Course Title: Establish the creative vision for screen productions

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2014

Course Code: VART5924C

Course Title: Establish the creative vision for screen productions

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:mcvet@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Chris Anastiassades (Feature Film)
Email: chris.anastiassades@rmit.edu.au

John Reeves (Story to Screen)
Tel: 9925 4895
Email: john.reeves@rmit.edu.au

Nominal Hours: 50

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

Pre-requisites – none 

 

Course Description

Establish the creative vision for screen productions (VART5924C) covers the skills and knowledge you need to produce effective written scripts, and to transform written scripts into screen productions through the use of sound and visual images.
This competency is delivered in two different contexts: Feature Film, and Story To Screen.
In Feature Film, you build upon and complete the work on your feature project begun in the first semester in the competency COMM 7326 Script Edit a feature film.
In Story To Screen, through working on a practical project you learn what is involved in the different aspects of creating a screen production.
 


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFDRT601A Establish the creative vision for screen productions

Element:

1. Review and interpret scripts.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Read available drafts of scripts and arrange meetings with appropriate creative personnel to discuss potential interpretations of the vision
 1.2 Assess the intended creative aims of scripts, define proposed objectives and explore how they may be realize visually or through the use of sound.
 1.3 Generate and consider a range of ideas for visualizing scripts until a clear narrative emerges.
 1.4 Identify research and reference materials to inform creative directors and to assist in providing the context for productions
 1.5 Review script drafts in collaboration with writers, agree on the need for any re-writes and organise timetables for completions.
 1.6 Prepare clear development notes for script writers to produce scripts re-drafts as required.
 1.7 Document perceived visual and dramatic elements in scripts as the basis for shot plans.

Element:

2. Prepare shot plans to realise visual narrative.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Mark up working script into its component scenes and identify key dramatic elements and technical parameters within each scenic unit.
 2.2 Plot key dramatic elements within each scene and between scenes to realise the transformation of the written narrative into its visual representation.
 2.3 Consider the whole of the narrative and scenes to determine the location of the characters and other elements for each individual shot.
 2.4 Assess the photographic qualities of proposed shots and how they may impact on the story overall and within each scene.
 2.5 Ensure overall shot plans allow both narrative and visual aspects to be controlled and carried forward to meet overall production requirements,
 2.6 Discuss shot plans with relevant production personnel prior to development of any story boards.

Element:

3. Review and communicate proposed shot plan.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Identify and document areas of productions that may be affected by script versions and discuss changes with colleagues,
 3.2 Arrange sign-off for final script with producers if applicable and ensure it is distributed to relevant creative personnel.
 3.3 Maintain an ongoing review of script and shot plans and organize for any further rewrites while production is underway.
 3.4 Provide relevant production personnel


Learning Outcomes


On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to transform written scripts into screen productions through the use of sound and visual images.


Details of Learning Activities

In this course, you learn through:
1. In-class activities:
• lectures
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• industry speakers
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion

2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent and group project based work
• online and other research
• discussion and comment via blackboard
• independent study

In Feature Film, you will maintain the creative relationship with another writer established in Semester 1.
In Story to Screen, you will be working in self-managed teams to establish the creative vision of the scriptwriter, through the completion of a practical project. This will involve working outside class hours on planning, filming and editing the nominated film script. You will spend a minimum of 18 hours outside class time working on this team-based project with the support of your teacher.
 


Teaching Schedule

Please note that there are two separate teaching schedules, one for each of the contexts in which this competency is delivered: Feature Film and Story to Screen.

FEATURE FILM

Teaching Schedule

WEEK 1 – INTRODUCTION  (1, 2, 3)
AIM OF SEMESTER - Prepare a draft that is ‘market ready’.
DISCUSSION: The ‘creative vision’ as an all-encompassing idea that is not only limited to the visual style of the script but takes into consideration the marketability of the work – where it sits in the market, budgetary concerns and limits, etc. The aim of the semester is to produce another draft that takes all these things into consideration.
EXERCISE: Comparison - from script to screen. Looking at a draft of a scene and the finished product on screen.
HOMEWORK – Bring in a substantial scene from their script. Also, ongoing work on second draft to be done – to be completed by Week 5.

WEEK 2 - WRITING WORKSHOP 1 – DIALOGUE (1)
DISCUSSION:  Improving your dialogue through reading it aloud.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Volunteer scenes to be workshopped in class. Ensure you can identify and articulate the choices you have made.
EXERCISE – ‘Mark up’ scenes for revision.
HOMEWORK – Ongoing – working towards completion of second draft.

