Humanities Core Creative Writing & Screenwriting General Education

HUMANITIES CORE

Whether with Christian intent or not, artists of the Western European tradition have for centuries contended fiercely over questions of form, composition, representation, and relationship to tradition. This survey of the heritage and high-water marks of Western visual art brings students to view and analyze individual works, and larger artistic movements, with the wide-angle lens that allows for the best possible appreciation of beauty. Thus students will build for themselves the foundation they need for artistic engagement with a culture not exactly known for its historical self-awareness.

Monumental dramatic works of ancient Greece—works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and others—provide students taking this course with a lens through which to examine aesthetic, spiritual and social dimensions of narrative art. Special attention will be paid to the function of the theatrical performance in ancient Greek culture, the phenomenon of transgression, the influence of Greek dramatic forms on culture in our own day, and the relationship of individual literary artistry to an abiding tradition.

The power of story is enduring and undeniable. Even today, many of the characters and scenes we deem most memorable and gripping come from the epic poems crafted by Homer and Virgil in the centuries before Christ. Beyond simply encountering finely-worked literary figures and plot developments, however, students taking this course will learn how the structures and conventions of epic narratives give these works immense force and drive, and how the importance of epic narratives in the self-understanding and collective life of ancient peoples invites a deeper appreciation of the importance of great stories for us in our own time.

Fictional narrative, that human invention that trips so naturally from the tongues of children and grandparents alike, appears simple, even inevitable. Such appearances can be deceiving, however. Any narrative worthy of the name— one employing richly drawn characters and tensile plotting, and set down in lucid and evocative language—functions as a highly complex artistic organism. This course brings students to notice trademarks of excellent and lasting prose fiction, and to engage critically with prominent works so as to discern accurately between a masterpiece and a piece of pulp masquerading as well-hewn literature.

This course exposes students to the vast wealth of the English-language poetic tradition. Beginning with the micro-sagas, riddles and serenades that populate Old and Middle English verse, students advance to engage with major writers and works of intervening centuries before concluding with the more familiar speech—but also the bewildering disjunction— of the poetry of our modern era.

There is no counting the number of scholars, artists, and admirers who have gotten entirely knotted up contemplating the figure and literary output of William Shakespeare. By plunging into his dramatic works, students will grow entangled in the work of arguably the greatest literary writer in human history. Only by reckoning with the truly revolutionary impact of Shakespeare’s art—its massive literary and dramatic influence, and also its prompting for a new appreciation of what it means to be human—will they find themselves untied again.

The 20th century confronted Western civilization with a huge array of cultural movements, political crises, and technological breakthroughs. This course provides students with the historical grounding necessary for a serious reconnaissance into the recent past via its major cultural products. Some of these works have emerged over time as radiant masterworks, and others have proved to be but nightmarish visions. All, however, merit study and critical treatment, as they mark our previous century in all its alarm, acceleration and terrible beauty.

This course is a survey and analysis of the elements of music and primary musical periods of Western European music history. Students will acquaint themselves with musical terms, major composers and repertoire.

CREATIVE WRITING & SCREENWRITING

A theoretical and practical introduction to the human phenomenon of storytelling, what stories are, their central role in culture from ancient times to the present day, and how storytellers seek and communicate meaning. Particular attention will be paid to the significance of story in the Judeo-Christian tradition and story’s role within the Christian faith. Students will generate numerous story ideas, and with the help of their classmates and the instructor will evaluate those ideas in terms of audience appeal, theme and meaning.

This course builds on student understanding of screen storytelling established in Story, Genre and Structure and Writing and Pitching a Script. Students will develop an original feature-length screen story from multiple ideas through idea evaluation and selection, character creation and development, story structure, treatment, pitch and beat sheet. At the end of the course, students will register their work with the WGA (a $20 fee). Students will consider more advanced screenwriting concepts presented in the text and will apply those principles to their developing stories.

This course builds on the work completed in Fundamentals of Story Development. Students will at a minimum write the first two acts of a screenplay. They will read classic and modern screenplays. Class time will be dedicated to covering intermediate topics including scene transitions, writing with subtext, visual writing, and further developing skills in scene and dialogue writing and script formatting, and finding solutions to writer's block. Students will critique one another's work in small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write.

