Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Screenwriting

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: COMM5411

Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Screenwriting

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5181 - Diploma of 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.willims@rmit.edu.au


Nominal Hours: 85

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

Enrolment into this course at RMIT requires the completion of Produce Writing - Screenwriting

At RMIT Refine Writing and Editing – Screenwriting is delivered and assessed along with the following competencies.
CUVCOR04A - Originate concept for own work and conduct critical discourse
CUVCOR13A - Research and critically analyse history and theory to inform artistic practice
CUECOR01B - Manage own work and learning
CUSADM03A - Manage a project
CUVDES05A - Interpret and respond to a brief
CUSRAD02A - Conduct Research


Through the development of these competencies, you gain the skills needed to manage your work and learning while responding to a project brief. You research the work of other writers and apply your findings to your own projects through the development of a concept into a written work.

Course Description

This unit covers the knowledge and skills required to research and experiment with writing and editing techniques to write for the screen.  It develops the skills used in film and television writing and examines storytelling methods and techniques used to engage audience emotions.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP553 Refine writing and editing techniques - Screenwriting

Element:

1. Inform work through experimentation with writing techniques and media   

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The potential for new approaches to writing based on the capabilities of techniques already used are evaluated
1.2 New techniques are selected, adapted and introduced for the achievement of different effects
1.3 The capabilities of writing techniques are extended through experimentation to inform practice
1.4 Relevant ideas and approaches from other practitioners are researched, adapted and used with consideration of intellectual property, moral rights and copyright requirements

Element:

2. Develop and refine conceptual vision for writings

Performance Criteria:

2.1 A conceptual vision for writings are developed based on a knowledge and understanding of different writing techniques
2.2 The criteria for selecting techniques are considered based on results of experimentation
2.3 The criteria which are most likely to facilitate the achievement of the conceptual vision are established
2.4 The approach to work which meets established criteria is selected
2.5 The conceptual vision is refined based on on-going experimentation and analysis of writing techniques

Element:

3. Determine and organise resource requirements for work

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The specific resource requirements which arise from the use of techniques and experimental approaches are assessed
3.2 Potential sources of supply of writing resources are researched and accessed
3.3 Constraints that may impact on the development of work are evaluated

Element:

4. Plan the writing

Performance Criteria:

4.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work and to meet agreed timelines
4.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence of scenes
4.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
4.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined

Element:

5. Realise writings                              

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Writings are realised using techniques and media selected from research and experimentation to meet the conceptual vision
5.2 The potential for changes in the use of techniques are evaluated and responded to
5.3 The conceptual vision is refined based on on-going experiences with the production of writings
5.4 Issues of design and presentation of writings are considered and appropriate actions taken


Learning Outcomes


On successful completion of this course, you will be be able to use storytelling methods and techniques  to develop a concept into a piece of writing  suitable for the screen.                   
                     


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 screenplays

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 <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />content               
      Assessment Due                         
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />Competency and Elements                                               <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

  Week 1

Introduction to adaptation, material sources, general techniques.
Adapting novels, identifying methods.

 CUSADM03A: 2             
VBP553: 3
CUVDES05A: 1
CUVCOR04A: 1
CUECOR01B: 1
CUSRAD02A: 2

  Week 2

Adapting short stories, plays and musicals. Identifying methods.
 Assignment 1 delivered throughout 1st semesterCUVCOR04A: 2
VBP553: 4
CUSRAD02A: 2
   Week 3 Progress reports on work/workshop
Non-fiction – different sources, methods
 CUVCOR13A: 1
CUSADM03A: 3
VBP553: 4
CUSRAD02A: 3

  Week 4Completion of non-fiction.
How to create marketing synopsis, adaptation notes
.
 VBP553: 3
  Week 5Cartoon characters, franchises, fairy tales, songs and poetry
Legal aspects involved with adaptation
 VBP553: 3
 Week 6Acquiring rights/options, public domain, legal aspects continued.
CUSRAD02A: 4
 Week 7Workshop synopsis, character notes and adaptation notes Workshop Assignment 3VBP553: 5
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3
CUVDES05A: 3
CUVCOR04A: 3
 Week 8Creating scene breakdowns
Guest speaker
 VBP553: 2 

Week 9
Tutorials. Discuss progress with treatments VBP553: 2
Apr  5-11MID-SEMESTER/EASTER BREAK  

 Week 9

Scene transitions, manipulating screen time, discuss progress on treatments SUBMIT Assignment 3
VBP553: 1

Week 10
Discuss treatments
Character needs
  VBP553: 4
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 2
CUVDES05A: 4
Apr 26        
2nd Act Story VBP553: 1
May 3          
Workshop treatments
 Workshop Assignment 4VBP553: 5
CUVCOR04A: 4
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3


Week 13
Workshop treatments Workshop Assignment 4VBP553: 5
CUVCOR04A: 4
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3

Week 14
Workshop treatments. Workshop Assignment 4VBP553: 5
CUVCOR04A: 4
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3

Week 15
Different ways to begin screen stories
SUBMIT Assignment 4
VBP553: 1
CUVDES05A: 5
Week 16Student choice adaptation scenes  VBP553: 1
CUVDES05A: 5

Week 17

Assessment Week - no classes
  
2ND SEMESTER   

Week 1
Review 3-act structure, action points (major ones & everyday ones). Their use in film/tv Assignment 2 delivered throughout semester 2VBP553: 4

