Course Title: Establish the creative vision for screen productions

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2018

Course Code: VART5924C

Course Title: Establish the creative vision for screen productions

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6125 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact: Program administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff


Feature Film:

Luke Preston

Story To Screen:

Cameron Clarke

Tim Marshall

Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites – none 


Course Description

Establish the creative vision for screen productions (VART5924C) covers the skills and knowledge you need to produce effective written scripts, and to transform written scripts into screen productions through the use of sound and visual images.
This competency is delivered in two different contexts: Feature Film, and Story To Screen.
In Feature Film, you build upon and complete the work on your feature project begun in the first semester in the competency COMM 7326 Script Edit a feature film.
In Story To Screen, through working on a practical project you learn what is involved in the different aspects of creating a screen production.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFDRT601A Establish the creative vision for screen productions


1. Review and interpret scripts.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Read available drafts of scripts and arrange meetings with appropriate creative personnel to discuss potential interpretations of the vision 1.2 Assess the intended creative aims of scripts, define proposed objectives and explore how they may be realize visually or through the use of sound. 1.3 Generate and consider a range of ideas for visualizing scripts until a clear narrative emerges. 1.4 Identify research and reference materials to inform creative directors and to assist in providing the context for productions 1.5 Review script drafts in collaboration with writers, agree on the need for any re-writes and organise timetables for completions. 1.6 Prepare clear development notes for script writers to produce scripts re-drafts as required. 1.7 Document perceived visual and dramatic elements in scripts as the basis for shot plans.


2. Prepare shot plans to realise visual narrative.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Mark up working script into its component scenes and identify key dramatic elements and technical parameters within each scenic unit. 2.2 Plot key dramatic elements within each scene and between scenes to realise the transformation of the written narrative into its visual representation. 2.3 Consider the whole of the narrative and scenes to determine the location of the characters and other elements for each individual shot. 2.4 Assess the photographic qualities of proposed shots and how they may impact on the story overall and within each scene. 2.5 Ensure overall shot plans allow both narrative and visual aspects to be controlled and carried forward to meet overall production requirements, 2.6 Discuss shot plans with relevant production personnel prior to development of any story boards.


3. Review and communicate proposed shot plan.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Identify and document areas of productions that may be affected by script versions and discuss changes with colleagues, 3.2 Arrange sign-off for final script with producers if applicable and ensure it is distributed to relevant creative personnel. 3.3 Maintain an ongoing review of script and shot plans and organize for any further rewrites while production is underway. 3.4 Provide relevant production personnel

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to transform written scripts into screen productions through the use of sound and visual images.

Details of Learning Activities

In Feature Film – Creative Vision for Screen (feature film) – you build upon and complete the work on your feature project begun in the first semester in the competency COMM 7326 Script Edit a feature film. 

In Story To Screen – Creative Vision for Screen (short film) – through working on a practical project you learn what is involved in the different aspects of creating a screen production.

Teaching Schedule










Introduction: Now what?

So, you’ve written the first draft of your screenplay, you’ve had critical feedback and developed your next draft notes but now what? Over the course of the next semester you will develop your screenplay not only a second draft stage but a market ready third draft screenplay.

In this introductory class, you will be provided with an overview of the semester after which, as a group activity, you will compare and contrast the similarities and differences of a first draft feature film screenplay and a fifteenth draft screenplay.

Each week we’ll have a table reading of everybody’s feature films. You will be required to provide printed copies to your fellow students and assign roles for them to read. A discussion will follow after each reading.




Screenplay Analysis: What’s broken here?

In order to develop a screenplay successfully, you will need to conduct an honest assessment of the condition the screenplay is currently in. In conjunction with your screenplay and unitizing your next draft notes and script reports, you will compile a list of strengths and weaknesses.

We will conduct our first table read this week.




The Second Draft Focus: Where to start?

Rewriting a screenplay can sometimes be a daunting task. In this class, we will explore various approaches on how to tackle the jump from the first to second draft by utilizing techniques such as mini-drafts and compartmentalisation.

We will conduct our second table read this week.




Beat Sheets: Baby steps

Not only is creating a beat sheet of your screenplay extremely helpful when creating the first draft, they also can play a helpful role in crafting the second draft as well. In this class, we will explore the differences and the pros and the cons of creating a beat sheet after a screenplay is written and how to utilize it to effectively speed up the process.

We will conduct our third table read this week.




