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FT 709: Writing for Television

quote from Andrey Sinyavsky

      This course is designed for graduates in the Broadcasting Program.  It introduces students to the different skills demanded of writers in the television medium. We shall study short and long forms, fiction, non-fiction, and commercials. We’ll also consider challenges that face writers in the new forms of digital display. Regular writing assignments will give course members practice in these different forms. There will be opportunities for rewriting and for developing individual and experimental ideas.  I hope that seeds planted in this class may bear fruit in some of your thesis projects.  

       As an underlying theme of the course we will discuss the role of language in communicating ideas, its use as a representational code, and its relationship to the audio-visual codes specific to the medium of television.  We will review literary and audio-visual models, and explore possibilities for experimental writing. The late Joris Ivens, a documentary maker from Holland, thought of his own work as resembling poetry.

       Our graduate program is greatly enriched by the presence of international students. It may take a little while for some of you who are international students to become accustomed to American speech and the instructional ways of an American campus. Please do not be shy about asking for clarifications. I'm always available to go over your work in my office and I have assigned a graduate assistant exclusively to this class to help those of you who have special needs in writing in English. Please be sure to keep appointments with this assistant and make the most of the assigned office hours. At the same time, with television expanding so fast internationally, we all have a great deal to learn from each other about this changing global media environment.       

       An important learning experience for us all is to hear our work critiqued by others. Students must expect to have their writing discussed in class and when required they must submit enough copies of their assignments for distribution to the rest of the class. We shall be looking for freshness of approach as well as formal skills.


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