Course Title: Work as an independent screenwriter

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2011

Course Code: COMM5919

Course Title: Work as an independent screenwriter

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6088 - Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting

Course Contact : Program administration

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: John Reeves
Tel: 9925 4895
Email: john.reeves@rmit.edu.au

Nominal Hours: 70

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

At RMIT Work as an independent screenwriter COMM5919 is delivered and assessed along with Articulate, present and debate ideas COMM5915C

Course Description

Work as an independent screenwriter delivers the skills and knowledge required for building your career as a screenwriter. It introduces you to career planning, business and taxation requirements, cash flow, time management and networking within all aspects of the industry. You will focus on the creative ways in which you and your ideas can be presented to the marketplace and the wider audience in order to provoke, inform and entertain.
Work as an independent screenwriter COMM5919 is delivered and assessed along with Articulate, present and debate ideas COMM5915C, which introduces you to the communication skills you need as a freelance writer to promote your work and pitch your ideas. Together these units form the course, Working in the Industry B.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU305 Work as an independent screenwriter

Element:

1. Develop career plan.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Personal strengths and weaknesses are identified
1.2 Opportunities and threats within the industry are identified
1.3 Short and long term goals are defined
1.4 Study or experience required to meet industry standard is determined
1.5 Paths to employment or project development are clarified
1.6 Folio of past and present projects is created and maintained

Element:

2. Prepare funding applications.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Sources of development funding are identified and matched to project requirements
2.2 Application formats and requirements are sourced and clarified
2.3 Industry experience is clearly documented
2.4 Project parameters are succinctly outlined
2.5 Timely application is submitted in appropriate format
2.6 Progress of application is monitored and feedback sought when appropriate

Element:

3. Manage time and resources.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Schedules, with due dates for deliverables, are established
3.2 Resources necessary to achieve deliverables are clarified
3.3 Resources and time are prioritised
3.4 Additional resources are sought where necessary
3.5 Extensions are negotiated where necessary, and in advance of deadline

Element:

4. Meet legal obligations necessary to business.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Business entity is established with appropriate regulatory bodies as necessary
4.2 Insurance cover is obtained and liabilities clarified
4.3 Business and taxation reporting requirements are met
4.4 Copyright clearance is obtained where necessary
4.5 Legal advice is sought when necessary

Element:

5. Develop networks.

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Production and distribution companies, funding bodies and professional associations are identified
5.2 Developments in the industry are monitored
5.3 Funding opportunities are researched
5.4 Industry contacts are established and maintained


Learning Outcomes


N/A On successful completion of this unit, you will be familiar with the skills and knowledge required to plan and manage your career as a screenwriter.


Details of Learning Activities

In this course, you learn through:
1. In-class activities:
• lectures
• industry speakers
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• class exercises to review discussions/lectures
• analysis/critique of students’ writings

2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent project based work
• writing and reading assignments
• online and other research
• independent study

In the course Working in the Industry B, you will be working independently on building your own career plan. This will involve a great deal of background work: interviewing people working in different areas of the industry, looking at the industry in Australia and internationally, analysing trends, reading current literature and researching different career paths. You will be expected to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week working on this project and to bring your findings regularly to class to discuss with your teacher and your peers.


Teaching Schedule

Week

Content

Assessment due

Competency and Elements
1Introduction. Overview of course and discussion of course content.
Planning a career in the Screenwriting industry.

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.

2The Pool – intensive planning in breakout groups

Discussion of Assignment #1: Your Pool entry

MIFF film reviews: groups
 VPAU304
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

3The Business of Pitching

Guest: Leisl Egan

Discussion
Speed Pitching – breakout groups
Feedback
Your chance to pitch

 VPAU304
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

4  Students working on pool page and slate

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

5Delivery of draft pool page and slate

Discussion of Assignment #2: Your Career Plan

MIFF Film reviews (part Assignment #3)

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Debate and discuss ideas.

6Making It Pay (part 1): how to finance and sustain a career as an independent screenwriter/filmmaker

Guest: TBA

 VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Manage time and resources.
- Meet legal obligations necessary to business.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

7Contracts and industrial clout: AWG

Tim Wu

Review: Assignment #1: Your Pool entry

 VPAU304
- Develop networks.

8Making It Pay (part 2): The financial side of a career as an independent screenwriter/filmmaker (including career planning and securing development funding)

Guest Lecturer: TBA




 VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.

9Open Slate (part Assignment #3)

Recent alumni: advice from the front

Guests:

Assignment #1: Your Pool entry: fine tuning


 BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

10Choosing your electives next year/insight from industry professionals:

Documentary: Brian McKenzie
Comedy: Tim Ferguson
Adaptations: John Stephens
Cross-media: Keren Flavell

Finding the Work: agents and managers

Guest: TBA

Assignment #1: Your Pool entry due


Assessment 1 due
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.

11Best Foot Forward: Presenting yourself

Guest: TBA
 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Prepare funding applications.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

12Final Review: Assignment #2: Your Career Plan

Assignment #4: Your Pitch: fine tuning



 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Develop networks.

13Assignment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day 1)
 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Develop networks.

14Assignment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day 2)

Assignment #2:Your Career Plan
now due



Assessment 2 due


VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

15Working on pitches
 VPAU304
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.


16Pitching - the wrap-up

 VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.

17Assessment Week - no classes
  


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Any prescribed reading material will be distributed in class


References

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


Other Resources

You will require access to a computer and to the internet


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is on going throughout the semester. Assessment tasks include participation in a debate, in class exercises and the completion of 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.

Assessment 1. Your Pool Entry
Due date: Week 10: September 9
Percentage Weighting: 20%
Design your own entry for The Pool website, including photo, contact details, project slate and other information as decided, and submit it both as hard copy and in an electronic format.

Assessment 2. Career Plan
Due date: <style type="text/css"> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Arial; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Arial; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Tahoma; panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-520082689 -1073717157 41 0 66047 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Arial; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} @page WordSection1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} -->Week 14: Friday October 15</style>Week 14: Friday October 15
Percentage Weighting: 30%
Write a strategic plan of 1500 – 2000 words identifying your major goals, and steps for achieving them over a 3-8 year period. Include:
• Long term goals
• Shorter term objectives
• Analysis of the current industrial and professional environment and relevant opportunities and threats in the local and international screen industries
• Analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses, personality type and values
• Target organisations or projects for funding, production or employment
• Include strategies for non-core employment to complete the career jigsaw
• Identify training or resources required to pursue career goals and particular objectives e.g. business and financial plan, training, professional development, networks, teams and collaboration, work environment
• Strategies for managing your professional life, including developing projects, maintaining focus and dealing with setbacks and rejection
• Overall Timeline

Assessment 3. Debate
Due date: As scheduled with teacher throughout the semester
Percentage Weighting: 20%
Your overall contribution to the debate (including film review, participation in preparation and presentation of Open Slate, class involvement)
Includes participation in group review of film, participation in preparation and presentation of group debate, plus general class involvement

Assessment 4. Your Pitch
Due date: As scheduled with teacher in Weeks 13, 14, 15
Percentage Weighting: 30%

After research, drafting and workshopping, present a 3-5 minute pitch for a particular project to industry personnel as if you were seeking to gain their involvement in the project. You will have 3-5 minutes to further discuss the project and field questions.
(Sample funding application to be provided: details TBA)

Your assignments will be graded. Grades used in this unit are as follows:


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 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

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