Theme: What’s it all about?

It’s a common belief that a writer knows what the theme of their story is before they start writing and for some people that’s true. But the vast majority of writers don’t know what the theme of their story is until they’ve finished writing it. Now that you have finished your first draft it’s now time to talk about the importance of theme, defining what your theme is and identifying key parts within your story to express that theme.  

We will conduct our forth table read this week.   




You Did Too Much: How to cut down your page count

In film, every single page costs money. All you need to do is divide your budget by how many pages you have and that will give you a clear indication of how much each page is worth. In development, producers are always conscience of page count and are always asking you to bring the screenplay in with fewer pages added to the total.

In this class, we will explore five different techniques you can implement to bring your page count down.

We will conduct our fifth table read this week.  

Assessment 1: Beat Sheet Due



Fantasy Movie Making

Filmmaking is a business and in today’s busy marketplace having a marketable idea and a killer script isn’t enough. To get a film produced you need many elements but none of those elements is more important than casting. Without an appropriate cast for your screenplay, the reality in today’s marketplace is that your film will simply not be financed.

In today’s class, you will realistically ‘fantasy’ cast your feature film. You will identify your target audience, the actors that appeal to that audience and present a plan to the class about how you’re going to alter/adapt your screenplay to appeal to those actors.

We will conduct our sixth table read this week.  




Branding: Be Coca-Cola not Sofia Copola

Having one feature film in your draw is great, having two or three is even better. There’s going to be times when you pitch your story and it won’t be for that producer. In that situation, it’s not uncommon for a producer to ask what else have you got. The key in that situation is to have similar projects on hand. For example, if you’re talking to a horror producer and the horror film you pitched wasn’t for them but the only other projects you have are comedies, then it’s probably going to be a short meeting. But, if you have three horror screenplays in your draw then there’s almost a 100% chance that they’re going to read one of them, and you’re going to be known as the writer who does horror.

In this class, we’re going to explore what your brand is and how you can weaponzse it.

We will conduct our seventh table read this week.  




The Third Draft

Just as the first and second drafts had a specific focus, the third draft also has a focus all of its own. In today’s class, we’re going to be exploring the process of developing a successful third draft, how to complete it as easily and painless as possible and what the key elements to address are.

We will conduct our eighth table read this week.  




 Business plan: What now?

Congratulations, by now you will have completed the third draft of your screenplay or are very close to it. Now the big question is what to do with your one hundred pages of awesomeness now that it’s all completed?

It’s at this stage that you need to put away their writer’s cap and put on their business hat. You’ve just created a screenplay, but what you’ve also done is created a product, and now you need a plan as to what to do with that product.

In this class, we will go into detail about how to put together a business plan for your screenplay which will include the numerous avenues and paths which you can travel down to in order to realise your project.

This will include but is not limited to:

·       Identifying producers

·       Screenplay competitions

·       Going rogue (doing it yourself)

·       Crafting a query letter

Setting goals and expectations




How not to get screwed: the law and you

Know your rights. At some point in the lifecycle of every feature film ever made, the producer engaged the writer via a contract. That contractual relationship should always be mutually beneficial and in this class, we will identify the various types of contracts and agreements that are typically entered into between screenwriter and a producer/production company as well as the five most important clauses to be aware of in a contract.   

We will conduct our tenth table read this week.     




Mid-semester break: 17–28 September




Who are all these people and why do I care about what they have to say? How to take notes without burning the joint down

In filmmaking, everybody has an opinion on your screenplay. From the producer, to the producer’s wife, to the producer’s wife’s intern who got the job not because they’ve just graduated from film school and won a bunch of awards, but because they’re the producer’s wife’s nephew and nothing more.

People are going to have notes but the good thing is you don’t have to take 90% of them. The bad news, that other 10%, you absolutely, positively need to take under consideration. They will be notes given to you by producers, directors, actors, investors, distributors and funding bodies. 

Through a role-playing exercise, in this class we will explore techniques you can implement to maintain your vision for the project as well as serving the needs of your collaborators.

We will conduct our ninth table read this week.  

Assessment 2 Due: Business Plan









There’s no traditional class this week, although Luke will be available from 5:30 to 9:30 to help with any queries or to provide feedback on any of the assignments.

Assessment 3 Due: 3rd Draft Feature Film








Assessment due


2nd July 2018

Explanation of course content and assessment requirements – parameters set for short film scripts.

