Course Title: Work as an independent screenwriter

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2013

Course Code: COMM7314

Course Title: Work as an independent screenwriter

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6125 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:mctafe@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Noel Maloney

Email: noel.maloney@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

None

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, using the communication skills you need as a freelance writer to promote your work and pitch your ideas.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWWWOR601A 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


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

Elements
1

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

 1-5
 
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
 

 1,2
 
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

 1-5
 
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 Page1
 
5


Other People’s Careers

Students working on alternatives to their chosen pathways

MIFF Film reviews

 

 3-5
 
6Part Of The Union: Contracts and industrial clout, with the Australian Writers’ Guild

Guests: TBC

Other People’s Careers: progress reports: reports ( Assessment #3)

MIFF Film Reviews

 3,4
 
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 
 

 1-5 
8



Presentations: Other People’s Careers (Assessment #3)

Pitching practice


 

 3-5 
 
9

Advice from the Front: recent alumni

Guests: TBC

The Pool: making it happen

 1-5
10

 

Choosing your electives next year/insight from industry professionals:

Finding the Work: agents and managers

Guests: TBC


 

 1-5
 
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

 1-5
 
 Mid Semester Break - 2 Weeks  
12


Discussion of Assessment #4: Your Pitch

Group practice

Random Pitches: an exercise

 

Assessment #2 due: Your Career Plan1,3,4,5
 
13

 

Performing Your Pitch: fine tuning

Guest: TBC

The Pool: final planning

 

 1,2,3,5 
14Assessment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day #1)Assessment #4 due: Your Pitch
 
1,2,5
 
15Assessment #4: Pitching To the Professionals (Day #2)Assessment #4 due: Your Pitch
 

1,2,5
16

Pitching - the wrap-up 

Final Review
 

Assessment #5 due: Your Career Plan completed draft1-5
 


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


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

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
Assessment tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks, which are graded.
To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following assessment tasks to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.
Formative assessment

Assessment #1: Your Pool Page
Due date: Week 4
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 – first draft
Due date: Week 12
Write the first draft of a living, breathing document: 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: Other People’s Careers
Due date: As scheduled with teacher throughout the semester
In small groups, research the career of an Australian screenwriter or performance writer, and present your findings as to the reasons for their success to the class in a brief visual presentation.

Assessment 4. Your Pitch
Due date: As scheduled with teacher
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.

Summative Assessment
Assessment #5. Career Plan – completed draft
Due date: Week 16
Present the completed draft of 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
The competency Work as an independent screenwriter is graded. The grades used are as follows:
HDI Competency with high distinction
CDI Competency with distinction
CC Competency with credit
CAG Competent graded
NYC Not yet complete
DNS Did not submit


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

Attendance
The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.
Feedback You will receive verbal and 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.
Student feedback at RMIT
Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress 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. Special consideration, appeals and discipline
Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism - RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

Work Placement:
It is a requirement of this program that all students participate in authentic work-related tasks. These may be either simulated or in a real work environment. On occasion, we are approached by industry and given opportunities for students to apply for short-term placements. When these placement opportunities arise, students are required to negotiate the specific details with the relevant program coordinator or teacher. All industry placements require students, RMIT staff and host organisations to sign a written agreement prior to the commencement of the placement.
 

Course Overview: Access Course Overview