Course Title: Produce Writings - Screenwriting

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: COMM5404

Course Title: Produce Writings - Screenwriting

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4171 - Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact : Brendan Lee

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact Email:Brendan.lee@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Roz Williams
Phone: 9925 4974
Email: roz.williams@rmit.edu.au


Nominal Hours: 105

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

At RMIT, the competency Produce Writings – Screenwriting VBP552 is delivered and assessed in conjunction with the following competencies:

CUSRAD01A Collect and organise information;
CUVCOR11A Source information on history and theory and apply to own area of work;
CUVCOR03A Develop, refine and communicate concept for own work

Course Description

This course is an introduction to Screenwriting where you explore the various components of film and television writing.  You identify what distinguishes this writing form from other art forms and experiment with writing and editing techniques in order to write a work for the screen.



National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP552 Produce Writings - Screenwriting

Element:

Analyse the purpose of the writing task

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The purpose of the work is confirmed with relevant parties
1.2 The form, media and technique most appropriate to the purpose of the writing task is selected
1.3 The stylistic and cultural context of the writing task is proposed to meet the writing objective

Element:

Create the writing task

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The level and scope of the writing task is analysed to determine the length and style of the work.
2.2 The level of research required to fulfil the agreed outcome to the required style and standard is analysed
2.3 The resources necessary to retrieve or generate the relevant information is determined
2.4 The type and level of information required to suit the context of the writing task is planned

Element:

Investigate the scope of the writing task

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work
3.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence
3.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
3.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined

Element:

Plan the writing task

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Components of the information required and the form in which the writing will be developed, constructed, presented
4.2 The intention of the writing task and the characteristics of the audience are reflected in the writing
4.3 Appropriate processes and research are utilised to retrieve the necessary information
4.4 The particular characteristics of the media are analysed to inform the writing in a way that is appropriate for the purpose of the writing
4.5 Relevant information sources are employed to generate and inform the writing task
4.6 Common literary devices and the metaphoric function of language are integrated into the writing task
4.7 Writing task is produced in accordance with writing goals

Element:

Realise the writing task 

Performance Criteria:

5.1 The writing task is appropriate for the media, the context of the brief and the style of the subject matter
5.2 The language in which the writing task is written is suitable for the intended audience
5.3 The writing task is proofed and edited to the standard required for presentation
5.4 A draft is presented, if required, to the client to confirm that the work is acceptable
5.5 Work is adjusted as required and presented in the agreed manner and timeframe


Learning Outcomes



On successful completion of this unit, you will have gained insight into the theory and practice of screenwriting. Through research and practice you will be able to develop an initial concept into a written work.

 


Details of Learning Activities

In this course, you will learn through -
in class activities:
• lectures
• guest lecturers
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• workshopping
• independent project based work
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• class exercises to review discussions/lectures
• workshopping of students’ own projects
• analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

out-of-class activities:
• online research
• reading of scripts to provide examples of writing elements
• viewing films, television, on-line drama.


Teaching Schedule

Week Starting
Class content Elements

Week 1


Introduction, differences between screenwriting and other forms of writing. Getting ideas. Assignment 1 - presentation to be delivered throughout Sem. 1CUSRAD01A: 1
VBP552: 1
CUCVOR03A: 1

Week 2


The main/basic story. Plot and subplot – differences between film and tv. Story synopsis. Marketing synopsis. Loglines.
Film reviews (presentations) throughout semester.
Script reading throughout semester – report back to class.
 VBP552: 2

Week 3


Classic (3-act) narrative structure. 1st & 2nd turning points. Mid Point. Climax. Denouement. CUSRAD01A:2
CUVCOR11A: 1
VBP552: 3

Week 4


Workshop draft story synopsis. Workshop     Assignment 3CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 5


Workshop draft story synopsis Workshop Assignment 3CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 6


Exposition. Narrative techniques of foreshadowing and planting information.Submit Assignment 3 for markingVBP552: 2

Week 7


Creating screen characters. Motivation, character arcs. The treatment (aka story outline) VBP552: 2

Week 8


Tutorials with teacher CUVCOR03A: 3
VBP552: 1

Week 9

 

Character functions. Creating character biographies and notes – difference between the two. VBP552: 2

Week 9

Apr 5 - 11

MID SEMESTER/EASTER BREAK  

Week 10


Workshop character biographies Workshop assignment 4CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 11


ANZAC DAY - PUBLIC HOLIDAY  

Week 12


Discuss treatments. Guest speaker.Submit Assignment 4 for markingCUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 2

Week 13


Basic genre. Point of view. Theme. More discussion/workshop on treatments. CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 2

Week 14

 

Workshop treatments Workshop Assignment 5 for workshopCUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 15


Workshop treatments. CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 16


Student scene choices/screeningsSubmit Assignment 5 for markingVBP552: 5

Week 17


Assessment Week - no classes
  
2ND SEMESTER   

Week 1


Introduction to screen (sync) dialogue. Assignment 2 Presentation to be delivered throughout Sem. 2CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 1
VBP552: 2

Week 2


Writing screen dialogue – differences between real and screen dialogue.
Television review/presentations throughout semester. Read film/tv scripts and report back to class
 CUSRAD01A
CUVCOR11A
CUVCOR03A
VBP552: 1-3