Students will continue their study of screenwriting begun in Writing for the Screen 1. They will complete the first draft of a feature length screenplay and plan and complete a second draft of that screenplay, and they will register their finished work with the WGA. Class time will be dedicated to covering intermediate and advanced topics including rewriting, working with producers, directors and agents, types of professional meetings and how to make the most of them, how to seek buyers for scripted material, and the articulation of a well-developed personal code of ethics in entertainment. Students will critique one another's work in small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write. Students will read and respond to the required texts as well as to feature screenplays and episodic television scripts.

This class will study some of the most important films in American cinema to understand the cultural context in which they were created, the role of the director in the filmmaking process, and the lasting legacy that the various films enjoy.

Students will continue their study of screenwriting with a focus on writing narrative films under 40 minutes in length. They will screen and analyze multiple examples of short cinema to gain an understanding of the qualities possessed by the best examples of the form. They will write numerous short scripts with the goal of generating one or more short scripts of high quality that can be produced either inside or outside the university setting. Students will critique one another's work with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write. Students will read and respond to the required texts.

This course builds on the storytelling fundamentals learned in Story, Genre and Structure, and Fundamentals of Story Development, with a focus on the principles and skills of adapting for the screen a story which originates in another medium, as well as adapting true stories for the screen. The student will consider the challenges inherent in adapting a story from another medium, and from true life, and will gain skills and experience by writing, developing, and/or pitching multiple stories of this type. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring screenwriters, as well as aspiring producers, directors, agents, managers, and executives who will involve themselves in the development of story material for the screen. Students will pitch their adaptations and will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop stories outside of class. Students will read and respond to the required text.

This course provides advanced writing experience for students who have completed multiple scripts for the screen. Assignments will be individualized based on student experience, interest, and skill, and may include development and writing of feature film scripts, television episodes or pilots, short film scripts, and scripts for web-based distribution. Students may also rewrite existing works for which they've written earlier drafts. Students will read and lead discussions of numerous screenplays. Students will pitch their stories, and may be asked to pitch to students in other courses. Students will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. They will also develop a personalized career strategy as a writer for the screen. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring writers, writer-directors, and writer-producers for film, television, and new media. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop scripts outside of class.

This course follows Advanced Writing Seminar I and provides additional advanced writing experience for students who have completed multiple scripts for the screen. Assignments will be individualized based on student experience, interest, and skill, and may include development and writing of feature film scripts, television episodes or pilots, short film scripts, and scripts for web-based distribution. Students may also rewrite existing works for which they've written earlier drafts. Students will read and lead discussions of numerous screenplays. Students will pitch their stories, and may be asked to pitch to students in other courses. Students will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. They may also be asked to supervise the script development work of underclassmen. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring writers, writer-directors, and writer-producers for film, television, and new media. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop scripts outside of class.

This course will develop critical skills by examining writing across a range of genres including the novel, short fiction, poetry, and illustrated works. Students will study the aspects of fiction and the elements of poetry. They will also consider different writing practices. Thus, in addition to improving analytical skills, the students will explore some of the writing practices that authors have undertaken in order to create.

Writing allows us to explore alternative realities and this course examines the literary devices and purposes of a range of genres including fictional travel writing, poetry, drama, speculative novels and fantasy stories. We are especially interested in the purpose behind the creation of alternative worlds–to satirize contemporary society, to imagine new possibilities, to experiment with form and so on.

In this course students will read literature and nonfiction creative writing such as short fiction, personal and environmental essays, travel writing, and memoir. They will pay particular attention to the representation of place and the engagement with culture. Students will examine from a writer’s perspective the use of aspects of creative writing such as point of view and narrative technique, language and tone, pacing and plot, and so on.

This course provides an overview of various kinds of nonfiction writing, especially focusing on travel, nature, and personal identity writing. By reading various nonfiction works, students will become familiar with the techniques and structure of different kinds of nonfiction writing, and practice using those techniques in their own works.

