Course Title: Develop storylines and treatments

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: COMM5909C

Course Title: Develop storylines and treatments

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5216 - Diploma of Screen and Media

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff


Name:      John Reeves

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


Course Description

In this course you will be writing storylines and treatments suitable for a short screenplay.
The competency covers the skills and knowledge required to develop a narrative or storyline.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFWRT501A Develop storylines and treatments


1 Plan and prepare to write production material.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Define appropriate script-writing construction, style and formats for given type of production and clients.

1.2 Define and develop ideas and concepts of the given production material, including analysis of genre, audience and purpose.

1.3 Develop elements of narrative, including visual and aural narrative components, dialogue and other communication techniques, such as symbols and icons, to convey information in production material.


2 Develop storylines or treatments

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify components of script development required by concept proposals.

2.2 Develop concepts to synopsis stage or equivalent as required by type of production format or genre

2.3 Develop treatment and scene breakdown as required by type of production format or genre

2.4 Evaluate narrative development with relevant personnel as required and incorporate feedback

2.5 Develop material in appropriate format for story conferencing or pitch presentation to client.


3 Finalise storylines or treatments.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Present materials for discussion to production team responsible for story conferences or pitching to clients

3.2 Redraft materials incorporating feedback from production team

3.3 Ensure that relevant material is ready for next stage of production and is completed within agreed timeframes and budget requirements

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to use a range of industry-current software applications to create and refine digital visual effects.

Details of Learning Activities

In-class learning activities include, but are not limited to:

practical exercises
independent reading and research

Out-of-class activities include, but are not limited to :

attending screenings and festivals
independent project based work

Teaching Schedule

WEEK 1Introduction to course. 
Story spine (main basic story) - main plot, subplots. Writing the synopsis/outline
 1.1 - 1.3
2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.3
WEEK 2Writing the synopsis/outline, structure: 3-act, turning points 1.1 - 1.3
2.1 - 2.2
WEEK 3Visual language - showing, not telling. Exposition, narrative techniques of foreshadowing & planting information 1.1 - 1.3
2.1 - 2.2
WEEK 4Creating screen characters, motivation, character arcs & character biographies 1.1 - 1.3
2.1 - 2.2



Workshop synopsis & character biography




2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.2, 3.3

Discuss treatments
Screen dialogue
Script layout
2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.2, 3.3
WEEK 7Discuss treatments
Screen dialogue
 2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.2, 3.3
WEEK 8Discuss treatments
Script formatting, create scenes, write stage directions & dialogue
 2.1 - 2.2
2.3 - 2.5

Workshop treatment



2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.3




2.1 - 2.5
WEEK 11Production 
WEEK 12Production 3.3
WEEK 13Production 
WEEK 14Workshop scriptsASSIGNMENT 5:
2.3 - 2.5
WEEK 15Scripts


2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.2


2.1 - 2.5
3.1 - 3.2

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

You are expected to make full use of the Carlton library in accessing scripts and will also be expected to view films and TV programs in their own time.


Cooper, P. and Dancyger, K., 1994, Writing the Short Film, Focal Press xx.

You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through a combination of written exercises and drafting, workshopping and re-drafting written assignments.

Assessment Tasks

You must submit all pieces of assessment in order for your competency to be assessed in this course.
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.
Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through a combination of written exercises and drafting, workshopping and re-drafting written assignments.

For further information on the assessments and grading criteria, please refer to the course Blackboard site.

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete each one of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfacotyr standard.


1. Originate, develop and write 500 word story synopsis and 250 words character biography of main character from synopsis.  Present work to class for workshopping. (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.3)
Due dates:  Wk 5 (13 March)

2.  Submit story synopsis & character biog for marking. (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.3)
Due date: Wk 6 (20 March)

3.  Develop and write 2-page treatment from story synopsis and workshop. (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.3)
Due date: Wk 9 (17 April)

4.  Submit treatment for treatment. (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.3)
Due date: Wk 10 (24 April)

5.  Develop & write script (draft screenplay) from treatment, set out in industry-accepted format only. Workshop. (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.2)
Duration of script:  3 - 5 minute narrative.
Due dates: Wk 14 (22 May) and Wk 15 (29 May)



6.  Submit script (draft screenplay) for marking (Elements: 2.1 - 2.5, 3.1 - 3.2).
Due date:
Wk 16 (June 3/5)

Grading criteria for this assessment can be found on the course blackboard site.

Your assignment will be assessed using the following grades:

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 from the course contact person (stated above).

Other Information

Ethics and your work:
In this course you are required to submit work which could be broadcast to a majority audience and would meet a rating of between G and MA (follow the links on The Office of Film and Literature Classification Website - to inform yourself of criteria and also meet RMIT’s

Ethical Conduct requirements (follow the links on the RMIT Website - and Australian law with regard to vilification.
It is each student’s responsibility to acquaint him/herself with these regulations before submitting work for assessment.

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
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 include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.
Student feedback at RMIT;ID=9pp3ic9obks7

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy;ID=vj2g89cve4uj1

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;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y

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 go to Academic Integrity;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n

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