BA Digital Film - Screenwriting
Earn Your Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting Degree Online
Films can be informative, entertaining or inspiring. They can reflect and become part of cultural ideals and values. You can pursue your passion for film and build the basis for a meaningful career with the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Screenwriting degree from Grand Canyon University. Acquire the necessary industry knowledge and writing skills to pursue a career in pre-production. Students explore effective strategies in story development, learn how to create authentic dialogue and build characters that audiences can connect with.
The screenwriting degree is offered by the College of Fine Arts and Production at GCU. This robust curriculum covers genre-specific screenwriting techniques. Students explore the adaptation process for transferring a story from another medium into digital film. The BA in digital film screenwriting degree also provides students with an in-depth understanding of the business side of film creation and the various movements within cinema throughout history. Additionally, students explore aspects of film creation in the production stage, such as acting and directing.
Explore the Curriculum for the Digital Film and Screenwriting BA Degree
The digital film screenwriting bachelor of arts degree, offered both online and on campus, prepares students to excel in the arts and entertainment industry. Learn to become a student of human nature by transferring authentic experiences and genuine interactions to the written word. Immerse yourself in the world of professional filmmaking with courses such as:
- Introduction to Cinema: History & Aesthetics
- Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay
- Creating Authentic Cinematic Conflict
- Acting for the Camera
- Creating the Dramatic Television Series
- Writing Meaningful Dialogue
- Adapting Media to Screenplays
Senior screenwriting students demonstrate their knowledge, skills and creativity in the Screenwriting Capstone. The Screenwriting Capstone enables students to bring together what they have learned of character and place development, film structure, themes, conflict and expressive storytelling. Upon completion, graduates will have multiple, well-developed screenplays in their professional portfolio to enhance their career qualifications as they pursue their professional ambitions.
The BA in screenwriting for digital film integrates the Christian perspective and values into the curriculum. As a private, Christian university, GCU encourages students to grow into mindful servant leaders who actively evaluate ethical dilemmas and search for moral solutions.
Prepare for a Future in Digital Film and Screenwriting
In digital film creation, the role of the screenwriter is among the most important, since no film can be made unless there is a script for it. Screenwriters may be generalists or specialists. Some screenwriters choose to specialize in comedy, science fiction, drama or horror movies. Others specialize in adapting writing from other forms, such as novels, into screenplays. Some of the specific jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:
- Documentary writer
- Studio script reader/reviewer
- Corporate video writer
- Gaming script writer
- Film critic
- Story editor
- Script Supervisor
Professional screenwriters may find work in a variety of settings. These may include corporate film production companies, digital design agencies, advertising agencies, television studios and publishing houses.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
- COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- INT-244, World Religions: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Program Core Courses
This course covers multiple eras and movements throughout the age of film.
This course introduces students to the technical and aesthetic aspects of small format digital production as well as the basic principles of motion picture production. Students learn the language of film/digital video and how its manipulation can express one’s individual message or purpose.
This introductory course helps digital film production students to develop skills and gain experience in acting and directing for the camera. Students participate on both sides of the camera. Course sessions include lecture, practical exercises, and preparation for analyzing and blocking a scene and working on a set. Students screen selected film clips to evaluate performances, explore methods to prepare for an audition, discuss the actor/director relationship, and examine the professional requirements of relating to a crew.
Students in this writing intensive course learn storytelling for the screen through a managed regimen of in-class and out-of-class experiences that emphasize the essential mix of imagination and craft in writing. They hone their skills in observation, communication, and visualization, and receive instruction on structure for screenwriting and how to employ written language to articulate dramatic and visual expression.
This course focuses on the elements that make up almost all storytelling. Students are encouraged to discover and develop their unique voices as writers and storytellers, while understanding the critical importance of working as part of a creative team. This course emphasizes the use of traditional storytelling, classic mythology, and the ways in which these devices apply to contemporary media.
One of the greatest challenges for screenwriters is to create dynamic, believable characters. In this course, students will reflect on the role of character and the relationship between strong characters and a strong screenplay. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
Understanding genre conventions and tropes is critical to a screenwriter’s success. This course combines script analysis with the practice of writing short scripts for a variety of genres. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
This course utilizes techniques of directing, sound editing, lighting, and advanced editing programs. Several practical and written exercises lead to a short digital production. Students spend time working with actors in front of the camera as well as composing shots to convey a story visually. Prerequisites: DFP-111 and DFP-221.
This course will prepare the College of Fine Arts and Production student for professional success in their chosen field. Students will research their industry, gaining critical knowledge and learning the business practices needed for post-graduation success.
Poorly written dialogue can remove a character’s authenticity and diminish the audience’s suspension of disbelief. This course explores what constitutes great dialogue and delves into techniques that allow writers to incorporate powerful subtext, craft honest and emotionally impactful dialogue, and integrate exposition seamlessly. Prerequisite: DFP-235.
Students in this writing intensive course study, analyze, and implement advanced techniques in creating cinema screenplays. This course emphasizes the use of traditional storytelling and classic mythology, and how these devices apply to contemporary screenplays. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
Students learn to adapt various forms of media to screenplays. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
Maintaining interest while the story unfolds is an important task for the screenwriter. This course delves deeply into screenplay structure, analyzing dramatic strategies employed by successful screenwriters. Students will engage in various stages of the screenwriting process. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
In this course, students will learn the entire process of creating a dramatic television series. Students learn the skills of developing ideas, researching the marketplace, creating character bios, writing pilots, and pitching. Prerequisite: DFP-221.
Students participate in individually writing a full-length feature film. They also explore all aspects of structure, character, settings, theme, obstacle, and expressive writing storytelling. Prerequisites: DFP-457 and DFP-463.