WEEK 3 - WRITING WORKSHOP 2 – SCREEN DIRECTION (1, 2)
DISCUSSION: Writing effective big print, looking at clarity, brevity, communicating visuals, common mistakes like over-explaining.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Volunteer scenes to be workshopped in class. Screen direction to be isolated and examined and suggestions for improvement made.
EXERCISE – Mark up scenes for revision.
HOMEWORK – Ongoing – working towards completion of second draft.

WEEK 4 – THE OPENING AND FINAL IMAGE (1, 2, 3)
DISCUSSION: Examines the relationship of these two images.  Examples from films of openings/endings viewed. Guest Lecturer – 1.5 hours.
EXERCISE – In groups, as writers, examine the first three pages and last three pages of your scripts.
HOMEWORK – Prepare a 10 minute presentation outlining the changes you have made to your script and further changes you feel need to be made to bring the script up to market quality (a script that can be read by producers, distributors, assessors, etc)

WEEK 5 – SECOND DRAFT PRESENTATION (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – In this class make realistic decisions regarding the scripts.
EXERCISE – Present your second draft to the class by outlining the major changes you have made and the issues still to face before you can present the script in the ‘real’ world.
HOMEWORK – Produce a set of writer’s notes for your teacher which you plan to use as a rough guide for the next draft.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT #1 due

WEEK 6 – STORY-BOARDING OPENING SEQUENCE (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – What we can learn by storyboarding a sequence. How to break down action in a scene.
EXERCISE – Attempt storyboard from script provided.
HOMEWORK – Re-read your script to the inciting incident point by next week’s class and begin a storyboard of the opening of your film.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT #2 due

WEEK 7 – OPENING TO INCITING INCIDENT (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – Identifying the common elements of the opening 10 to 15 minutes of a feature films.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Student work is read to inciting incident and common (and particular) problems discussed.
EXERCISE - ‘Mark up’ scenes for re-writing.
HOMEWORK – Re-write their first 10-15 pages and re-read the rest of your first acts to the turning point.

WEEK 8 – FROM INCITING INCIDENT TO FIRST ACT TURNING POINT (1, 2) 
DISCUSSION – Moving from inciting incident to first act turn. Establishing the antagonist.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Student work is read to first act turn and common (and particular) issues discussed.
EXERCISE – Mark up scenes for re-writing.
HOMEWORK – Re-write to the first act turn and re-read script to mid-point.

WEEK 9 – ACT 2 (1) LAUNCHING ACT TWO (1, 2)
DICUSSION – Examining the move into the second act, new characters, obstacles, etc. Setting up in a new world.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Student work read.
EXERCISE – Mark up scenes for reworking.
HOMEWORK – Begin re-write of second act. Aim to produce between 12 to 15 pages per week.

WEEK 10 – ACT 2 (2) THE MIDPOINT (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – Identifying the mid-point as the crucial act two moment.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Present your mid-point scenes to class. Focus will be on finding a solid mid-point and whether it provides sufficient impetus for the second half of act 2.
EXERCISE – In groups, read over the work you have been doing so far on your second acts and plot to the mid-point.
HOMEWORK – Complete re-writing of Act 2 to mid-point and complete storyboards for presentation.

WEEK 11 – STOCK TAKE (1, 2, 3)
PRESENTATION – Storyboards for opening (SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT #1 PRESENT)
DISCUSSION – At this point, we have a clear view of the creative vision for the work, its look, the scale, the intended audience, etc. Now it’s time for a breakdown.
EXERCISE – Break down the first half of their scripts, including major and minor cast, locations, action set pieces and other practical considerations, then examine the story in regard to the intended and what elements in the story/style/themes would appeal to that audience. HOMEWORK – Complete a one liner from mid-point to the third act turn for examination in class.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT #1 DUE

Mid-semester break: 22 September to 3 October

WEEK 12 –ACT 2 (3) – FROM MID-POINT TO DARK MOMENT (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – Examining key moments after the second act turn and looking for corresponding moments in our scripts.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Present your one liners in class.
EXERCISE – In groups, look for key scenes in this section of script in one another’s stories.
HOMEWORK – Begin re-writing the second half of your second acts. All KEY scenes must be completed by the following class.

WEEK 13 – THE ACT 3 TURN (1, 2, 3)
DISCUSSION – By examining the key scenes in the second half of Act 2 we test whether the ACT 3 turn is effective. What is the galvanising force that re-activates the protagonist and drives them into Act 3?
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Present and test your key Act 2, Part 2 scenes for reading in class.
EXERCISE – Review your turning points into Act 3. Are they strong enough? Clear enough?
HOMEWORK – COMPLETE your rewrites of Act 2. You must prepare a five minute presentation on:
- their protagonist’s goal
- the stakes/consequences should that goal not be achieved
- how that goal is tested in the first half of the second act
- whether that goal is changed at the mid-point and how
- what the protagonist’s lowest point is
- what the galvanising force that drives the protagonist into act 3 is
- what there is still left to do for the protagonist
- the greatest obstacle remaining.