Experience inventory

Overview – short film examples (iPhone film)

Utilising Smartphone Tech for filming

The role of the writer from script to screen

Schedule in-class presentations

Intro to Smart Phone edit apps.

Assessment #1:Presentations scheduled throughout semester


9th July 2018

Workshopping ideas – thinking within the parameters



16th July 2018

Script to Screen analysis exercise #1 (Screenplay to Screen – what changes, a look at the Director’s Statement)

Script to screen analysis exercise #2 (Mise en Scene: Cinematography, Production Design/Costume)

Script to screen analysis exercise #3 (Sound Design, Editing)

Key creative roles



23rd July 2018

Discussion of storyboards and their purpose

Storyboarding a short script (Director’s Coverage Analysis Exercise)



30th July 2018

Studio #1 - intro to camera, lighting, sound, role of production designer on set

Script Development



6th August 2018

Studio #2 – Directing exercise – Working with Actors

Script Development



13th August 2018

Assessment #1 Presentations

Intro to Editing

Script development

Assessment Task #2:Storyboard/Director’s Statement (due in-class)


20th August 2018

Assessment #1 Presentations

Pre-Production Week #1

Script development

Script Table reads



27th August 2018

Assessment #1 Presentations

Pre-production Week #2

Marking up a script

Assessment #1: All presentations due to have been completed by this date.


3rdSeptember 2018

Film Shoots Week #1



10thSeptember 2018

Film Shoots Week #2




Mid semester break – 17 – 28 September



1st October 2018

Film Shoots Week #3



8th October 2018

Editing/Viewing of rushes

(looking at editing using iPhones)

Assessment #3: Short film shoots due to have been completed by 18thOctober 2018.


15th October 2018

Editing #2




22nd October 2018

Reflection on Film shoots and learning

Screening of short films

Assessment #4:Production reports due (in-class)


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

For Story To Screen, you'll require access to a Smartphone. All other resources to be supplied in class.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is on going throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in practical projects, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all of the following pieces of assessment (refer to Canvas for assessment criteria). 


Feature Film

Assessment task #1: Beat Sheet (Due Week 6; 9 August)

A 5-10 Page Beat Sheet for the proposed draft, including the changes you wish to implement.


Assessment task #2: Business Plan (Due Week 12; 4 October)

Your business plan must be a comprehensive document that is specific to your individual project.


Assessment task #3: Draft Feature Film (Due Week 14; 18 October)

 A full draft feature film screenplay with a minimum of 85 pages and a maximum of 120. Although the entire feature film needs to be delivered, only the first thirty pages will be assessed.


Story to Screen

Assessment task #1: In-Class Presentations (Due Week 9; 29 August)

Organize and present a 5-10min presentation to class on a creative film industry professional in a key production role.


Assessment task #2: Storyboard/Shotlist/Director's Statement (Due Week 7; 13 August)

In your role as director you must each create a storyboard and director’s statement for the short film script you are directing.


Assessment task #3: Short Film (Due Week 13; 8 October)

You will collaborate effectively with all other members of the creative team in the creation and realization of a script into the production (filming) of a short film.


Assessment task #4: Production Paperwork/Reflection (Due Week 15; 22 October) 

You will be required to submit the following paperwork for each key creative role:

Director: A brief reflection (300 - 400 words) on your learning throughout the process and on how effectively you feel you realized your vision. Please include in this reflection a statement about your collaboration with your key creatives and how effectively you feel you all worked towards creating your specific vision for the film.

Writer: Synopsis, scene breakdown, and final draft of the short film script with at least 1 page of written notes from feedback and suggestions given and, a brief reflection (300 – 400 words) of main challenges in re-drafting and how the script changed to encompass filming parameters and your director’s vision. Include in this reflection a statement about your collaboration with your key creatives and how effectively you feel you all worked towards bringing the script to life. (Scripts to be sent correctly formatted in PDF)

Assessment Submission

See individual assessment requirements on Canvas.


Once you have demonstrated competency in each assessment task, your overall work across the semester will be graded.

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

For further information on the assessment and grading criteria, please refer to the course Canvas site.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. This is available through the course contact in Program Administration (see above).

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters.

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises. It is strongly advised that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

Assessment Feedback
You will receive spoken and written feedback on all your work. Where relevant, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy designed to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to Assessment (eg. applying for an extension of time): 
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning
Credit transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview