photo exercise

Reading: Students to bring one short story of their choice to the session and be prepared to defend its qualities as a piece of literature of interest and literary merit.

  1. Launch of 1st set exercise plus lecture - influences and usefulness of associated artforms - 'lifted' dialogue and image. The development of franchise characters.

Ist Mini-video exercise – capturing Ryhthm

Screening extracts from:

James Bond

Marvel / DC comics characters


Jason Bourne

Reading: Esslin: The Field of Drama. Methuen ISBN 9780413192608

4 Camera stylo, improvisation and research, life experience - Zeitgeist and contexts of source material v adaptation for current screening.

2nd Mini-video exercise – Camera Stylo

Screening: Extracts from the work of Mike Leigh. Students to have viewed Abigail's Party, Topsy Turvy, Vera Drake, Mr Turner (trailer or excepts if released).

5. 2nd set written exercise. The challenge of what the writer 'cannot have' Adapter v Author (how much to respect source material). Use of the Epic format.

2nd mini-photo exercise

Screenings: extracts from

The Life of Pi: Dir Lee

Jason and the Argonauts: Dir Chaffey

O Brother Where Art Thou: Dir Coen Brothers

Beowulf: Dir Zemekis

The Mahabharata: Dir Brook 1990

Life of Brian: Dir Pythons

Reading: Peter J, Vladimir's Carrot. Methuen 1987

  1. Adapting from novel/short story - examples of the 'unfilmable'

Readings: Stories by Maugham, Chekhov, Turgenev, Mann, de Maupassant, Gustav Meyrink, Hrabal, Thurber, Hawthorne, Woody Allen, Hardy, others of choice. Translations in English must be available for inclusion.

Screening extracts from:

Love In The Time of Cholera: Dir Newell

Pride and Prejudice: Dir Wright

The Handmaids Tale: Dir Schlondorff

The 39 Steps: Dir Hitchcock

Kidnapped: Dir Stevenson 1960

7. 3rd written exercise launch. Screenplay tasks - literary narrative versus visual narrative. Classical literature techniques in screenplay and the use of 'historical' language.

3rd Mini-photo exercise

Possible screened extracts:

Shakespeare in Love: Dir Madden

Moliere: Dir Tirard

Richard III: Dir Olivier

Henry V: Dir Olivier and Branagh

Ran: Dir Kurosawa

Macbeth: Dir Polanski

  1. Adapting from stage material

Madness of George III; Dir Hytner

The King's Speech; Dir Hooper

Amadeus; Dir. Forman

Vanya on 42nd Street; Dir Malle

Reading: Brook P, The Empty Space. ISBN 9780684829579

  1. Group workshop. Students to bring extracts of material specifically adapted to children's market and animation (adult and children)

No reading or screening prior to this session.

  1. Adapting biography, interface of selected adapted material with adapter's appropriate personal experience.

Screenings: Students to have viewed:

Lust for Life: Dir Minnelli

The Music Lovers: Dir Russell

Students to bring screen excerpts of 2 biopics of their choice. One must be a biopic of an artist, the other not.

  1. The writer /director relationship

Prior reading/screening - none this session

  1. Final class: Review and preparation/ expected requirements for next semester.

Learning outcomes

Students will develop confidence and understanding of the needs and challenges facing screenwriters in the creation of script material prior to potential production. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the shared terms of reference and professional terminologies used by professional screenwriters and associated creatives/creative disciplines/

Prerequisites and other requirements

Students to have read some material from the list of suggested authors.

Attendance: Students are allowed to have two absences. Barring unforeseen circumstances, students should notify the instructor in advance. Exceptional circumstances will be considered, but additional work may be required.

Completion policy: To complete the course, a student must comply with the attendance and participation requirements and write the sceenplay exercises adapted from source material to an acceptable production standard.



Evaluation methods and criteria

Students to have read some material from the list of suggested authors.

Participation: Students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions as this forms part of overall grading considerations.



Schedule for winter semester 2022/2023:

Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
04.11.2022 15:00–17:00 Neil Andrew TAYLOR Room No. 3
Lažanský palác
lecture parallel1

Schedule for summer semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans