Course Title: Anatomy of a Screenplay

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Anatomy of a Screenplay

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014

Course Coordinator: Dr Craig Batty

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2456

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

You should have satisfactorily completed the prerequisite courses COMM2389 Telling Stories before you commence this course. You should also undertake COMM2227 Advanced Scriptwriting at the same time as this course as it contains areas of knowledge and skills that are implemented together in practice. These are co-requisite courses. Note it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the pre-requisite and agree to concurrently enrol in the co-requisite course before enrolling in a course.

Course Description

Anatomy of a Screenplay provides the foundation for screenwriting techniques that will apply to a range of script projects, including short films, feature films and television formats. This course will explore the role of the screenwriter in the film and television industry, and will help you understand the kinds of creative decisions that writers make when creating and telling a story for the screen. Through a study of screen texts and screenwriting literature, you will examine the not always apparent function of the writer in what is a highly collaborative storytelling medium. You will also begin to design your own feature-length story through the writing of a treatment.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities:
- independent research and critical analysis
- creative writing skills
- an advanced understanding of how screenwriters operate
- an increased knowledge of screen culture.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- recognise and evaluate the fundamentals of screenwriting craft used in the creation of a screenplay
- interpret what is on the screen to try and understand the ideas and intentions of the screenwriter(s)
- communicate effectively with and in front of peers, drawing on relevant sources to strengthen your arguments
- apply the fundamentals of screenwriting craft to the creation of an original fiction idea for the screen.

Overview of Learning Activities

Through a series of screenings and tutorials, you will explore the various decisions and processes that go into creating a screenplay, and consider the broader issues of screenwriting and authorship. You will also experiment with designing your own screen story, and offer critiques of other students’ ideas. This course relies on your engagement with concepts and critical deconstructions, and your preparedness to work independently, while aiming to instruct you how to understand films from a screenwriter’s perspective.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. You will be provided with an indicative reading list, including a set of core books that you will be expected to purchase, and other materials such as articles, reports and screenplay excerpts. You will watch, and critique, a selection of films and television dramas chosen by the course tutor(s). You will also be expected to find your own film and television examples, and read extensively around the subject, whether in print or online.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities. Assessment in this course aims to test your abilities of understanding and interpreting the fundamentals of screenwriting craft, communicating effectively with peers, and creating an original fiction idea for the screen.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program director or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures.