Course Title: Develop storylines and treatments

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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

Phone:      03 9925 4895


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:

  • lectures
  • table readings
  • workshops
  • practical exercises
  • discussions
  • screenings
  • independent reading and research
  • writing
  • screenings

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

  • reading
  • research
  • writing
  • attending screenings and festivals
  • independent project based work 

Teaching Schedule

WEEK 1No class 

Overview of course. Skills inventory. Sample layout

An exercise: One Day in the Life

Writing the synopsis/outline


Story spine (main basic story) - main plot, subplots.

Sample script

Writing the synopsis/outline, structure: 3-act, turning points


WEEK 4Visual language - showing, not telling. Exposition, narrative techniques of foreshadowing & planting information
WEEK 7Discuss treatments
Screen dialogue
Screen layout
Assignment #1(b): Read your story synopsis and character note for feedback
WEEK 8Workshop treatments & sample scenesAssignment #2(a): Develop a 2-page treatment and sample scene via class workshopping
Easter Break  

Read treatments and sample scenes


Assignment #2(b): Read your  2-page treatment and sample scene for feedback



Workshop scripts

Assignment #3(a): Develop a 5-minute narrative script based on your treatment, set out in industry-standard format, via class workshopping

WEEK 11Production (no class) Student are to prepare assessment 3b.
WEEK 12Production (no class)  Student are to prepare assessment 3b.
WEEK 13Production (no class)  Student are to prepare assessment 3b.
WEEK 14Workshop scripts/Read and review scriptsAssignment #3(b): Facilitate a table reading of your 5-minute narrative script for feedback, and submit the completed script
WEEK 15Read and review scripts

Assignment #3(b) (cont’d): Facilitate a table reading of your 5-minute narrative script for feedback, and submit the completed script


Read and review scripts

Assignment #3(b) (cont’d): Facilitate a table reading of your 5-minute narrative script for feedback, and submit the completed script

Note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of resources.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

You are expected to make full use of the Carlton and Swanston libraries in accessing scripts and other material, and will also be asked to view films and TV programs in your own time.


Pat Cooper and Ken Dancyger, 2005, Writing the Short Film, Focal Press

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

Other Resources

Copies of scripts and other handouts to be supplied by teacher

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

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete all of the following assessment tasks to a satisfactory standard.
You will receive feedback on all assessment (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria). .

Assessment tasks in this course are graded and ungraded.

Assessment Task #1: Ungraded

(a) Originate, develop and write a 300-word story synopsis and 100-word character note for your main character via class workshopping. Due date:  Week 6 (March 16, 17, 20)

(b) Read your story synopsis & character note for feedback. Due date: Week 7 (March 23, 24, 27)

Assessment Task #2: Ungraded

(a) Develop a 2-page treatment and sample scene via class workshopping. Due date: Week 8 (March 30, 31, April 3 (no class; will cover in Week 7))

(b) Read your 2-page treatment and sample scene for feedback. Due date: Week 9 (April 13, 14, 17)

Assessment Task #3: Graded

(a). Develop a 5-minute narrative script based on your treatment, set out in industry-accepted format, via class workshopping. Due date: Week 10 (April 20, 21, 24)

(b)  Facilitate a table reading of your 5-minute narrative script for feedback, and submit the completed script. Due date: Weeks 14, 15 & 16 (May 18, 19, 22; May 25,26,27; June 1,2 5)

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

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

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