SCWR 490 Topics in Screenwriting

Jess King

Office: CDM 464
Winter 2022-2023
Class number: 29006
Section number: 501
W 1:30PM - 4:45PM
14EAS 00507 Loop Campus


Have you ever wondered why so much science fiction is rooted in visions of dystopian futures? From climate catastrophe to murderous AI to pandemics that devastate human civilization, the Hollywood imaginary seems fixated on apocalypse. This advanced course proceeds from the premise that to build a sustainable future, we need to imagine otherwise. By engaging with transformative & liberatory utopian thought—including Afro-surrealism, Anarchism, Intersectional Environmentalism, and Queer Futurism—students will develop a film or television project that addresses the difficult questions of contemporary life by positing alternative, livable realities and worlds. Through readings, lectures, screenings, and screenplay analysis, students will examine how to infuse their storytelling with a utopian impulse that breaks with the present to create new conceptual and political realities. Ultimately, this class is an invitation to consider new possibilities for reshaping the cultural imagination and fashioning the culture and future you want to live in. Writers and creators in all genres welcome.  

Prerequisite: A Bold Imagination.   


Provided by instructor.


Standard Scale

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.

All students are expected to abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy which prohibits cheating and other misconduct in student coursework. Publicly sharing or posting online any prior or current materials from this course (including exam questions or answers), is considered to be providing unauthorized assistance prohibited by the policy. Both students who share/post and students who access or use such materials are considered to be cheating under the Policy and will be subject to sanctions for violations of Academic Integrity.

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