SCWR 370 Comedic Improvisation for Filmmakers

Dionna Griffin

Winter 2020-2021
Class number: 28521
Section number: 501
Tu 1:30PM - 4:45PM
OLSYN CH000 Online Campus


Course Description:

This course lays the foundation for successful improvisation in the current Chicago style, starting with the formation of the ensemble and exploring various elements of the creative process. Students experience what it means to be part of the greater whole, create freely without self-judgment, and develop fundamental tools of play that will make them better communicators and filmmakers. 


Course Overview:

·       Online structured activities around individual and group experiential play, discovery, with discourse among students and the instructor on improv philosophy and its application to film and storytelling.

·       Each class implements a creative (communication) tool, assigned reading, journal reflection, and/or archive scene during select weeks for deconstruction and critical responses for filmmaking. 

·       Students are challenged to develop a variety of comedic premises expanding their comedic sensibility by engaging in a variety of improv and writing exercises that explore characters, relationships, status and point of view, genre and truth in comedy

·       A final project includes an online presentation of a comedic character, sketch, an ensemble sharing to demonstrate 


This course may include invited guest actors/ performers, and/or directors from the greater comedy theatre community with engagement for interview and class research 



Textbooks:  There is no required textbook needed for this course.  Recommended and assigned readings, interviews, podcasts, and/or handouts will be provided by the instructor each week.



Class Attendance 30%

Collaboration and Participation 20%

Assignments and Writing Pitches 20%

Final In-Class Online Demonstration and Paper 30%


School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296