Collaborative Creative Project

In this assignment, students worked in groups to craft a script for a novel or film remake. Following script completion, each wrote a proposal to pitch the project to imaginary investors.

Author: Becky Hsu, Lecturer in College Writing Programs
Course Number & Title: ColWrit R1A: Accelerated Reading & Composition
Grant Type: Lecturer Teaching Fellows Program (LTF)

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0(link is external)

Collaborative project
Assignment Title Collaborative Creative Project
Delivery Format In-person

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories

(Review definitions for each category(link is external))

  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • First-Year Seminars and Experiences
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
Learning Objectives
  • Create a dramatic script
  • Create a dramatic proposal that defines and justifies the writer’s artistic vision
  • Analyze and comprehend the primary source (usually a novel or a film)
Brief Summary of Assignment After reading a novel or watching a film, students collaborate in small groups to create a script for a remake of that novel or film. Once students complete the script, they then must each write an individual proposal that pitches their group project to imaginary investors.
Innovative Teaching Reflection

In a first-year reading and composition course, students aren’t often given the opportunity to explore how to work creatively in a group setting and see that work become part of their final, written projects. This assignment pushes students to organize and create art together, while also showing them how writing and “close-reading” techniques have a functional, practical purpose outside of traditional, academic settings.

Assignment Length ~3 weeks
Step-by-Step Instructions

Stage 1: Encountering the Primary Source

In this stage, students are asked to watch a film or read a novel and go through various discussion activities in order to comprehend and deepen their analysis of the primary source. This stage can take about a week (for a film) or up to 2 weeks (for a novel).

Stage 2: Collaborating to Create a Script

Day 1 (1 hour):

    1. Create small groups of 4-5 people. This can be done through random selection, although I find that a reflective writing exercise related to the primary source’s themes can be helpful in creating groups that share a common vision or interests. 
    2. After the students form small groups, introduce the main objectives for the creative project: 1) create a group script that remakes the novel or film and 2) create an individual proposal that justifies the group’s vision for the remake. 
    3. Ask the students to hold each other accountable by creating a group accountability spreadsheet through Google Sheets, which they should share with you. This accountability spreadsheet should define specific tasks, who is responsible for completing each task, the date by which the task needs to be completed, and contact info (they can also share this with each other privately rather than write it into the spreadsheet).
    4. Introduce how to write a script by walking them through a template (link below in Assignment Details).
    5. Remaining class time should be spent brainstorming ideas on how to remake the novel/film. 

Day 2 (2 hours):

    1. Groups can continue brainstorming, but they should also begin working on their group script. 
    2. By the end of the 1st hour, they should have a clear idea of what their vision for their remake is, which they can pitch to the whole class through a brief “elevator pitch.” Before they pitch, I show them, first, why they need to write a script and how a pitch works in the film world through a Youtube clip (see link below).
    3. I also show an example of a solid elevator pitch (see link below in Assignment Details).
    4. Each group then pitches their vision to the class, and the class questions them on their ideas. 

Day 3 (2 hours):

    1. Give the groups as much time as you can so they can finalize their script. By the end of the period, they should have their group script finished and ready to turn in. 

(Optional) Day 4 (1 hour):

    1. Give students the opportunity to act out or do a table-read of their script. Because my course is focused on writing academic essays and isn’t a dramatic arts course, I make read-alouds/acting optional for my students, but another course more centered on creative writing/drama can make this required.

Stage 3: The Proposal

Day 4:

    1. Introduce the purpose of the individual proposal and which proposal template the class will be using (see link below in Assignment Details). Emphasize the sections in the proposal that require close analysis of the primary source (ex: Background and Rationale) and which areas will require reference to the group script.
    2. Ask students to work individually to brainstorm and organize their ideas for the proposal. If a student wants to deviate from the group vision, let them do so but ask them to explain - in the proposal - how their vision deviates from the group script. 


Students should write a rough draft of their proposal. This is best assigned over the span of a week or a weekend. 

One week later:

Peer review of rough proposals – Try to pair students with a partner who is from a different group, so they get fresh feedback and fresh eyes on the proposal and script.


Students should revise their rough drafts into final drafts, with submission about 1 week later.

Impact & Feedback

I’ve assigned this project for 3-4 semesters, towards the end of the semester, and students have overwhelmingly viewed this project as a positive, fun, group-bonding experience that makes the act of analyzing literature and film more interesting and purposeful. They’ve also appreciated the exposure to proposal writing, which 1st-year and 2nd-year students generally aren’t exposed to.

Assignment Details
  1. Proposal Writing Guide
  2. Proposal Template
  3. Screenplay Template
  4. Elevator Pitch Examples
  5. Script Importance