Week 2
Screen stories which have no obvious 3-act structure, character-centred screen story
 VBP553: 2

Week 3
Screen stories which have no obvious 3-act structure, character-centred screen story VBP553: 2

Week 4
Writing for television – series and serials VBP553: 3
CUVDES05A: 4

Week 5
Workshop script material – 10 pages Guest speakerSUBMIT Assignment 5 for photocopying VBP553: 5
CUECOR01B: 3
CUSADM03A: 4


Week 6
Workshop script material Workshop Assignment 5VBP553: 5
CUVCOR04A: 3
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3


Week 7
Workshop script material VBP553: 5
CUVCOR04A: 4
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3

Week 8
Myths and symbols in screenwriting VPB553: 1
CUSRAD02A: 3



Week 9
Myths and symbols in screenwriting
Genre – in-depth look at motifs
 VPB553: 1
CUSRAD02A: 3


Week 10
Myths and symbols in screenwriting
Genre – in-depth look at motifs
 VPB553: 1
CUSRAD02A: 3


Week 11
Genre VBP553: 1

Week 12
Genre VBP553: 1
 Sep 24 - Oct 5Mid Semester Break  

Week 13
Workshop 30 pages screenplay WORKSHOP Assignment 6VBP553: 5
CUVCOR13A: 3
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3

Week 14
Workshop 30 pages screenplay WORKSHOP Assignment 6<style type="text/css"> @font-face { font-family: "Times"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }@font-face { font-family: "Calibri"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }</style>VBP553: 5
CUVCOR13A: 3
CUSADM03A: 4
CUECOR01B: 3

Week 15
Script editing and script assessment SUBMIT Assignment 6 for markingVBP553: 5
CUSADM03A: 3
CUVDES05A: 3

Week 16
Student choice of favourite scenes – either adaptation or original creations CUSRAD02A: 4

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 are also expected to view films and tv programs in their own time.

Books, plays, films to be examined in adaptation in 1st semester are:

•Chocolat, novel by Joanne Harris, plus film of same name
•The Quiet American, novel by Graham Greene, plus film of same name directed by Phil Noyce
•Chicago, play by Maureen Watkins, plus film of same name
•Les Liaisons Dangereuses, play by Christopher Hampton and film Dangerous Liaisons (with Glenn Close and John Malkovitch)
•Elizabeth I, any history on Queen Elizabeth I of England, plus film Elizabeth (NOT Elizabeth and the Golden Age starring Cate Blanchett)
•Battle of Stalingrad in 2nd World War (any history), plus film Enemy At the Gates
•Cuba missile crisis in 1962 (any history), plus film Thirteen Days
•In the Name of the Father, film which was adapted from autobiography, Proved Innocent by Gerard Conlon
•Familiarity with the usual blockbuster franchises: adaptations from authors like Ian Fleming (James Bond), comic books/strips like Batman, Spiderman, etc.
•Student to research one or two films of their choice that have been adapted from a short story.

<style type="text/css">@font-face { font-family: "Times"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }@font-face { font-family: "Calibri"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }</style> If students have difficulty in tracking down any of the above texts, please discuss with teacher.


References

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


Other Resources

You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises and workshopping and through class presentations and written assignments.                     


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 or tv review/presentation (5%)
Class presentation of approximately 20 minutes (including screening a few scenes) of your favourite screen adaptation Comparisons with source material.
Due date: Throughout 1st semester as agreed with teacher

2. Film or tv review/presentation (5%)
Class presentation approximately 20 minutes (including screening a few scenes) of a film or tv program similar to your own script.
Due date: Throughout 2nd semester as agreed with teacher

3. Write story and marketing synopses, character notes and adaptation notes (10%)
1-page story synopsis (single-line spacing, 12 point),
marketing synopsis,
character notes of 250 words each for 2 main characters in your adaptation, taking into account psychological profile, needs, etc.
1-2 pages of notes on your adaptation, including notes on why you have chosen this story and what methods of adaptation you will use,
Workshopping.
Due dates: Workshop: Week 7 (Mar 22);  To teacher for marking:  Week 9 (Apr 12), 1st sem.


4. Write 10 – 15 page treatment (entire story) in 1.5 or double-line spacing of adaptation (25%)
Due dates: Workshop: Week 12 (May 3);   To teacher for marking: Week15 (May 24).


5. 10 pages of screenplay for workshop (20%)
This can be from the 1st 30 pages of your adaptation from 1st semester, or 30 new pages from existing script written in Produce Writings – Screenwriting, or the 1st 30 pages of an entirely new screenplay.  Script pages will be workshopped with class as a whole.
Due dates: Submit for photocopying:  Week 5 (Aug 2);  Workshopping commences:  Week 6 (Aug 9).

6. 30 pages of screenplay (35%)
This can include 1st 30 pages of your adaptation from 1st semester or 30 new pages from existing script written in Produce Writings – Screenwriting, or the 1st 30 pages of an entirely new screenplay.  Workshop in small groups
Due dates:  Workshop: Week 14 (Oct 18);  To teacher for marking:  Week 15 (Oct 25)


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

Feedback:
You will receive spoken and/or written feedback on your work

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

Late Submissions
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Please refer to the course blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

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