The intent of the materials is to give students the opportunity to understand how to read television as well as reinforce, albeit thinly, their narrative writing skills. According to Nielsen statistics for 2011, teenagers ages 12 to 17 spend about 100 hours watching television each month. The goal of this unit is to teach students to be more critical viewers of the medium by teaching them how the narrative structures they’ve learned about in novel and short story work in the television format. As in short story, television narrative structure explicitly has the exposition lead directly to the rising action then climax then falling action then resolution. Moreover, when a script is well written the underlying theme is illuminated throughout the episode. Students view more television than they read short stories, thus through the medium of television, they will absorb the narrative structure thousands of time. They will be more insightful readers of literature if they read television instead of viewing it as passive entertainment.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer season four episode 10, “Hush,” is the chosen text for this unit. The writing is impeccable. It was the only episode of the entire Buffy series to be nominated for an Emmy Award for Writing in a Drama Series. Students do not need to be familiar with the show to enjoy the episode.
Students will participate in a "Writing Improv" by creating their own episodic series, a series pilot using Freytag’s Pyramid, and will practice script writing by creating a cold open for their series opener.
This unit is 5-8 days long.