Course Title: Introduction to Screenwriting

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2007

Course Code: COMM7113

Course Title: Introduction to Screenwriting

School: 345T Creative Media

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6045 - Advanced Diploma of Arts Professional Screenwriting (Film,Television and Digital Media)

Course Contact : Brendan Lee

Course Contact Phone: 61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Cameron Clarke
9925 4908

Nominal Hours: 68

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


Course Description

This course develops story telling skills for screenwriters through enhancing visual and aural literacy by examination of our cultural heritage. It will familiarise participants with perspective and the tools available to achieve narrative excellence in the visual field.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBM386 Introduction to Screenwriting

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop synopsis, scene breakdown and/or treatment and first draft script using story conferencing techniques
  • Identify visual drama components
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the skills and techniques required to convey the rhythm of the visual narrative and its appropriate disruption
  • Produce scenes conveying the emotional state and development of a character without using dialogue.

      Details of Learning Activities

      1.        Lectures
      2.         Video presentations and discussion
      3.         Wokshopping of students work and critiquing of each others work

      Teaching Schedule

      1.               The screenwriter in the scheme of things

      2.               Creating stories

      3.               Creating characters

      4.               Creating scenes

      5.                Visual forms of storytelling, visual drama components and visual characterization

      6.               Film language

      7.               Screenwriting in a cultural context

      8.               Culture and story

      9.               The 3 act structure

      10.             Synopses and treatments

      11.            Synopses and treatments cont.

      12.            The short film

      13.            The short film cont.

      14.            The short film cont.

      15.            Dialogue

      16.            The storylining conference

      17.            One on ones

      Learning Resources

      Prescribed Texts


      Other Resources

       Suggested reading material will be provided in class by teacher.
      Handouts provided in class by teacher
      Internet access through RMIT Library
      Final Draft program on several computers in RMIT Carlton Library and Main Library
      Publications & dvds/videos through RMIT Library, community libraries, video libraries and other sources

      Overview of Assessment

      Assessment for this course includes:

      • Presentation of storyboard
      • Class presentation on selected screenplay
      • Treatment for 30’ short film
      • In class exercises 

      Assessment Tasks

      Presentation of a storyboard of 30 static images (photos or drawn) that tell a short story.  Visual only - no dialogue or captions.

      Class presentation - discuss the screenplay of one Australian film by examining elements such as structure, characterization, theme etc.

      Through workshopping, develop and write the first draft of a ten minute short film.  Approximately ten to twelve pages of formatted script.


      Through workshopping, develop and write a treatment for a thirty minnute short film.  Approximately three to five pages of prose.  Assignments will be assessed with an eye to story, plot, structure, character, imagery and subtext.

      Participation in class discussion and workshopping (10%)

      Assessment Matrix


      Course Overview: Access Course Overview