Course Title: Assess TV scripts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: COMM5921

Course Title: Assess TV scripts

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6088 - Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting

Course Contact : Brendan Lee

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Ben Michael


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


Course Description

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The unit Assess TV Scripts develops the skills and knowledge required to analyse and assess a TV script. By exploring the various stages of the script process and examining the different elements, you will be able to isolate and identify the flaws and strengths of various scripts. This will enable you to provide feedback to others as well as develop your own work.



National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU306 Assess TV scripts


1. Establish program requirements.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The target audience is clearly identified
1.2 The production requirements and budgetary limitations are clarified
1.3 The genre and format of the script are clearly delineated
1.4 Story and character arcs are clearly established
1.5 Script is tailored to series episode length


2. Assess script elements.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Plot and narrative construction are analysed against conventions of the program
2.2 Style of script is examined for consistency with program style and audience expectations
2.3 Content of script is reviewed for consistency with genre and format
2.4 Characterisations are critiqued against program conventions and audience expectations
2.5 Script is checked for continuity


3. Redress script problems.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Script’s strengths and weaknesses are summarised
3.2 Tasks necessary for re-drafting of script are established
3.3 Appropriate strategies for re-drafting of script are prioritised
3.4 Written analysis is formatted to script department requirements and presented punctually

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to analyse and assess a TV script

Details of Learning Activities

You learn through:
1. In-class activities:
industry speakers
teacher directed group activities/projects
peer teaching and class presentations
group discussion
class exercises to review discussions/lectures
reading of scripts to provide examples of writing elements
workshopping of students’ own projects
analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

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

Teaching Schedule

Teaching schedule
Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

Week starting Class contentAssessment dueElements
Week 1
(7 Feb)
 Intorduction to the course. Explanation of course content and assessment.   1,2,3
Week 2
(14 Feb)
 The Genre of different shows is explored. What are it’s rules and how has the show engaged or subverted these rules.
What is the target audience of the show? Who is it being made for?
What are the production requirements and budget limitations of various shows, from high to low budget and how it affects the scripts.
The Wire. Rome. Entourage.
Week 3
(21 Feb)
 Story and character arcs are looked at in detail using scripts and watching a show that has strong examples of story and character arcs.
Six Feet Under. Deadwood.
Week 4
(28 Feb)
 How are scripts tailored to series episode lengths. The rules of various shows are explored to illustrate the house style of different programs.
Weeds(half hour). The Wire (one hours)
Week 5
(7 March)
 Constructing plot and narrative.
Watch first episode of a show, plot and develop characters for a second episode.
The Sopranos. Nathan Barley
Week 6
(14 March)
 Analyse at a script from an established TV show. Examine it for consistency with program style and audience expectations.
The Sopranos.
Week 7
(21 March)
 Looking at the content of a script for reviewed for consistency with genre and format.   1,2
Week 8
(28 March)
 How to assess a scripts strengths and weaknesses. How to go about redrafting a script to make it better.
Students choose a script from an established program and commence using the skills delivered in the course to re-draft and improve the script.
Week 9
(4 April)
 How to assess a scripts strengths and weaknesses. How to go about redrafting a script to make it better.
Students choose a script from an established program and commence using the skills delivered in the course to re-draft and improve the script.
 Week 10
(11 April)
 Students continue working on scripts with one on one session with teacher during class.  2,3
 Week 11
(18 April)
 Students present their findings in an analysis that is formatted to script department requirements.   3
 Mid- Semester Break 21 - 27 April (inclusive)  
 Week 12
(2 May)
 Writing in different house/show styles. Exercise in writing the same scene in different show styles Assignment 1 due 1
 Week 13
(9 May)
 Dialogue. Look at how different shows use different styles of dialogue to create a house style and “feel” for their show.   1,2
 Week 14
(16 May)
 Students to deliver final assessment, followed by a discussion after each presentation.. 
 Week 15
(23 May)
 Student groups deliver final assessment followed by discussion.  1,2,3
 Week 16
(30 May)
The last of the student groups deliver final assessment.
Course wrap up.
 Week 17
(6 June)
 Assessment and review  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

All course material will be provided in class


Extracts, readings and additional references are provided throughout the course. In addition to hard copy handouts, some readings are made available on Blackboard, and others can be accessed via the web. Recommended books will be discussed in class. You are advised to visit Blackboard for ongoing updated information

Other Resources

Students will require access to a word processing program and the facility to print hard copies of stories for workshopping. These are also available in the Carlton Library

Overview of Assessment

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

Assessment Tasks

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

Assignment 1 - COMPARATIVE SCRIPT ANALYSIS  Due May 5 (50% )
Comparative study: 1000 – 1500 words.
Synopsize, compare, assess and analyse two television scripts from a particular genre in terms of premise, format and narrative structures. Due Week

Assignment 2 - SCRIPT PRESENTATION Due on date to be arranged with teacher (50% )
Working in pairs, choose a TV drama series from a shortlist provided and in dual presentation of approximately 30 minutes, analyse, explore and present on the following:
Intended audience.
Specific format.
Narrative structures and plot techniques.
Major character arcs.
Draw on and present scripted examples from at least five episodes and provide at least five video/DVD segments to illustrate your thesis.                                                  (Mark will be given for the presentation so each student in the pair will receive the same mark)

Grades used in this course are as follows:

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

For further details on these assessment tasks and the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

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

Copyright and Ethics:
This course offers you an opportunity to create your own work, and as a result, generate copyright. Ideas cannot be copyrighted; however, they can be honoured and acknowledged. In this course, you will share ideas constantly. Students are expected to act responsibly and generously in this process. If you wish to adapt another’s idea, seek their permission first.

You will receive spoken and/or written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
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 following URL for extensions and special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1;

Course Overview: Access Course Overview