GENERAL EDUCATION

THEOLOGY

Recent popes have emphasized the necessity of personal encounter with Jesus Christ. This exhortation raises questions, however, for individual Christian disciples. For JPCatholic students, specifically, this course considers how such an encounter can be fostered within a university community, and how it might be lived in an ongoing way. It therefore doubles as an introduction to university community and to Catholic theological study, and connects faith principles with lived experience so as to bolster faith and spur evangelization.

What is it to believe? Is it merely intellectual assent, or something more? Building out from the first section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this course systematically unpacks the rich and challenging Catholic doctrines contained in the early creeds of the Church, presenting students with a faith that invites assent of all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Our redemption was accomplished by a God who entered history. As a consequence, Catholics understand communion as something that occurs in a context of tradition. Faith is handed down over centuries by the successors of the apostles; we read and interpret Sacred Scripture according to long-established understandings and principles; our prayer to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit bears a striking resemblance to that of the first Christian communities. This course examines sacramental ritual and considers the perennial necessity of personal prayer, enabling students to better understand the power of this ancient faith. In its essential elements it never changes—which is precisely what allows it to change us.

It is all too easy to see one’s own desires as what really matters, and to live accordingly. With his Theology of the Body, however, Pope St. John Paul II offers a fresh perspective, one that dares to lift us above the confusion and malaise wrought by this era’s remarkable selfishness. This course affords students an opportunity to explore this theological treasure given to the Church by our university’s patron, and to better see how an individual human life can be lived not selfishly, but as a gift received from God and intended for others.

PHILOSOPHY

After providing an overview of the basic principles of the Philosophy of Nature, this course examines the nature of the human being, beginning from the Epic of Gilgamesh, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas, the Renaissance via Blaise Pascal, and concluding in the modern period in Nietzsche, Freud and T. S. Eliot.

This course is a detailed study in the various understandings of nature, beginning from the mythology of the Enuma Elish as a primitive attempt at grasping the world, to the classical understanding found in Aristotle’s Physics and 141 Parts of Animals and their Medieval development in Thomas Aquinas’s The Principles of Nature, to foundational texts in modern natural sciences such as those of Descartes, Galileo and Newton, to discussions of evolution found in Darwin, and finally to near contemporary physicists such as Heisenberg. The contrast between the classical stress on substantial form and formal causality and the modern method of material causality and mathematical law will be brought to the forefront, as will the emphasis on technology as a mastery of nature in modern science and the question of teleology, whether nature acts for a purpose.

This is a course in the various understandings of metaphysics, or the nature of being as being, beginning from Plato’s Timaeus, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, and the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas. The course continues by covering several related questions, beginning with Natural Theology (discussing the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the Divine Attributes that can be understood using reason alone, the analogy of being, and the act of creation), continuing with the “problem of evil” and the question of free will

Students learn about the basic structures of sound reasoning, focusing largely on classic Aristotelian logic. The course serves to help students think and argue with clarity as well as to effectively analyze arguments of others. The course includes a careful analysis of the operations of the intellect, i.e., understanding, judgment, and reasoning, focusing on their products, i.e., term, proposition, and syllogism.

HUMANITIES

As this course engages apparently timeless literary works from the classical tradition, it situates them within specific historical contexts. This approach enables students to better appreciate the enduring power of story even as they recognize the complex relationship art to its surrounding culture. Masterworks of pagan antiquity (Homer and/or Virgil) give way to key texts of early Christendom (Augustine, Beowulf, and others) in order to further illuminate the impact of Christian theology and anthropology on artists and thinkers in myriad disciplines.

This course tracks the development in European art and thought during the transition from the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Special attention is paid at the outset to the tensions arising from, surrounding, and even bringing about this epochal shift, especially as evidenced in Dante’s Divine Comedy. When the course later shifts its focus to texts produced by Shakespeare and other authors in Renaissance England, students find these tensions now located in increasingly realistic and complex human figures and dramas. Through these explorations students come to see the distinctive groundwork being laid for what will later be recognized as the modern period.

