Course Title: Direct performers

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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: Alan Woodruff

9925 4982

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 and predsentations
• group discussion
• participation in teacher directed group activities/projects
• workshops

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

Teaching Schedule


Week Assess Tasks Assess tasks due
1 Preparing for direction: understanding drama and understanding the job of the actor.
Dramatic structure and analysis.
2 The building blocks of drama for director and actor. The role of the director. Aims of rehearsal.
3 Readings and rehearsals. The job of the director.
Practical workshop.
4 Exploring scenes. Text and improvisation. Task 1
Script analysis and notes.
5 Facilitating performance.
Shot lists and blocking based on actors’ improvisations.
Beats and fulcrums. Staging and shots.
6 Rehearsals and improvs as starting point for blocking, storyboarding and shot listing  
7 Formulating blocking strategies for drama.


8 Formulating shooting plans for drama.


9 Identifying key points: beats, fulcrums, scene start, scene finish. Review, analysis and discussion of previous week’s video work. Task 2
Rehearsal notes
10 Storyboards and shotlists. Preparation for shooting. Distilling observations into shots and sequences. Staging and floor plans.  
11 Directing styles, strategies and techniques surveyed and compared.  
12  On set protocols.
Procedures and roles during the shoot. Communication between director, cast and crew.
Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.
13 Practical workshop and assessments continue. Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.
14  Director and actor communication on set. Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.
15  Director and performance optimisation. Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.

 Methods and techniques reviewed.
 Scheduling for rehearsals, actors’ performances within the shoot. The acting profession - discussion.

 Task 3
Demonstration of protocols.

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.

Please check for more notes and information through the RMIT webites - access via 'MyRMIT' / 'Blackboard'.


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.)

Hagen, Ute Respect for Acting Wiley Publishing, 1973

Macaulay, Adam. Don’t tell me, show me: directors talk about acting Currency Press 2003

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

McKee, R. 1998 Story, Substance, Structure, Style and the principles of screenwriting, Methuen, London. This is a book on screenwriting, which is useful companion reading for the other acting-directing references. It is included here because of its methodical emphasis on analyzing structure of scenes and stories, which is directly relevant to the job of the director.

Meisner, Sanford. Sanford Meisner on Acting, Vintage, 1987

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

Weston, Judith Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television, 1996 This book contains some key references to practices and assessment tasks in this course.

RMIT Screen Production Guide 2014 (notes on shoot protocols).



Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)

Australian Screen Directors Association (ASDA)


Video / DVD

Holmes, P. O’Malley, J. 2004-2007 Hollywood camerawork – the master course in high-end blocking and staging.
Available for viewing in Carlton Library.

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

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment to a satisfactory standard.
You will receive feedback on all assessment and where indicated, you will receive a grade. Graded assessment tasks are equally weighted and will determine your final result for this course.

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 4

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 9


3. Demonstration of communication and protocols
Students will participate in running a set within class time to demonstrate your 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, how they relate to cast and crew and can carry them out. You will be assessed on your ability to work with the protocols, communicate your performance analysis and directions to the actors from your marked up script. You will beed to explain the reasons for doing multiple takes. Due: During class time in Weeks 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (these will be practical assessment activities scheduled throughout this period).

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

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Cover Sheet for Submissions:
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications

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.

You will receive verbal and written feedback on your work depending on the nature of individual assessment tasks. Where relevant, 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. 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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview