Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: COMM7320

Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

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

Teacher: John Reeves
Phone: 03 9925 4895

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

Required Prior Study

Enrolment into this course at RMIT this year requires the completion of Assess TV scripts and Write an 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, and assist you in the development of a concept, a series bible and a pilot script of your own to take to the marketplace.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWSER607A Create a 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 analyze trends in serials and series, develop and write scripts appropriate to TV genres, and identify and approach suitable markets for a series or serial concept, series bible and pilot episode you have created and developed.

Details of Learning Activities

In this course, you will learn through:

1. In-class activities:
• lectures
• industry speakers
• teacher-directed group activities/projects
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• reading of script excerpts to provide examples of writing elements
• workshopping of students’ own projects

2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent project based work
• online and other research
• independent study

Teaching Schedule

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.


Semester 1. WeekContentAssessment DueElements

Overview of course content and assessment requirements

Discuss: a series bible and a pilot script for your own series. 

 1, 2, 3
2 The language, approaches and methods employed in the screenwriting processFormative assessment 1.2,3

Industry guest #3

Developing an awareness of the market. Market demographics and beyond


Creating a market analysis.

Group presentations

Formative assessment 2. 
5No class: Labour Day  

What makes a successful TV series.

Analysis of the elements - Group presentation

Formative assessment 3.

1, 2
7 Group presentations  (cont.)Formative assessment 3 (cont.)
1, 2
 Mid-semester Break - April to April 5 inclusive  
8Character: use personal sourcing and original research to develop a key character 2,3
9Premise: define a simple compelling idea and a place to set it 2,3
10Story arcs: develop involving stories for key and secondary characters 2,3
11 Listening to your script: Workshopping with 16th Street and key guest 2,3, 4
12Drafting: Industry feedback 1, 2, 3, 4
13Drafting 1, 2, 3, 4
14Series bible presentations Summative Assessment 1 due2, 3, 4
15 Series bible presentations (cont.)Summative Assessment 1 due2, 3, 4
16 Series bible presentations (cont.)Summative Assessment 1 due2, 3, 4
 Semester break- June 10 to July 6 (inclusive)  
Semester 2. WeekContent  Assessment Elements
 1 Industry guest #2 How to plot your pilot  3

 Your pilot: group plotting

 3Group plotting (cont.) Input and feedback from Industry guest.  3
 4 Pitch your key character and climactic scenes Formative assessment 4 3
 5 The drafting process  3
 6 The drafting process (cont.)  3
 7 Table readings of first draft Formative assessment 5 3,4
 8 Table readings of first draft (cont.) Formative assessment 5 (cont.) 3,4
 9Table readings of first draft (cont.)  Formative assessment 5 (cont.) 3,4
 10 Workshopping with 16th Street and key guests  2,3,4
 11 Is your project ready for the market? Planning for success.  Formative assessment 6 1,2,3,4
 Mid-Semester Break - September 23 to October 4 (inclusive)  
 12 Putting together a successful pitch. Pitching to peers  4
 13 Pitching your series to key industry guests.  4
 14 Final revision of pilot script  2,3,4
 15 Final Class:
Review and discussion of the next stage of your project.
Summative assessment 2 2,3,4
 16 Cup Eve - No class  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


You are strongly advised to make use of the listings of recommended reading and viewing posted on Blackboard, which will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Other Resources

You will require access to a computer, Final Draft software and the internet for this course. RMIT will provide you with further resources and tools for learning through our online systems and access to specialized facilities and relevant software. You will also have full access to the extensive RMIT library resources.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the year. Assessment will incorporate a range of methods to assess performance and the application of knowledge and skills and will include: participation in class exercises, oral presentations and practical writing 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 essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

To demonstrate competency in this course you need to complete each one of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard.


Formative Assessment

Assessment 1. Skills review: the language, approaches and methods employed in the screenwriting process. Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Week 2, Feb 18

Assessment 2. Market analysis: group presentation. Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Week 4, March 4

Assessment 3. Samples of success/possible models exercise: group presentation. Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Weeks 6 and 7, March 18 and 25

Assessment 4. Pitch your key character and climactic scenes. Assessment conducted: Sem. 2 - Week 4, July 29

Assessment 5. First draft presentation: table readings. Assessment conducted: Sem 2 - Weeks 7, 8 and 9,  Aug 19, 26 and Sep 2

Assessment 6. Market-ready planning exercise. Assessment conducted: Sem 2 - Week 11, Sep 16


Summative Assessment

Assessment 1. Delivery of series bible draft (including market awareness) Assessment due: Sem 1 - Week 14, May 20

Assessment 2. Delivery of revised series bible & pilot script. Assessment due: Sem 2 - Week 15, Oct 28


Grades used in this unit are as follows:

HD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

For further information on the assessment and grading criteria, 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 from the course contact person (see above).

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
All students must complete a submission cover sheet for each piece of submitted work.

Plagiarism - RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. For more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

All students have access to the myRMIT copyright shell. The myRMIT copyright shell contains information on copyright, plus also examples on how to use copyright works as part of your projects and assignments.

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:

Student Progress Committee
This committee promotes the early identification of students who are not achieving acceptable academic performance. The committee provides identified students with assistance and seeks to ensure such students are aware of the range of support services available to them at the University. Student Progress Committee (SPC)

Student Feedback
Students are offered opportunities to provide feedback through a variety of mechanisms including online surveys conducted at the end of each course or semester, student complaints and Student Staff Consultative Committees

Course Overview: Access Course Overview