Course Title: Assess a film script during development

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2014

Course Code: COMM7315

Course Title: Assess a film script during development

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

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Chris Anastassiades (Monday)

Ben Michael (Tuesday)

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

This course looks at the skills and knowledge require to assess a film script.. It involves assessing script construction, style and content, evaluating script changes and  writing a script report.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWAFS602A Assess a film script during development


1. Assess script construction, style and content

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Film genre and the elements establishing it in the script are identified
 1.2 Premise and plot are determined
 1.3 Consistency and strength of story structure, characterisation
 and character development are analysed
 1.4 Effectiveness of narrative elements is evaluated
 1.5 Style and genre are analysed for effectiveness
 1.6 Script format is examined for compliance with industry requirements


2. Evaluate changes made in various drafts

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Any changes occurring in premise, theme or subject are delineated
 2.2 Principal changes in plot, characterisation and character development are charted
 2.3 Changes to narrative elements are identified
 2.4 Effectiveness of changes is analysed


3. Write a script report

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Overview of script’s strengths and weaknesses is prepared
 3.2 Estimate is made of work needed to bring script to production quality
 3.3 Strategies and/or options for rewriting are outlined
 3.4 Report is formatted to company or funding body’s requirements
 3.5 Report is provided punctually to agreed deadlines

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to assess a film script and provide constructive feedback on  construction, style and content. You will be also be able to evaluate changes that are made and write a script report.

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

Teaching Schedule

WeekClass ContentAssessment DueElements

You will be given a draft of a feature script which will be the basis for the class exercises and assessments throughout the course.

How to read a script?
Beginning with a chosen script and drawing on the work of Stephen Cleary, we will develop an approach to reading a script. (Resources for Cleary’s work will be provided in class)

Formative Assessment #1: note taking on given script
 1, 2
2Script theme.
Identify what it is and how the writer conveys it.

Introduce the Screen Australian external reader’s report template (this will be the basis for your final, summative exercise).

  1, 2
3The protagonist and other characters.  1, 2
4The protagonist.
The conflicts.
Identify all the different types in the script and how well they are used.
Formative Assessment #2: Identify and critique all major turning points
 1, 2, 3
5Identify the script’s turning points in relation to the protagonist and other main characters.  1, 2
6The action line and the emotional line of the protagonist and the other main characters..Formative Assessment #3: Write up a graph that shows both the action and emotional line of the script’s main characters. 1, 2, 3
7Dialogue.  1, 2
8We start to edit the script here. We will begin with the plot structure, theme and character.

The concept of ‘market ready’, how it’s a term currently used by funding providers and producers, what’s really meant by it and how to work with it.

  1, 2
9Sub plots  1, 2
10Editing dialogue.
  1, 2, 3

Communication between editor and writer.

Fishbowl exercise*.

  1, 2
 Mid-semester break: 22 September - 3 October  
You will each present your editing notes to the class for feedback.
Formative Assessment #4: Presentation of editing notes to class 1, 2, 3
You will each present your editing notes to the class for feedback.
  1, 2, 3
You will each present your editing notes to the class for feedback.
Summative Assessment: Editor’s report 1, 2, 3
15Guest lecturer.  1, 2, 3
16 Course review.  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

At the beginning of the semester you will be given:

  • A draft of a feature screenplay
  • Notes from UK script develop Stephen Cleary about his approach to editing
  • Screen Australia guidelines for external script readers writing reports on feature films. 

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 written script assessment  tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered as essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. 

Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

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

Formative assessment for this course comprises three in-class exercises. In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete these exercises to a satisfactory standard.
1. Initial notes (Mon 7 or Tues 8 July)
You will produce notes on your initial feelings, thoughts and intuitions about the script you are reading.

2. A summary and critique of the turning points in given script (Mon 28 or Tues 29 July)
You will describe the major turning points in the script, and assess their effectiveness.

3. Graphs plotting the action and emotional plot lines of the protagonist and other main characters (Mon 11 or Tues 12 August)
Building on the previous exercise, you will produce a graph that plots the action of the main story in the script. In addition, you will produce another graph that shows the emotional stories of the main characters.

4. Presentation of editing notes to class (Mon 6 or Tues 7 Oct, Mon 13 or Tues 14 Oct and Mon 20 or Tues 21 Oct)
Using the Sceen Australia readers’ template, and building on the progressive exercises you’ve undertaken in class, you will present you a draft of your editing notes to class. This will be an opportunity to get feedback on your report prior to submitting it as your summative assessment.


Editor’s Report on Given Script (Mon 20 or Tues 21 October)

Summary of Assessment:
Using the Screen Australia reader’s report template provided, you will produce a formal editor’s report on the given feature script that you have been working with throughout the semester.

Details of Assessment
Your report will be between 1500 and 2000 words in length and will address the categories provided in the template. It will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the writer’s intention
  • identify the script’s strengths and weaknesses in its use of characters, plot and theme
  • propose changes, possibilities and strategies for further development
  • assess the script’s viability
  • assess its market strength.

Assessment Submission
You will submit your 1500-2000 word report as an email attachment in either Word or RTF to your teacher. Included in your attachment will be a signed cover sheet.

Please see the program blackboard site for copies of cover sheets and instructions on how to set and use digital signatures.

Your teacher may also request hard copies of your assessments.

The competency 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

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.

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.

You will receive spoken and written feedback from teachers on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Academic progress

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. You can apply in writing for up to a week’s extension from your course teacher. If you need a longer extension, you wil need to apply for special consideration. Special consideration, appeals and discipline

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Academic integrity and plagiariam

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