WEEK 14 – THE PROTAGONIST SHAPES ACT 3 (1, 2)
DISCUSSION – Examines the protagonist and how their goals/needs shape the third act of the story. Climax, twist, resolution, etc.  Mechanical/External versus internal obstacles.
WHOLE CLASS EXERCISE – Present your protagonist’s journey up to the third act turn.
EXERCISE - What is the final obstacle? Is it enough? Does it provide a resolution?
HOMEWORK – Third act re-writes commence.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT #3 Due Week 14

WEEK 15 – SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT FINAL BRIEF (1, 2, 3)
IN CLASS ASSESSMENT – Based on the work done in WEEK 11 write and present a breakdown of your project. It will include a short pitch in three parts:

  1. The SELL - that will include a logline of the story, the intended audience and why it will appeal to them (themes, subject matter, etc), similar films, etc.
  2. The plan for getting it done which may include major and minor cast, number of locations and other practical considerations.
  3. Any other aspects of your vision for the work that you believe are significant.

HOMEWORK – Prepare the above as a cover letter to a producer or production company (SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT) trying to interest them in your script. This letter should be no more than 500 words. Also, complete third act re-writes.

WEEK 16 – RE-DRAFT DISCUSSION/REALISTIC PRODUCTION AVENUES (1, 2, 3)
DISCUSSION – As writers report on your re-drafting process and look at avenues you can pursue that are appropriate to your script.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT #2 Due

 

 

STORY TO SCREEN

 

Teaching Schedule

WeekContentAssessment DueElements
1Explanation of course content and assessment requirements
Discussion of goals
Experience inventory
Overview – previous class films
 
 1,2
2Overview – previous class films (cont’d)
Initial script discussions
 
 2
3The short film – briefing
Possible production roles
Script discussions (cont’d)
 
 1
4Script development
Discussion of storyboards and their purpose
Storyboarding a short script
 
 1,2
5Studio – intro to camera, lighting, sound, switching for drama (Studio classes subject to availability) 1
6Studio – single camera operation 1
7Forum Guests
Script development
Assessment Task #2
Storyboard presentations
 
1,2
8Forum Guests
Script development (cont’d)
 1,2
9Forum Guests
Pre-production Week #1
 
Assessment Task #1: All forums due to have been completed by this date1,2
10Studio - refresh camera and crew production skills prior to shoot
Pre-production Week #2
 
 1,2
11

Film Shoot: Studio/location
(attendance may also be required on Friday of this week

NB No Classes Thursday 25 September and 2 October
 

 1,2,3
12Second unit/Film Editing 1,2,3
13Film Editing 1,2,3
14Film Editing 1,2,3
15Film EditingAssessment #3: Screening of short film
Assessment #4: Production reports due
1,2,3
16Final Review 1,2,3


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


References


Other Resources

You will require access to a computer and to the Internet


Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is on going throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in practical projects, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your 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 as essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

To demonstrate competency, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessments.

NB There are two different versions of this course. Assessments will vary according to the particular version of the course.

FEATURE FILM

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT (Non-graded)

There are three formative assessments in this course.

Assessment#1 - Students to prepare a 10 minute presentation outlining the changes they have made to their script and further changes they feel need to be made to bring the script up to market quality (a script that can be read by producers, distributors, assessors, etc). (Due Wed 6 August)

Assessment#2 - Students to produce a set of writer’s notes (approx. 500 words) for the teacher which they plan to use as a rough guide for the next draft. (Due Wed 13 August)

Assessment #3 - Students must prepare a five minute presentation outlining the following (Due Wed 22 October)
- their protagonist’s goal
- the stakes/consequences should that goal not be achieved
- how that goal is tested in the first half of the second act
- whether that goal is changed at the mid-point and how
- what the protagonist’s lowest point is
- what the galvanising force that drives the protagonist into act 3 is
- what there is still left to do for the protagonist
- the greatest obstacle remaining
 

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (Graded)
There are two summative assessments in this course.

1. Produce a storyboard of the opening sequence of the script. (Due Wed 17 September)

Summary of Assessment
The storyboard will illustrate, through a selection of shots, the first minutes of your script. You will present your storyboard in class and speak to it. You will be assessed by your teacher in class.

Details of Assessment
The storyboard will comprise 10 shot sketches. Each sketch will indicate:
- the camera angle
- the camera frame
- the action

Your sketches will clearly communicate:
- the dramatic narrative taking place
- the visual style

In your presentation, you will:
- summarise your script’s narrative and your creative aims
- describe how the storyboard sequence fits in to the overall film narrative and how it reveals the film’s visual language
- assess the effectiveness of the storyboard in communicating the above
- field questions from the class.

Assessment Submission
You will be assessed on your storyboard and presentation in class.
You must email your teacher a digitally signed cover sheet. On the program blackboard site you will find a copy of the cover sheet together with instructions on how to set up and use a digital signature.

2. Cover Letter to Producer (Wednesday 5 November)

Summary of Assessment
Write a cover letter of no more than 500 words to a producer or production company to try and gain interest in reading the script.

Details of Assessment
This letter should contain:

  1. The SELL - that will include a logline of the story, the intended audience and why it will appeal to them (themes, subject matter, etc), similar films, etc.
  2. The plan for getting it done which may include major and minor cast, number of locations and other practical considerations.
  3. Any other aspects of your vision for the work that you believe are significant.

Assessment Submission
You must email your teacher a Word or RTF copy of this assessment, along with a digitally signed cover sheet. On the program blackboard site you will find a copy of the cover sheet together with instructions on how to set up and use a digital signature.

Your teacher may also request a hard copy of this assessment.

The competency Establish the creative vision for screen productions is graded. The grades used are as follows:

CHD Competency with high distinction
CDI Competency with distinction
CC Competency with credit
CAG Competent graded
NYC Not yet complete
DNS Did not submit
 
 



STORY TO SCREEN

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT (Non-graded)
Formative assessment for this course comprises three in-class exercises. In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete these exercises to a satisfactory standard. 

Assessment #1: CLASS FORUM  (Due date: as scheduled)
Organise and present a one-hour class visit, workshop, excursion or demonstration with an industry professional in a key production role.
Your work may include:
- Research production role and guest
- Develop brief for the class including aims and format of the visit
- Select and present material for workshopping, case study or use as examples
- Manage the presentation of the event, including class participation, so as to illuminate the relationship of each professional role with the writer and the script throughout the production process
 

Assessment #2: STORYBOARD (Due date: as scheduled)
Create a storyboard for a short film, and present it to other team members in a way that effectively conveys your vision for the project.
Due date: In class as scheduled


SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (Graded)
T
here are two summative assessments in this course: Assessment #3: PRODUCTION and Assessment #4: PRODUCTION REPORT (Due Thursday 30 October)

ASSESSMENT #3: PRODUCTION OF A SHORT FILM (as negotiated)

Details of Assessment
You will collaborate effectively with all other members of the creative team in the creation and realisation of a script into the production and completion of a short film. The short film will be a dramatic narrative with a running time of between 5 and 7 minutes.

This project won’t favour one role over another. Students will have a chance to fulfil multiple roles in the production. All roles are vital to the project’s outcome.

Throughout your participation in this project you will:

- identify aims and intentions of script
- support script’s redevelopment
- collaborate effectively 
- demonstrate initiative and reliability in all aspects of production
- produce shot plans andassist in script’s visual interpretation and realisation

The project will proceed in three stages:

- pre production
- production
- post production

You will be expected to maintain professional standards throughout the production process.

Film equipment will be made available as required.

Assessment Submission
Students will be assessed on the basis of their ongoing contribution to the successful making of the short film. Students will be assessed by teacher observation.

The film will be screen on Thursday 30 October.
 
Assessment #4: PRODUCTION REPORT (Due Thursday 30 October)

Summary of Assessment
At the screening of the produced collaborative project, you will report to class on your role in the process and outcomes of the group production.
You will also supply a written report addressing these points, of  600-750 words.

Details of Assessment
In your presentation and report you will consider:

- The challenges and concerns of the various roles in interpreting and realising the script 
- The input and cut-off points for the writer in the collaborative process 
- The transformation of the script through the production process, and the value added by other players at the various levels of creative input

AV resources, including overhead projector, are available for your report presentation if you wish.

Assessment Submission
Aim for a clear, concise and engaging presentation and written report.

The written report must be emailed to your teacher as an attachment in either Word or RTF. A signed copy of the cover sheet must also be attached. In the program blackboard site you will find a copy of the cover sheet along with instructions on how to set up and use a digital signature.

Your teacher may also request a hard copy of the report.

The competency Establish the creative vision for screen productions is graded. The grades used are as follows:

CHD Competency with high distinction
CDI Competency with distinction
CC Competency with credit
CAG Competent graded
NYC Not yet complete
DNS Did not submit
 


Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. This is available through the course contact in Program Administration

Other Information

Attendance
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.

Feedback
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 feedback at RMIT

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

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. Special consideration, appeals and discipline

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Academic Integrity and plagiarism

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.

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