Phase One:  Out-of-Class Assignment

Objective:  The intent of this assignment is to focus your attention on conversational dialogue as it spoken.
Assessment:  Your individual grade will be averaged with other participation scores.

Transcribe 3, 2-minute conversations involving three or fewer speakers/characters (the rule of thumb is approximately one page of script per minute of screen time).  You may record conversations and type them out later if you like, but people who know they’re being recorded tend to speak less naturally.  Try to transcribe the conversations verbatim.  Please do not:

  • identify the speakers by gender or name.
  • describe action, settings, or speaker appearance.
  • clean up the language, polish grammar, fill holes of logic, or in any way “improve” the dialogue.
  • submit self-reflexive conversations in which people discuss the assignment itself.
  • submit conversations in which people admit to illegal behavior.

Give each conversation a one-word title.  Format your work using this simplified script template.  Make hard copies of all three transcriptions – one copy for each member of your group and one for your professor.  You’ll exchange the copies for discussion during this class period.


Phase Two:  In-Class Activity

Objective:  In the same way that films are edited from multiple takes, the intent of this class is to improve the quality of scripts by harnessing the brain power of multiple writers.
Assessment:  Class presentation of the two strongest scripts constitutes successful completion of the assignment.

  • 45 mins. Title each transcription with a single word. Distribute hard copies to every member of the group and the professor. Silently, individually, read all the conversation transcripts. Make notes in the margins about things which require more explanation.  Be mindful of exceptional lines that strike you as particularly insightful, funny, emotional.
  • 20 mins. The Scriptwriter for the forthcoming Audio assignment will moderate a group discussion. Individual authors should answer questions about their respective scripts. By consensus, choose the four strongest scripts for table reads.
  • 30 mins. Table reads. The author of a transcript should not participate in the reading of his/her script. Instead, s/he should take notes which will help to clarify further performances.
  • 15 mins. By consensus, choose the two strongest scripts to share with the class.
  • 30 mins. Each group will read their two strongest scripts for the entire class. The group Scriptwriter and Transcript Authors will take notes of class/professor feedback.