Course Title: Work as an independent screenwriter

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2012

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
1

Overview of course and discussion of course content
Planning a career in the Screenwriting industry
Rejection - 3 methods for coping

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
 
2

 

The Entrepreneur is You

Guest: TBC

The Pool – the website, the publication, the party - preliminary planning in breakout groups
 

Discussion of Assessment #1: Your Pool entry
 

 VPAU304
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
3

Pitching yourself and your work via social media

Guest: TBC

Discussion
Speed Pitching – breakout groups
Feedback
Your chance to pitch

Review/fine tuning: Assessment #1: Your Pool Page

MIFF film reviews: groups formed

 VPAU304
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
4

The Pool - further planning in breakout groups

Introduction to Assessment #2: Your Career Plan

The Back-up Plan: an exercise

Career Track and personal slate

Assessment #1 due: Your Pool PageVPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
5


In the field: The Back-up Plan

Students working on alternatives to their chosen pathways

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
6Part Of The Union: Contracts and industrial clout, with the Australian Writers’ Guild

Guests: TBC

The Back-up Plan: reports (part Assessment #3)

 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.
 
7

 

Making Hay (part #1): The financial side of a career as an independent screenwriter/filmmaker (including career planning and securing development funding)

Guest: TBC

MIFF Film reviews (part Assessment #3)

 

 VPAU304
- Develop networks.
 
8



Tell Me About It: Open Slate (part Assessment #3)

Pitching practice

MIFF Film reviews (part Assessment #3)


 

 VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Manage time and resources.
- Develop networks.
 
9

Advice from the Front: recent alumni

Guests: TBC

The Pool: making it happen

 BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
10

 

Choosing your electives next year/insight from industry professionals:

Finding the Work: agents and managers

Guests: TBC


 

 BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
 
11

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

Guests: TBC

Final Review: Assessment #2: Your Career Plan

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Prepare funding applications.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
12


Discussion of Assessment #4: Your Pitch

Group practice

Random Pitches: an exercise

 

Assessment #2 due: Your Career PlanVPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Develop networks.
 
13

 

Performing Your Pitch: fine tuning

Guest: TBC

The Pool: final planning

 

 VPAU304
- Develop career plan.
- Develop networks.
 
14Assessment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day #1)Assessment #4 due: Your Pitch
 
VPAU304
- Prepare funding applications.
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
- Provoke response and reaction.
- Debate and discuss ideas.
 
15Assessment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day #2)Assessment #4 due: Your Pitch
 

VPAU304
- Develop networks.
BSBCRT401A
- Analyse ideas for communication to others.
16

Pitching - the wrap-up 

Final Review
 

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


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

The unit Work as an independent screenwriter is assessed together with Articulate, debate and present ideas. 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 Page
Due date: Week 4 (July 27)
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
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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. Open Slate
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 exercise involvement)
 

Assessment 4. Your Pitch
Due date: As scheduled with teacher in Weeks 14 & 15 (Oct 19/26)
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.

 

Your assessments 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. This is available through the course contact in Program Administration

Other Information

Submission of Assessment Tasks
You are required to submit all written 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 program blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

Feedback
You will receive both oral 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 in a manner 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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview