Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

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: Week

ContentAssessment DueElements

Overview of course content and assessment requirements.
"The Pilot" exercise: initial planning.
Discuss: a series bible and a pilot script for your own series. 

 1, 2, 3

Your genre: discussion.
Exercise: The language, approaches and methods employed in the screenwriting process

Assessment #1 (formative)2, 3

Your premise: define a simple, compelling idea and a place to set it.
Developing an awareness of the market. Market demographics and beyond.
Group presentations and reports: "The Pilot"

Assessment #2 (formative)1

Your characters: use personal sourcing and ongoing research to create a key character.
Creating a market analysis.
Group presentations and reports: "The Pilot"

Assessment #2 (cont’d) 1

No class: Labour Day


What makes a successful TV series?
Samples of success and possible models: research and analysis via professional mentors: group forums

Assessment #3 (formative)
1, 2
7Character development: readingsAssessment #3 (ongoing)2, 3
8Conflict & story development: readings 2, 3
9Story arcs: develop involving stories for key and secondary characters 2, 3
10Listening to your script: workshopping 2, 3
Easter Break: 1 week   
11Drafting: no class meeting 2, 3, 4
12Drafting: workshopping 1, 2, 3, 4
13Draft script readings and series bible presentationsAssessment #6 (summative) due1, 2, 3, 4
14Draft script readings and series bible presentations (cont’d)Assessment #6 (summative) due2, 3, 4
15Draft script readings and series bible presentations (cont’d)Assessment #6 (summative) due2, 3, 4
16Draft script readings and series bible presentations (cont’d)Assessment #6 (summative) due2, 3, 4
 Semester break -   
Semester 2: WeekContent  Assessment Elements
 1Redrafting; the key to successful drama 3

The second draft: group workshopping

 3The second draft: group workshopping (cont’d) 3
 4Putting together a successful pitch. Pitching to peers. 3
 5Pitch your project (including key characters and climactic scenes)Assessment #4 (formative)3
 6Pitching your series to key industry guests 3
 7Editing your bible for maximum impact 3, 4
 8Drafting: no class meeting 3, 4
 9Is your project ready for the market? Planning for success #1Assessment # 5 (formative)3, 4
 10Is your project ready for the market? Planning for success #2Assessment # 5 (cont’d)2, 3, 4
 11Final drafting: workshopping 1, 2, 3, 4
Mid-semester Break: 2 weeks   
 12Table readings of fully revised pilot scriptAssessment #7 (summative) due2, 3, 4
 13Table readings of fully revised pilot script (cont’d) Assessment #7 (summative) due2, 3, 4
 14Table readings of fully revised pilot script (cont’d) Assessment #7 (summative) due2, 3, 4

Table readings of fully revised pilot script (cont’d)

Final review

Assessment #7 (summative) due2, 3, 4
 16No class: Cup Eve  

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
Assessment #2. Group presentations and reports: "The Pilot". Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Weeks 3 & 4
Assessment #3. Samples of success and possible models: research and analysis via professional mentors: group forums. Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Ongoing from Week 6
Assessment #4. Pitch your key character and climactic scenes. Assessment conducted: Sem. 2 - Week 5
Assessment #5. Market-ready planning exercise. Assessment conducted: Sem 2 - Weeks 9 & 10 

Summative Assessment

Assessment #6. Delivery of draft pilot script and draft series bible.  Assessment due: Sem 1 - Week s 13-16
Assessment #7. Delivery of fully revised pilot script and series bible (including market awareness report). Assessment due: Sem 2 - Weeks 12-15 


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 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. For more on the student progress policy see RMIT’s website.

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.

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.

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