This third course in our Cultural Foundations series tracks the rise of modernity against the backdrop of various 18th and 19th century upheavals. In order to best appreciate the dynamism and complexity of this period, students will immerse themselves in the literary form most characteristic of the 19th century: the novel. By applying order to an increasingly dissonant world, the great novels of the European tradition illuminate daily life amidst revolutionary change in a uniquely personal way, and they capture in their progress both the subtlest movements of human consciousness and the most profound transformations of human hearts.

This course studies a wide variety of global cultures by listening to indigenous voices expressing themselves in cultural products thatinclude novels, films, music, poetry, essays, speeches, and journalism.

This course will emphasize the use of correct grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Students will be required to apply these skills to writing assignments.

This course stands as the culmination of the sequence of courses in the freshman year that covered grammar, logic and rhetoric. The course examines the role of the artist, the nature and purpose of art, of beauty, and of a life of art-making, and considers whether and how the quality of art can be evaluated in light of a Catholic understanding of art and artists. The course further considers the significance of these ideas to human endeavors such as work and business that are not typically viewed as artistic.

This course will build on the skills learned in College Writing I.

(* Must take one of these two courses)

SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

This course provides students with concepts and strategies related to personal finance that focuses on practical financial decision-making. The course will help students make more informed decisions related to spending, saving, borrowing, and investing. Students receive a review of cash management, financial services, consumer credit, taxes, insurance, and educational expenses to successfully transition to college life.

This course explores the scientific method and reasoning. A special emphasis is placed on the design found in nature and environmental science.

BUSINESS

In today’s world there is a need for strategic thinking and business vision based on a different paradigm. Competition is not only between products and services, but also between business models. Students will learn about innovation-driven business strategies and methodologies to develop business designs to successfully compete in the new economy.

This course focuses on introducing the idea of “entrepreneurial marketing” and is aimed at students who plan to start a new venture or take a job as a marketing professional pursuing an innovative marketing approach. Students will study a full spectrum of marketing strategy and tactics that are especially suitable for entrepreneurial firms aiming for high growth and innovation yet faced by limited resources and uncertain industry dynamics. Students will work in teams on marketing plans for their own venture or for other high profile entrepreneurs or executives. The focus of this course is on hands-on experiences and practical relevance of innovative marketing concepts.

In this class students get a “big picture” look at the ingredients of a start-up firm and the process of creating one. The class details those ingredients, discusses the stories (good & bad) of people who have done it, and learn the process by going through it with a self-select team. Students learn: the business planning process, which maps how to move from an idea to an actual enterprise offering an actual product/service/apostolate; How to craft a compelling and clear business story that captures the true essence of your business; and finally acquire inquisitiveness as to how the world of business really works. The class deliverable is a complete Business Plan created by student teams along with a presentation of the plan.

This course teaches students to meet and resolve objections and conflicts that result from written and oral proposals and pitches. Emphasis is on resolving customer obstacles before addressing your own. Topics covered include: Wants vs. Needs; Win-Win Strategies; Best Alternatives to Agreement; Schedule vs. Quality vs. Cost; Progress vs. Perfection. The class progresses through carefully structured, progressively more complex negotiation exercises. Students learn how external and internal negotiation has become a way of life for effective managers in a constantly changing business environment.

Social Media Marketing is a broad term that refers to any online marketing effort initiated through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This marketing discipline often combines social media management and paid digital marketing efforts (advertising). This course will explore the ever changing landscape of social media, understand the current social media ecosystem, examine best use case scenarios for businesses on each platform, understand how social media management (tactical) and social media advertising (strategic) is utilized by businesses on multiple platforms, and generate best practices through management and advertising. Each platform’s advertising options will be explored in depth. The course will also examine ethical issues currently caused by Social Media Platforms in society and apply a Catholic viewpoint to tackling these issues.

This course is an introductory-level course for students. Its intent is to give an in-depth understanding of the differences between – and similarities of — leadership and management. The course focuses on the major traits of leaders and managers, and augments these with examples of great historic leaders, including George Custer and Jesus Christ. The course also studies the many leadership traits of Abraham Lincoln, and looks at how these can be applied in modern business to improve management techniques. As part of the learning process, students give summaries of Lincoln’s leadership lessons, using short, Power Point presentations.

This course will teach students how to write and speak effectively in business and other communication.