Course Title: Write documentary scripts
Part B: Course Detail
Teaching Period: Term1 2013
Course Code: COMM7322
Course Title: Write documentary scripts
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff
Teacher: Mr Brian McKenzie
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
Delivery of this course at RMIT requires you to have completed all first year courses.
This course involves stimulated and critical engagement with the form of communication known as documentary. It looks at the skills and knowledge required to write the documents and scripts and develop factual narrative - including documentary film or series. It identifies and analyses current types, genres and trends in non fiction documentary screenwriting in establishing a specific project.
National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria
National Element Code & Title:
ASWDOC609A Write documentary scripts
1. Develop concept
1.1A strong, original concept is established for the proposed documentary
2. Develop treatment
2.1A treatment which clearly conveys an original and engaging story is developed to industry standards
3. Seek funding
3.1A finance and marketing strategy is developed including contingencies and risk management plan
4. Write a pre-shoot script
4.1Locations and viable shooting sequence are determined
5. Develop post-shoot materials
5.1Footage is filmed and story reworked
On successful completion of this course, you will be able to develop a factual narrative into the first draft of a documentary film or series.
Details of Learning Activities
1. In-class activities:
- practical demonstration
- industry speakers
- teacher directed group activities/projects
- peer teaching and class presentations
- group discussion
- class exercises to review discussions/lectures
2. Out-of-class activities:
- independent project based work
- online and other research
|Sem 1. Week||
|1||Introduction and explanation of course content and assessment. Demonstration and discussion of student documentaries from previous year. |
|2||The Pitch. Review project ideas. Film openings – the hook.||1, 2|
|3||Demonstration and practice of camera controls.||
Ass 2: Camera Controls. Ex.1.
|4||Style and Approach. The Murakami Underground exercise.||1,2,4|
|5||Developing the written proposal. The Research phase.||1,2|
|6||The Interview. Films of Errol Morris||1,2, 4|
|7||The Interview Demonstration and practice of wireless microphones.||Ass 3:The Interview – wireless microphones. Ex.2.||1,2,4|
|Mid-semester break April 1 to April 5 (inclusive)|
The beginning of Documentary – Lumiere, Flaherty, Grierson and Vertov...
Cinema Verite. How to observe. How to find the story.
Exposure and lighting. Shooting interior group scene.
|Ass 4: Exposure and lighting. Ex.3||1,2,4|
The Diarist / Personal Journey films
|12||Documentary meets drama – Rouch, Watkins, Broomfield.||1,2,4|
|13||Agit prop - before and after Mike Moore. Social purpose.||1,2,4|
|14||The social realists – Bicycle Thieves to the Dardenne Bros.||1, 2,4|
|15|| Packaging For Television and other platforms or markets. Reality T.V. and high concept factual.||
Ass 7:Progress report due. (Summative assessment)
|16|| Review of and feedback on collected material. ||Ass 5: Review of collected material #1||4|
|Semester Break - June 10 to July 6 (inclusive)|
|Sem 2 Week||Class Content||Assessment|
|1||Mystery and Courtroom drama||1,2,4|
|2||Review of collected material. 2||Ass 1: Review of collected material #2||2,4|
|3||Editing. Working with Final Cut Pro||Ass 2: Final Cut Pro technique Ex 1.||2,4|
|4||New approaches: format, technique and platform.||2,4|
|5||Editing. Working with Final Cut Pro (cont.)||Ass 3: Final Cut Pro technique Ex 2.||5|
|6||The business of Documentary. Production finance. Broadcasters, exhibition and festivals.||3|
|7||Music and Atmosphere in film.||5|
|8||The paper edit - story threads.|
|9||Rough Cut progress||5|
|10||Rough cut screenings and review||Ass 4: Review of Rough cut screenings||5|
|11||Rough cut screenings and review (cont)||Ass 4: Review of Rough cut screenings (cont)||5|
|Mid Semester Break - Sept 23 to Oct 4 (inclusive)|
|12||Fine cut editing||5|
|13||Fine cut editing||5|
|14||Fine cut screenings and review 1||Ass 5: Review of FIne cut screenings||5|
|15||Project appraisal due. Fine cut screenings and review 2||
Ass 5: Review of Fine cut screenings (cont)
Ass 6: Post productio appraisal due
|16||Final presentations.||Ass. 6: Completed film due||3,5|
Additional references are provided throughout the course. In addition to hard copy handouts, some material is made available on Blackboard, or can be accessed via the web. Recommended books will be discussed in class. You are advised to visit Blackboard for ongoing updated information
A limited number of cameras will be available for student use in class and outside RMIT for filming.
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 writing tasks, practical exercises and your documentary project.
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.
Assessment 1: Individual consultation with teacher around your project (On date to be negotiated with teacher)
Assessment 2: Camera exercise #1- Camera controls Due: Week 3 - Feb 28
Assessment 3: Camera exercise #2 - Wireless microphones Due: Week 7 - March 28
Assessment 4: Camera exercise #3 - Exposure and lighting Due:Week 9 - April 18
Assessment 5: Review of collected material#1 Due: Week 16 - June 6
Assessment 6: Progress report. Due: Week 15 - May 30
A final draft of a written proposal/script for a documentary. Drafts will have been developed and reviewed during the semester.
Proposal should include:
- Discussion of the goals and themes of the proposed documentary.
- Research notes on engagement with the subject and details re arrangements for persons appearing - protocols and permissions.
- Production plans regarding locations, crew, schedule and equipment.
- Creative notes: style & the visual approach, the use of music, archival materials etc.
- Approach to Interviews and/or narration.
If material toward the documentary has been collected the report should review that work and provide an approach to the next stage.
Assessment 1: Review of collected material #2 Due: Week 2 - July 18
Assessment 2: - Final Cut Pro technique Ex 1. Due: Week 3 - July 25
Assessment 3: Final Cut Pro technique Ex 2. Due: Week 5 - August 8
Assessment 4: Ass 4: Review of Rough cut screenings Due: Weeks 10 and 11 - Sept 13 and 20
Assessment 5: Ass 4: Review of FIne cut screenings Due: Weeks 14 and 15 - Oct 24 and 31
Assessment 6: Completed film and post production appraisal: Due Weeks 15 and 16 - Oct 31 and Nov 7.
- Post production appraisal (Due Oct 31) This appraisal should include a written review of the story contained in the documentary and consideration of how successfully themes and issues emerge. it will also include a review of working relations with persons appearing and a reflection of what you have learned throughout the process.
- The completed film presented by the director/s. Delivery on DVD. (Due Nov 7)
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.
The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration.
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)
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