KSU students pitch TV, movie ideas in film studies class

by Rachel Gray December 09, 2013 12:23 AM   KENNESAW — Before yelling “lights,…

Georgia (Dec 10, 2013)

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by Rachel Gray
December 09, 2013 12:23 AM
KENNESAW — Before yelling “lights, camera, action,” rounds of writing, editing and critique are given to even the shortest of scripts, which is the lesson students learned in a local film class this semester.

On Thursday, 25 undergraduate students at Kennesaw State University presented their final script ideas to demonstrate everything they were taught in Film 3105, “Fundamentals of Writing for Film and Television.”

Jeffrey Stepakoff, who is credited on 36 television episodes and 14 series, said he came to KSU seven years ago to build a program in the English department, with a concentration in film studies.

Every semester, Stepakoff’s classes fill up within an hour of registration opening, and the waitlist is full before each semester begins.

“The interest in film and television is explosive,” Stepakoff said.

Film 3105 is designed to give students the principles of storytelling, specifically through visual media, Stepakoff said.

The course’s syllabus touts the class as “essential for those who intend to work in any field that uses story, such as actors, playwrights, agents, development executives, directors, editors and writers in non-visual fields, like novelists.”

The listed reading for the course includes the screenplays of “Moonstruck,” “Silence of the Lambs” and “Notting Hill,” as well as the pilot script for “Hill Street Blues” and the “Friends” episode “The One Where Ross Finds Out.” The listed viewing assignments include the movies “When Harry Met Sally,” “Roman Holiday” and “Almost Famous.”

The final story board projects were “beat sheets,” or condensed outlines, for feature films, one-hour dramas or two half-hour sitcoms.

During Thursday’s critiques, Stepakoff asked students what the major event was in each script.

Stepakoff said audiences in the past used to take their time for a story to develop, but now the action often begins when the opening credits start, demanding that writers go up a level in intensity.

“Why is no one getting up to go to the bathroom during his movie?” Stepakoff asked. …


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu