Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: COMM5925

Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

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: Graeme Farmer
Phone: 0412 58 94 38

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

Enrolment into this course at RMIT requires the completion of Assess TV Scripts, Collaborate in a Creative Process and Write and Episode of a TV Series.

Course Description

This course aims to develop and enhance the practical skills you need in order to work as a freelance writer on series and serial television.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU310 Create drama series or serial


1. Analyse current market.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Market demographics are delineated.
1.2 Markets for established programs are identified.
1.3 Characteristics of current programs and market trends are classified.
1.4 Program gaps are defined.
1.5 Network program requirements are assessed.


2. Produce series bible.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Audience for proposed series or serial is identified.
2.2 Basic premise of series or serial is established.
2.3 Characters and character arcs are developed.
2.4 Stories are appropriate to genre and format.
2.5 Story arcs for duration of series or serial are outlined.


3. Create pilot episode

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Scene sequences are outlined showing story and character arcs.
3.2 Plot and sub-plot are integrated into a clear narrative line.
3.3 Budget considerations are taken into account.
3.4 Consultation takes place with appropriate industry personnel.
3.5 Script is revised to meet industry or enterprise requirements.


4. Promote series to key industry persons.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Key producers appropriate to project are identified.
4.2 Support for project is obtained from own network.
4.3 Series bible and supporting documents are pitched to appropriate industry personnel.
4.4 Appropriate follow up action is taken following initial pitch.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to analyse trends in serials and series, write scripts appropriate to TV genres, and identify suitable markets

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
• reading of excerpts of writings and set texts 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

Week 1
(7 Feb)
Introduction to creating episodes for an existing series. View part of an episode of a successful, yet long-forgotten series, chosen for its apparent story simplicity. Write one-liners discussing the exact function of each scene. Suggest possibilities for the scenes that are not shown. Plot the remainder of the episode as group. Class to choose a serial drama to begin studying next week. 1
Week 2
(14 Feb)
Introduction to serial drama. Discussion of the history, conventions, enduring popularity and evolution of serial drama in Australia and internationally. Watch an episode of a series chosen by the class last week with a view to identifying the elements behind its success. 1
Week 3
(21 Feb)
Introduction of the serial writers’ ‘box of tricks’. Introduction of professional short cuts and formulae for dynamic character and storyline creation on demand. Watch a second episode of EastEnders with a view to identifying and discussing the ‘box of tricks’ at work. 1,2
Week 4
(28 Feb)
Watch a third episode of the chosen serial drama, followed by a discussion of the characters and storylines in depth. Discuss potential arcs for the characters and storylines for future episodes.  1,2,3
Week 5
(7 March)
Work as a group towards plotting the unseen next episode of the serial drama. 3
Week 6
(14 March)
Public Holiday  
Week 7
(21 March)
Continue working as a group towards plotting the unseen next episode of the serial drama. Set individual assignments for the Mid-Semester Break, to be submitted just prior to the return to class. 3
Week 8
(28 March)
Process assignments with the group as a whole. Each student to make their respective changes to their serial drama assignments and re-submit for assessment by next class. Class to choose contemporary sitcom to study in next week’s class. 3
Week 9
(4 April)
View episode of contemporary sitcom chosen by class. Discuss style, character, story, structure and dialogue in light of all that has been covered so far. Break episode down into its subject matter/satirical elements and A & B storylines. Each student to prepare a potential sitcom storyline for next week. 3
Week 10
(11 April)
Work with the group in exploring all the potential Simpsons/sitcom storylines submitted and then decide on the best two. Begin the process of plotting the storylines into a full episode. 1,3
Week 11
(18 April)
Continue plotting an episode of The Simpsons/sitcom. 3
21/4-27/4mid semester break  
Week 12
(2 May)
Continue plotting an episode of The Simpsons. Allocate individual assignments, to be submitted before next week. 3
Week 13
(9 May)
Process assignments with the class as a whole. Each student to make changes to their respective sitcom assignment for submission for assessment.  3,4
 Week 14
(16 May)
 Writing week for students. Teacher available for individual consultation.  3
 Week 15
(23 May)
Review of submissions.   
 Week 16
(30 May)
 Individual feedback sessions with students.  
 Week 17
(6 June)
 Assessment Week   
 Week 1
(4 July)
 Creation of dramatic world “what if?” concept question, premise & protagonist.  2,3
 Week 2
(11 July)
 Continued creation of dramatic world, “what if?” concept question, premise & protagonist.  2,3
 Week 3
(18 July)
 Continued creation of dramatic world, “what if?” concept question, premise & protagonist. Assignment 1 given.  2,3
 Week 4
(25 July)
 Enhancement of dramatic world, concept, premise and protagonist. Creation of secondary characters.  2,3
 Week 5
(1 Aug)
 Continued enhancement of dramatic world, concept, premise and protagonist. Continued creation of secondary characters.  2,3
 Week 6
(8 Aug)
 Continued enhancement of dramatic world, concept, premise and protagonist. Continued creation of secondary characters. Assignment 2 given.  2,3
 Week 7
(15 Aug)
 Creation of primary storyline.  2,3
 Week 8
(22 Aug)
 Continued creation of primary storyline.  2,3
 Week 9
(29 Aug)
 Continued creation of primary storyline. Assignment 3 given.  2,3
 Week 10
(5 Sept)
 Creation of secondary storylines.  2,3
 Week 11
(12 Sept)
 Continued creation of secondary storylines. Assignment 4 given.  2,3
 Week 12
(19 Sept)
 Creation of series concept document and consolidation of semester work.   2,3
 26/9 – 7/10 Mid semester break  
 Week 13
(10 Oct)
 Continued creation of series concept document and consolidation of semester work.  2,3,4
 Week 14
(17 Oct)
 Continued creation of series concept document and consolidation of ideas. Assignment 5 given.   3,4
 Week 15
(24 Oct)
 Working on projects  3,4
 Week 16
(31 Oct)
 Review of submissions.  
 Week 17
(7 Nov)
 Assessment Week   

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course

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, 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.

1. Serial drama plotting and scene breakdownexercise. Due March 17 (20%)
2. Sitcom storyline pitch. Due April 7 (5%)
3. Sitcom plotting exercise and sitcom scene breakdown. Due May 5 (10%)
4. Sitcom scripted scenes. Due May 19 (15%)
5. Dramatic world, concept, premise and protagonist assignment. Due July 21(10%)
6. Secondary characters assignment. Due August 11 (5%)
7. Primary storyline assignment. Due September 1(10%)
8. Secondary storylines assignment. Due September 15 (10%)
9. Original series concept document. Due October 20 (15% )

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. Where appropriate, 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