Course Title: Create a drama series or serial

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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 & mentors
• teacher-directed group activities/projects
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• mentoring by industry professionals
• 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 Due

Overview of course content and assessment requirements
Discuss: a series bible and a pilot script for your own series. Group presentation: initial planning


Group presentation: discussion & drafting
Exercise: The language, approaches and methods employed in the screenwriting process


Your premise: define a simple, compelling idea and a place to set it.
Developing an awareness of the market. Case study #1. Market demographics and beyond.
Group presentations and reports: Pilots, projects and popular success

Assessment #1

Your characters: use personal sourcing and ongoing research to create a key character.
Creating a market analysis.
Group presentations and reports: Pilots, projects and popular success (cont’d)

Assessment #1 (cont’d)

What makes a successful TV series? Case study #2
Samples of success and possible models: research and analysis via group forums


6Pitch your key character/s, their story arcs, and one crucial sequenceAssessment #2
7Pitch your key character/s, their story arcs, and one crucial sequence (cont’d)Assessment #2 (cont’d)
8Conflict & story development: do we break the rule? 
Easter Break: 1 week There are no classes from Friday 3 April through to Friday 10 April inclusive. 

Story arcs: develop involving stories for your key and secondary characters

10Your bible: key character/s, their story arcs, and the story arena 
11Your bible: drafting 
12Drafting and workshopping 
13Drafting and workshopping 
14Part draft script readings and draft bible pitchAssessment #3
15Part draft script readings and draft bible pitch (cont’d)Assessment #3(cont’d)
16Part draft script readings and draft bible pitch (cont’d)Assessment #3(cont’d)
 Semester break - There will be no classes from Monday 8 June through to Friday 3 July inclusive 
Semester 2: WeekContent  Assessment
 1Redrafting: the key to successful drama and a rewarding career 

The full draft: group workshopping

 3The full draft: group workshopping (cont’d) 
 4Putting together a successful pitch .Is your project ready for the market? Planning for success 
 5Visually pitch your project (including market-ready self assessment)Assessment #4
 6Visually pitch your project (including market-ready self assessment) (cont’d)Assessment #4(cont’d)
 7Editing your bible for maximum impact 
 8Drafting: no class meeting 
 9Final drafting: workshopping 
 10Final drafting: workshopping 
 11Final drafting: workshopping 
Mid-semester Break: 2 weeks There are no classes from Monday 21 September through to Friday 2 October inclusive. 
 12Table readings: a professional approach 
 13Table readings of full draft script/final bible pitchAssessment #5
 14Table readings of full draft script/final bible pitch (cont’d)Assessment #5 (cont’d)

Table readings of full draft script/final bible pitch (cont’d)

Assessment #5 (cont’d)
 16Final review

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, screenwriting software (Final Draft, Celtx or similar) and the internet for this course. RMIT will provide you with further resources and tools for learning through our online systems and access to specialised 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

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment to a satisfactory standard. 
Assessment #1: Group presentation and report: Pilots, projects and popular success.
Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Weeks 3 & 4 (Thurs 26 February and Thurs 5 March)

Assessment #2: Your key character/s, their story arcs, and one crucial sequence.
Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Weeks 6 & 7 (Thurs 19 and 26 March)

Assessment #3: Part draft script readings and draft bible pitch.
Assessment conducted: Sem 1 - Weeks 14, 15 & 16 (Thurs 21 and 28 May, 4 June)

Assessment #4: Visually pitch your project (including market-ready self assessment).
Assessment conducted: Sem 2 - Weeks 5 & 6 (Thurs 6 and 13 August)

Assessment #5: Facilitate a table reading of your full draft script/final bible pitch, and submit material.
Assessment due: Sem 2 - Weeks 13, 14 & 15 (Thurs 15, 22 and 29 October)

Once you have demonstrated competency, your final assessment task (#5) will be graded (refer to Blackboard for grading rubric).

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

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:


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. Non-attendance may seriously jeopardise the chances of success in a course. Clearly, non-attendance at an assessment will result in failure of that assessment. Where visa conditions apply, attendance is compulsory.

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.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (web link)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which people can gain entry to, or credit in, recognised courses based on competencies gained. The competencies may have been gained through experience in the workplace, in voluntary work, in social or domestic activities or through informal or formal training or other life experiences. Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies if a student has previously successfully completed the requirements of a unit of competency or module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competency has been maintained.

Assessment and Feedback (web link)

You will receive verbal feedback during scheduled class times, and written feedback from teachers on your work . Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress (web link)

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

Special consideration for Late Submission (web link)

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 will need to apply for special consideration.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism (web link)

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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview