Course Title: Write a feature screenplay

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2011

Course Code: COMM5924

Course Title: Write a feature screenplay

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: Ian Pringle

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

Delivery of this course at RMIT requires you to have completed all first year courses.

Course Description

This course delivers the skills and knowledge required to work on a first draft of of a feature screenplay. Working in a supportive and critical environment you will develop your draft to the next stage. 

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU309 Write a feature screenplay


1. Prepare to write script.

Performance Criteria:



2. Write a synopsis.

Performance Criteria:



3. Develop an extended treatment.

Performance Criteria:



4. Create a first draft.

Performance Criteria:



5. Revise draft.

Performance Criteria:


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to write and review/edit a screenplay, using a comprehensive knowledge of the screenwriting craft.

Details of Learning Activities

You learn through:
1. In-class activities:
teacher directed group activities/projects
peer teaching
group discussion
class exercises to review discussions
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


Write a Feature Screenplay is broken into 6 distinct phases: Phase 1 to 4 will take up Semester One and Phases 5 to 8, Semester Two.

Semester 1:

Phase 1 - Synopses of students’ own film scripts. One line, one paragraph, one page (Assign #1) These are presented in class in order to give students an opportunity to decide which scripts they want to read by way of deciding on an editing partner for the course. (VPAU309 - Element 2)

Phase 2 - Revision on script editing. Examples and practice of the editing protocol to be used in this course. Students will be taken through the editing of a feature. Students do breakdowns, analysis and preparation of editing notes on an Australian feature. (Assign #2. ) (VPAU309 - Element 1)

Phase 3 - Students choose a partner and prepare breakdowns on each other’s personal scripts. They prepare a script editor’s report on the draft, detailing areas for improvement, sketching out plans for the next draft. (Assign #3.) These are exchanged between partners, discussed and a final set of notes for the revision prepared.
The notes and plans for the new draft are discussed in individual sessions with the lecturer. (VPAU309 - Element 1)

Phase 4 - Preparation of treatment for new draft  breakdowns on each other’s personal scripts. They prepare a script editor’s report on the draft, detailing areas for improvement, sketching out plans for the next draft. (Assign #4.) (VPAU309 - Element 3)

Semester 2:

Phase 5 - Four initial classes consist of one hour presentations by editing teams of the scripts and new treatments they have worked on in first semester. First 30 pages of script due in week 8. (VPAU309 - Element 3)

Phase 6 - Working on script with editing partner Class exercises designed to help you develop your script.  Two to one sessions: Lecturer, writer and editor of each project. (VPAU309 - Element 4)

Phase 7  - Presentation of completed second drafts. (Major Assignment #5) Due in Week #14 (VPAU309 - Element 5)

Phase 8 - Discussion and review of changes made and rewriting of synopsis. (VPAU309 - Element 5)

Editing sessions. Students must book in their editing sessions with the lecturer. Editing sessions will take place in the classroom setting but with only the writer, the editor and the lecturer present. Bookings are for one hour sessions, but the same two students might switch editor-writer roles in the second hour of their booking.

However, students may choose not to deal with both scripts back to back in two sessions. When making bookings specify in advance which project is going to be worked on in the session.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

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


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

Other Resources

You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course. You will also need access to Final Draft or equivalent software

Overview of Assessment

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

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.

Overview of assessment:

You will be assessed on your ability to develop a feature screenplay through consultation and re-drafting. You will contribute to screenwriting critique sessions and an ongoing assessment of film knowledge and use of learned techniques.

1. Breakdown and analysis of feature film script for editing. Due week beginning April 18 (15%)

2. Breakdown of partner’s script and script editor’s report  Due week beginning June 6 (15%)

3.Second draft treatment (10%)

4.Second draft of a feature film script Due week beginning October 17 (60%)

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

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

Late Submissions
Please refer to the course blackboard site for policy information  on late submissions and plagiarism

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