Course Title: Direct performers

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: VART5923C

Course Title: Direct performers

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6087 - Advanced 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

Teacher: Janis Lesinskis


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

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to direct performers during the filming or recording of productions. You participate in a series of classes and workshops aimed at familiarizing you with key elements of working with actors and directors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFDRT502A Direct performers


1 Prepare for actual Production

Performance Criteria:

Brief performers about any specific technical requirements in collaboration with relevant production personnel where necessary.

Establish appropriate lines of communication between relevant production personnel to ensure smooth running of production

Inform and update relevant production personnel of changes in production requirements that may have occurred since final rehearsals.

Review relevant dramatic elements dealt with in rehearsals.

Throughout actual production activity, run through scenes with performers immediately prior to recording where time allows.


2 Facilitate performances

Performance Criteria:

Create an appropriate environment to maximise performances and characterisations, including conduct of appropriate warm-up activities.

Ensure appropriate OHS requirements are met in line with enterprise procedures.

Communicate with relevant production personnel clearly and provide constructive feedback throughout production process.

Identify and rectify creative problems throughout production in collaboration with relevant production personnel.

Ensure performers are kept informed of filming order of scenes as required.

Assist performers throughout the entire production to understand desired mise en scene effect, size of each shot or framing, and their role in the context of whole shot or scene.

Engage performers in the control of the narrative by use of techniques that allow for character sub text


3 Wrap productions.

Performance Criteria:

Check all scenes are recorded and complete, including spot checks of actual recordings for quality and accuracy.

Stand down production crew and complete necessary documentation according to enterprise procedures.

Make arrangements for additional production requirements as required and ensure relevant production personnel are informed appropriately.

Evaluate all aspects of the shoot from a director's perspective, including own performance, and note areas for improvement.

Provide positive feedback to relevant production personnel and invite comment on the shoot.

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

In class learning activities include, but are not limited to:
• lectures
• group discussion
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• workshops

Out of class activities include, but are not limited to:
• online research
• independent project based work

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 Content Summary Assess Tasks Elements Covered
1 Core responsibilities of director. Blocking, modify performances, quality control.
Understanding drama and understanding the job of the actor.
Dramatic structure and analysis.
  1 & 2
2 The building blocks of drama for director and actor. The role of the director. Aims of rehearsal.
Formative assessment: Identify character objectives and beats in given scene.
Task 1
Script notes.
 1 & 2
3 Concepts and schools of thought in acting. Actor training, preparation and exercises.    1 & 2
4 Readings and rehearsals. The job of the director.
Practical workshop.
   1 & 2
5 Facilitating performance.
Shot lists and blocking based on actors’ improvisations.
Beats and fulcrums. Staging and shots.
   1 & 2
6 Rehearsals and improvs as starting point for blocking, storyboarding and shot listing    1 & 2
7 Rehearsals: Improv, experimentation, and actors’ input. Task 2
observe actors playing scene, directors notes


 1 & 2
8 Formulating storyboards for drama. Task 2 (cont.)
Mark up video.


 1 & 2
9 Identifying key points: beats, fulcrums, scene start, scene finish. Review, analysis and discussion of previous week’s video work. Task 2 (cont.)
Mark up video.
 1 & 2
10 Storyboards and shotlists. Preparation for shooting. Distilling observations into shots and sequences. Staging and floor plans.    1 & 2
11 The acting profession. Screenings. Discussion.    1 & 2 & 3
12  On set protocols.
Procedures and roles during the shoot. Communication between director, cast and crew.
Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.
 1 & 2 & 3
13 Practical workshop and assessments continue. Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.
 1 & 2 & 3
14  Director and actor communication on set. Task 4
Director strategies.
 1 & 2 & 3
15  Director and performance optimisation. Task 4
Director strategies.
 1 & 2 & 3
16  Methods and techniques reviewed.
 Scheduling rehearsals, actors performances within the shoot.
   1 & 2 & 3

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information and course resource materials on a weekly basis. Class notes will be placed there for you.


Proferes, Nicholas T. Film Directing Fundamentals Elsevier/Focal Press, 2008 (electronic copy available via RMIT netLibrary)

Mamet, David On directing film. New York : Penguin, 1992
(available RMIT building 94 library Call No. 791.430233 M264)

2011 RMIT Screen Production Guide (notes on shoot protocols).

Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)

Australian Screen Directors Association (ASDA)

Other Resources

Access to the internet may be required for some research tasks. Please check facilities offered by RMIT (eg library access to the WWW.)

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester and will involve practical exercises, workshops knowledge assessment tasks and group projects.

Assessment 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 more substantial summative assessment tasks.
To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete each of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

For further information on the grading system please refer to the course Blackboard site. 

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

1. Mark up a script with notes on character objectives, obstacles, beats and fulcrums.
A script will be provided for analysis in class for dramatic analysis. The aim of this type of analysis is to examine the source of drama in a particular screenplay.
You will be required to mark precise points in the script where there is evidence or suggestion of: characters’ objectives, obstacles to those objectives, beats (for actor), and fulcrums (potential turning points).
Marked up script. Due: Week 2

2. analysis of actors performing scene.
Students will be required to make a record / take notes to observe and comment on actors as they work their way through a scene. This will be used to analyse and mark the significant dramatic moments in the scene. Each discernable pursuit of an objective, obstacles to those objectives, beats (actor), and fulcrum (potential turning points) will need to be identified, marked and described briefly. You will present your own analysis and opinion on each moment you think has significant potential as an actor’s beat, a narrative beat, a potential cutting point as well as good points to enter and leave the scene.
Due: Week 7

3. Demonstration of protocols
Students will participate in running a set within class time to demonstrate their understanding of on-set shooting protocols. You will be required to participate in a number of roles including director and 1stAD in order to present evidence you understand the protocols and can carry them out. Each student will be assessed on their ability to work with the protocols, communicate their directions to the actors and their reasons for doing multiple takes. Due: During class time in Weeks 12, 13

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (graded assessment)

4. Review of techniques and strategies.
Each student will be required to summarise the techniques and strategies for directing actors/performers they have identified and intend to use in their coming production. You will be asked to comment briefly on each of the following topics in class with reference to your next major production: 1) How you intend conduct you dramatic analysis of scenes, 2) how you intend using the input of your actors, 3) what you see as the purpose of your rehearsals, 4)how you intend to convey what you want from actors, 5) methods you would try to use to modify actors’ performances, 6)how you intend to give feedback to actors.
Due: Week 14.

Grades used in this course are as follows:
CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI  Competent with Distinction
CC  Competent with Credit
CAG  Competence Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS  Did Not Submit for Assessment

For further details on these assessment tasks and the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

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

Ethics and your work:

In this course you are required to 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 meets RMIT’s Ethical Conduct requirements (follow the links on the RMIT website- and Australian law with regard to vilification (including the Racial Vilification Act 1996.)
It is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with these regulations before submitting work for assessment. The “Statement of Guiding Principals (1.1)” listed in the “RMIT code of conduct for research” (which can be found in the RMIT website) apply to screen and media students’ dealings with RMIT staff, students and people outside of RMIT University (including actors, government, police, businesses at all stages of casting, rehearsal, and shooting of student productions.)

In line with this requirement the majority content of your film productions must be approved and signed off by your production supervisor (a Screen and media teacher) one month ahead of the first day of photography.

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)

Student Feedback
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