Week 3


Subtext. Other uses of dialogue (other than sync). VBP552: 2

Week 4

 

Screen language. Script formatting. VBP552: 2

Week 5


Writing stage directions. VBP552: 2

Week 6


Creating scenes. Scene structure and pacing. Students to commence blocking out 1st two pages of their scripts from their treatments VBP552: 4
CUSRAD01A: 3
CUVCOR11A: 2

Week 7


More on writing scenes. Guest speaker.Submit  Assignment 6 for photocopyingVBP552: 4

Week 8


Workshop 1st 10 pages of script. Workshop Assignment 6 commencesCUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 9


Workshop scripts Workshop Assignment 6CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 10


Workshop scripts Workshop Assignment 6CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 12


Scene functions CUSRAD01A: 2
VBP552: 3
Sept 24 -  Oct 5MID SEMESTER BREAK  

Week 13


Workshop 2nd 10 pages of script in small groups Workshop Assignment 7CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 14


Workshop Workshop Assignment 7CUSRAD01A: 4
CUVCOR11A: 2
CUVCOR03A: 2
VBP552: 4

Week 15


Non-fiction screenwritingSubmit Assignment 7 for markingVBP552: 2,3

Week 16


Working in the industry CUVCOR11A: 1

Week 17


Assessment Week - no classes
  


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Students will be expected to make full use of the Carlton library in accessing scripts and will also be expected to view films and tv programs in their own time.
There are no set texts for this course. The following is a recommended reading list:

• Screenwriting Updated, by Linda Aronson, pub. 2000, Allen & Unwin
• Story, by Robert McKee, pub. 1999, Methuen
• Television Writing: The Ground Rules of Series, Serials & Sitcom, by Linda Aronson, pub. 2000, AFTRS
• Big Screen Small Screen, by Coral Drouyn, pub. 1994, Allen & Unwin
• Making a Good Script Great, by Linda Seger, pub. 1987 Dodd, Mead & Co., Hollywood
• Writing the Short Film, by Pat Cooper an Ken Dancyger pub. 1994, Focal Press
• Screenwriting – A Manual, by Jonathan Dawson, pub. 2000 Oxford University Press
• The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters, by C. Vogler, pub. 1991, Michael Weise Productions
• The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, pub. 1993, Fontana Press*
• Elements of Style for Screenwriters by Paul Argentini, pub. 1998, Lone Eagle Publishing Co.
• Writing Your Screenplay, by Lisa Dethridge, pub. 2003, Allen & Unwin

(*highly recommended for storytelling purposes rather than for screenwriting)


References

You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information.


Other Resources

You require access to the internet for this course


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of skills and insights learned from the course content to your writing tasks.


Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

For further information on the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.


ASSESSMENT TASKS

1. Film review/presentation (5%)
Class presentation (minimum 300 words) of film currently in release or re-release at cinema followed by class discussion.
Due date: To be agreed with teacher throughout 1st semester

2. TV review/presentation (5%)
Class presentation of tv program (including screening of selected scenes) – this can be of program currently on free-to-air or cable tv or on released dvd/video, followed by class discussion. Dur of presentation 15 mins
Due date: Throughout 2nd semester

3. Write story synopsis incorporating 3-act structure for screen story of 20 mins duration or longer (10%)
1-page story synopsis (single-line spacing, 12 point), including workshopping.
Due dates: Workshop: Wk 4 (Feb 29);  To teacher for marking: Wk 6 (Mar 14)

4. Character biographies from story synopsis (5%)
2 character biographies of 250 words (minimum), each including workshopping.
Due dates: Workshop: Wk 10 Apr 18);  To teacher for marking: Wk 12 (May 2) 

5. Treatment/story outline developed from story synopsis (25%)
Up to 10-page treatment/story outline, set out in 1.5 or double-line spacing, including workshopping. This is for entire story.
Due dates: Workshop: Wk 14 (May 16);  To teacher for marking: Wk 16 (May 30)

6. 1st 10 pages of 1st draft screenplay for workshopping (25%).
1st 10 pages of script from treatment, set out in industry format. Workshopping done with class as a whole.
Due dates:  To teacher for photocopying: Wk 7 (Aug 15);  Workshopping commences: Wk 8 (Aug 22) 

7. 1st 20 pages of screenplay (25%)
Revised 1st 10 pages plus 2nd 10 pages of script, including workshopping (in small groups).
Due dates: Workshop: Wk 13 (Oct 10);  To teacher for marking: Wk 15 (Oct 24).

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

Grades which apply to curriculum-based courses:
80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail


Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are
available through the course contact in Program administration

Other Information

Submission of Assessment Tasks
Submit all assessment tasks in hard copy with a completed School of Media and Communication cover sheet. You are expected to keep a copy of all assignments submitted.

Late Submissions
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension before that due date.
Please refer to the course blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

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

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity is about the honest presentation of your academic work. Presenting work that fails to acknowledge other people’s work within yours can compromise academic integrity. For further information on academic integrity and plagiarism, please refer to the following URL. http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=kkc202lwe1yv


Special Consideration Policy
Please refer to the following URL for information on applying for special consideration:
http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1;



Course Overview: Access Course Overview