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Film and Literature

From Source, to Script, to Screen

Level 1: Grades 5-7

Level 2: Grades 8+


Course Schedule:

Spring Qtr: Jan./Feb. - April | Summer Qtr: June/July - Aug.

Fall Qtr: Sept. - Nov. | Winter Qtr: Nov. - Jan.

In-Class Instruction Time 10 hours 

Course Overview

This course enhances students' analytical, critical, and creative writing skills through the exploration of film and literature. They analyze films, scripts, and novels and utilize new tools to analyze digital media. Assignments include in-depth analysis of visual and written materials, and screenplay writing. The skills students develop throughout the course help them excel in critical analysis and narrative crafting, valuable for college admissions and beyond.

Course Levels: Levels I - III

The course has three levels, with each level building upon the previous one. Upon successful completion of a lower level, students are invited to join the next level where they can employ the analytical and creative thinking and writing tools acquired in the previous course to tackle more advanced tasks.

Level 1 serves as a comprehensive survey course that aims to equip students with fundamental analytical and creative thinking skills. Level II emphasizes creative writing and involves a project where students adapt a classic short story for the screen. They'll analyze the story and learn to edit for concision, clarity, and impact. In Level III, students hone analytical thinking and writing skills through a course-long video essay project. They'll select a film, conduct a comprehensive analysis, and create a compelling video essay.


Course Trailer

Class Demo: Analytical & Creative Assignments

Mentor: Mr. Donovan

M.F.A. in Theatre Directing & B.Ed in Secondary Education
Director, Filmmaker, & High School Teacher


Mr. Donovan is an award-winning director, playwright, screenwriter, and actor. He has directed over 20 theatre and film productions and has acted professionally in a countless number of plays and films. His most recent work was directing the 2020 Citadel Theatre Young Company in an adaptation of The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Nielson that he adapted from the stageplay into a film production. Besides theatre and film, Mr. Donovan is passionate about teaching. He has been teaching online since the COVID-19 pandemic and works as a teacher in secondary schools. 

Questions to Explore

  1. Where do we find narratives in our everyday lives? What makes a narrative effective and how it is formed?

  2. What role do symbols and images play in film and literature, and how do we recognize them? 

  3. How can we use symbols and imagery in writing? What elements of scriptwriting can help liven our own writing? 

  4. How do we refine our writing to concisely convey our point? How can we show our readers our point instead of simply telling them?

  5. How can we use film analysis to better understand the digital media we consume on a daily basis?

Film Selection

Class will be structured around the analysis of three films and excerpts from their scripts and novels. Films are selected based on students' interest and English levels. 

Some case study options

  1. Atonement

  2. Blade Runner

  3. Call Me by Your Name

  4. Crazy Rich Asians

  5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

  6. Dune

  7. Fight Club

  8. Kiki’s Delivery Service

  9. Little Women

  10. Nomadland 

  11. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

  12. Snowpiercer

  13. The Great Gatsby

  14. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  16. The Prince of Egypt

  17. The Princess Bride

  18. The Shawshank Redemption

  19. V for Vendetta


“Mr. Donovan was the greatest teacher I had. Not only did he give me opportunities to improve but he also understood me as a student. We’re all very thankful of him because he made class way more fun than my previous classes. He made me grow as a student.”

“Mr. Donovan was an amazing teacher. He was very engaging, great energy, and gave us all the information we needed to succeed. Mr. Donovan was very organized each class and showed that he cared for each student. He came in everyday with the same energy as the first day.”

“Mr. Donovan is a wonderful and patient teacher. His teaching style is very enjoyable. He breaks down everything he teaches into basic terms so that students can understand it. He allows students to interact and demonstrate their understanding.”

“I love Mr. Donovan’s teaching style. I found it easier to understand and learn more efficiently. He has drastically changed my mindset in class and made my class experience more positive.”

“Mr. Donovan was a really good teacher. He kept me interested in the topics he was teaching and spoke very clear. He made many of the classes fun with many different activities. He also made the topics easy to understand with simple terms and broke them down well.” 

“Mr. Donovan’s methods of teaching has made learning in class more engaging and clear. His feedback on our work is also very helpful. He tells us what we did wrong and need to work on better for next time in a straightforward and friendly way.”

“Mr. Donovan has helped me a lot during his time here. He actually made coming to class enjoyable and understandable. He’s very patient with every student that had a little trouble with something. 

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