Course Title: Work with others to develop a script

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2010

Course Code: COMM5923

Course Title: Work with others to develop a script

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

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher contact details:

John Reeves

94.02.06   Ph. 99254895


Cameron Clarke

94.02.06  Ph. 99254908

Nominal Hours: 140

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

First year.

Course Description

This course delivers the skills and knowledge required to work with a creative team in order to develop a film or TV screenplay. The screenplay may have been commisioned or presented as a speculative venture.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU308 Work with others to develop a script


1. Creative team is formed.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 A common vision for the project is developed and agreed upon by the creative team
1.2 An approach to writing is agreed upon
1.3 Roles are clarified and agreed upon
1.4 Fees are negotiated and agreed upon
1.5 Where appropriate, contracts are drawn up and signed


2. The exisiting draft script is analysed for areas needing attention.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The script is examined for problems related to premise, story, structure, theme, character and genre.
2.2 Marketing issues are clarified.
2.3 Agreement on required changes is reached.


3. An approach to rewriting is agreed upon.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 An appropriate methodology is negotiated.
3.2 Changes for next draft are prioritised.
3.3 Clear, workable script notes are written up, a rewriting schedule drawn up and deadlines set.


4. Creative disagreements are resolved effectively.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Disagreements are aired openly and appropriately and effective compromises sought..
4.2 Suitable compromises are found where necessary.


5. Re-write is achieved effectively.

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Re-write incorporates agreed solutions
5.2 Re-write meets deadlines.
5.3 Re-writing process is reviewed by team
5.4 New draft assessed by team
5.5 Next stage of development is agreed upon (external assessment, funding, marketing)

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

• lectures
• demonstrations
• guest lecturers
• peer teaching and class presentations
• exercises
• discussion
• group activities/projects
• workshopping

Course Aims:

The aim of Work With Others To Develop A Script as a course will be two-fold. Firstly, it will afford students the opportunity to develop skills and strategies which will help them work productively with others, particularly in a team environment. Secondly, this course will offer students a space to work on individual projects, and to take those projects, with the help of their colleagues, to the next level.

First Semester:

The first semester will focus on the first aim: to develop skills and strategies when working with others. This will be achieved as students work up a script, from scratch and within groups, to be read by a professional cast at the end of the semester.

The semester will begin with the teacher nominating group members to make up a number (depending on class size) of dedicated groups. Each group will have six members.

As mentioned above, each of these groups will be tasked with writing a screenplay to be read at the end of the semester. The teacher will provide a short list of themes, one of which each group will choose to brainstorm. The finished screenplay will be a portmanteau, made up of six short stories.

Each class will begin with a workshop/exercise in which students will explore in groups different approaches to working with others. The members of these groups will change from week to week, allowing students to experience the different personalities in the class. On occasion, guest speakers will replace these exercises.

Following the exercise/workshop (or guest speaker) students will break into their dedicated groups to work on their portmanteau screenplay.

After brainstorming their ideas, each student will pitch one story to the group for further brainstorming. Within groups, each student will also write a treatment, offer feedback, write a first draft, get more feedback, script edit each others’ work, write a second draft, and write a marketing synopsis for the screenplay as a whole.

The role of Script Producer will be rotated though the group. The Script Producer will have responsibility for making sure the group is organized, that the work gets done, that if needs be, work is photocopied etc. If the teacher is not available from day to day (outside class) the Script Producer will have access to reception personnel who will be able to help with photocopying etc.

Towards the end of the semester performers will be brought in to read the portmanteau screenplays. These performers will give each group a private reading which will be followed by feedback (from the performers) and direction (from the group). The screenplays will then be read to the class as a whole. This process will happen over two weeks.

Second Semester

The second semester will focus on allowing students to take their own (usually) existing individual projects to the next stage.

Students will again be broken into groups but this time the makeup of the groups will be of the student’s choosing. At the start of the semester students will pitch their projects to the class as a whole. Out of this process, groups will be formed.

You will focus on the business of working together as a creative team through intensive analysis of each team member’s project in turn. Re-writing may be aided by the process of table reading and script reading.

You are free to select a project which you would like to develop across the course of the semester. This may be at any stage of development.

Students will work in groups of at least three, and no more than six. A group workplan will be drawn up. You will then present your idea to the group, and decide on what it is you would like to achieve. This will be documented by you in an individual workplan and agreed to by the group and the teacher. This may include time outside class hours.

Teaching Schedule

WEEKCONTENT                                                                                                                                           ELEMENT 
Week 1Introduction 1
Week 2Workshop #1: The business of teamwork and team building 1
Week 3Workshop #2: Approaches to collaborative writing; includes roles, fees, contracts 1
Week 4Workshop #3: Story development: a collaborative approach 1, 2
Week 5Groups formed – choice of themes, initial pitches 1,2
Week 6Working in groups: story conferences 1,2,4
Weeks 7-11Group work/individual writing focussing on development of portmanteau screenplays 2,3,4,5
Week 12Workshop #4: writing for performance. Group readings/ feedback 1,2,3,4,5
Weeks 13-15Group work/individual writing: second draft  2,3,4,5
Weeks 16-17Script readings  2,3,4,5
Semester 2  
Week 1Workshop #5: Analysis and reflections on the development process 1,2,3,4
Week 2Workshop #6: Finding your voice 3,4,5
Week 3Projects pitched, teams formed  1,2
Week 4Groups locked off, projects decided 1,2
Week 5Drafting of projects begins: Group workplans finalized 2,3,4,5
Week 6Individual workplans finalized 2,3,4,5
Week 7Workshop #7: Group readings/ feedback 1,2,3,4,5
Weeks 8-14Group work: each group to work together in assisting individual members towards next stage of their project 2,3,4,5
Weeks 15-16Script readings 1,2,3,4,5
Week 17Final Review 

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on your ability to work effectively with creative partners, consult and accept feedback, critique draft screenplays and successfully revise own work.  You will also be assessed on your knowledge of screentwriting techniques, terminology, formats and production processes.  

Assessment Tasks

  • Writing and delivery of script editing notes, demonstrating insightful and effective analysis of other team members’ contribution to the group project
  • Group project: Presentation of your completed and redrafted group project, together with a co-written Group Report (minimum 500 words), outlining and analysing the group writing process
  • Report (including a work folio) detailing development of your projects and partnerships, and the successful formation and operation of a development team (minimum 1500 words)
  • Your project: Presentation of your completed and redrafted individual project, together with a Writer’s Report (minimum 500 words), outlining and analysing rewriting process

Assessment Matrix

 Script Ed Notes             Presentation: groupReport           Presentation: individual 
ELEMENTS:                         1. Creative team is formedXXX 
2. The existing draft script is analysed for areas needing attentionXXXX
3. An approach to rewriting is agreed upon.XX X
4. Creative disagreements are resolved effectivelyXXXX
5. Re-write is achieved effectively XXX

• Effective team work skills of communication and conflict resolution

• High level script writing and editing skillsXXXX
• Personal time management skills
• Script analysis skills
• Problem solving skills XXXX
• Knowledge of various stages of film or TV feature development
• Knowledge of the roles of other creative persons involved in feature film development XXXX
• Knowledge of funding opportunities and funding processes in TV, film and interactive media XXXX
• Knowledge of production processes XXXX

Other Information

These assessment tasks are designed for you to demonstrate competency in the required skills and knowledge of this unit.

This unit will also be graded. Your teacher will provide a grading guide for you at the commencement of the course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview