Course Title: Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: EMPL5964C

Course Title: Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity

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: George Viscas

Nominal Hours: 65

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 unit provides a comprehensive overview of the ways in which  concepts and theories around creativity in screenwriting have contributed to the development of contemporary screen language and genre. You will research and explore ways in which these theories can be applied to your own creative work.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

BSBCRT601A Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity


2. Apply theories of creativity to practice

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Evaluate the relevance and application of different theories and practices of creativity based on analysis of own work and life experience
2.2. Analyse the ways in which different aspects of history, theory and other influences are applied, adapted or challenged in practice
2.3. Assess the ways in which theories, thinking and practices about creativity may be applied that provide benefits to


1. Research concepts and theories of creativity

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Use a range of research techniques to source information about creativity
1.2. Identify and explore potential new, emerging and alternative sources of ideas and thinking about creativity
1.3. Expand own knowledge and understanding of creativity through review and critical analysis of information
1.4. Analyse, compare and contrast a range of theoretical perspectives and thinking on creativity
1.5. Identify and explore the transmigration of creative thought to innovative output


3. Develop, articulate and debate own perspectives theories and practices of creativity

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Take a critical approach to different theories and reflect on own ideas and responses
3.2. Develop own substantiated positions in response to research and analysis
3.3. Articulate own positions in a manner which demonstrates clarity of thought and conceptual understanding of different theories and thinking
3.4. Debate own positions on creativity showing belief in own ideas and a willingness to remain open to new perspectives

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate your competency in the above elements. You will be able to inform your own artistic practice through the application of the concepts and theories underpinning creativity in screenwriting.

Details of Learning Activities

You learn through:

1. In-class activities:

  • lectures
  • film screenings
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
  • reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
  • workshopping of students’ own projects
  • analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice.

2. Out-of-class activities:

  • independent project based work
  • writing and reading assignments
  • 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.

Week Class Content Assessment Due
1 Explanation and discussion of course content and assessment.
Discussion of the nature of creativity in screenwriting.
Early Film History: Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies and D.W. Griffith.
Introduction to Screen Language: Production and Story Elements.
2 Development of Montage from D.W.Griffith to modern day.
Discussion of period of film-history and key contributions of selected filmmakers.
Screening of selected excerpts of films followed by class discussion of this film - language, theories and applications
Exploration of different research techniques.
3 German Expressionism and the dark side
Discuss characteristics of this; Expressionism in Art and Screen excerpts of selected films from various filmmakers. Expressionism in film and its theories - yesterday and today. Expressionism and its use in Hollywood.

Assessment #1 due: Outline of oral presentation


4 Silent film: exploring early cinema
View two examples and discuss.
5 Film Noir in world film culture
Study Hollywood’s use of Expressionism in this genre. WW2 and its effects on Noir and film culture. Screen excerpts from Noir films and Rules of Noir documentary. Class Discussion.
Assessment #2: Oral presentations begin (See details below) 
6 Screening of rarely seen Film Noir.
Class discussion about film’s elements; Does it follow all the rules of Noir? What’s there? What isn’t? Does it hold up today?
Can any theories of Noir be used creatively today? 
7 Neo-Noir: its Legacy from Expressionism to Film-Noir explored. Screening excerpts from selected Neo-Noir films;
Discussion of its history; contrast past to present Noir.

8 Screen Neo-Noir film.
Class discussion of Neo-Noir elements and the differences between these and the ordinary Thriller Genre. Contrast with remake and discuss cultural context in creativity and the differences of this remake as compared to its original Film-Noir concept. 

  Mid-semester break Friday 3 April to Friday 10 April inclusive  

Looking at the elements of horror and its legacy from expressionism. Differences between past and present day elements. What makes Horror so easy to make and so hard to master?
Screening of documentary.
Discussion around whether the theories for expressionism apply here?


Horror (cont.)
Are the elements of horror the same world wide? Do the theories of one culture overlap with another? Screening and discussion of documentaries. Exploring various types of world horror and discussion of the various creative practices.


Creativity and censorship
Looking at censorship, its history and role in film creativity. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the system.
Screening of documentary examining censorship and its effects on various filmmakers. Is it a necessary evil? Examination of the theories behind censorship.


Study of a culture through film
Does film reflect daily life of culture; fantasy of its inhabitants? Do the theories of film in the West necessarily fulfil other cultures’ requirements of what makes a film?


Contemporary filmmakers
Introduction to new filmmakers and their effects on modern day directors. How ‘influence,’ plays as important a part as ‘homage’ in creativity.

Screening of various scenes as well as full film in discovering new and /or forgotten filmmakers. Discuss their importance/non-importance.


14 Study of a culture through film (cont.)
Looking at a culture’s film history. Screening of film. Discussion around similarities/differences to Western film practices and creative concepts.
15 Study of a culture through film (cont.)  Assessment #3 due: History of genre assignment
16 Contextualising creative concepts in film.
Review of creative concepts explored throughout the semester and of how these are contextualized in aspects of the films studied. Exploration of how these concepts can be applied to your own work. 

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

While there are no prescribed texts it is strongly recommended you make use of the recommended references


A list of recommended reading and viewing will be up on blackboard. You are also advised to look at the course myRMIT site for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

You require access to a computer and to the internet for this course. RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access to the library resources.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on-going throughout the course. 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 all of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive written feedback on all assessment (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria).

Detailed assessment briefs will be available on the course Blackboard site.

Assessment 1. Outline of oral presentation. Due: 24 February
You will submit an outline of your intended presentation for Assessment 2. This outline will consist of a series of dot points covering required aspects of a film you have either loved or hated.

Assessment 2. Oral Presentation. Due: scheduled from Week 5, 10 March, on a date to be arranged with your teacher
You will deliver a 15-minute oral presentation to the class on a film you have either loved or hated. As part of your research you are required to discuss a film and its filmmaker, show two scenes to the class, and critique these in relation to the filmmaker’s intentions and two film elements you wish to explore. You need to reflect on the filmmaker’s technique and consider how this may inform your own practice as a screenwriter.

Assessment 3. History of genre assignment. Due 26 May
Research and analyse the history of a film genre of your choice. Present your findings in a 1500-word essay or a 15-20 minute DVD presentation.

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

Grades that apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment but which also use graded assessment are:

  • CHD 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

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration.

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