Course Title: Conduct research

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: COMM5916C

Course Title: Conduct research

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6088 - Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting

Course Contact : Program administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Chris Anastassiades
Phone: 9925 4908

Nominal Hours: 30

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

The unit Conduct Research delivers the skills and knowledge required to research effectively within the operating conditions experienced by screenwriters.
It is taught within the course Elements of Screenwriting and is delivered and assessed alongside the competency Originate and Develop Concepts which looks at the skills and knowledge required for you to develop your ideas for the screen

The unit Conduct Research (CUFRES401A) is delivered and assessed alongside Originate and Develop Concepts (BSBCRT501A)

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFRES401A Conduct research


1. Clarify research brief.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Confirm topic or content to be researched with relevant personnel , including deadlines for completion
1.2 Identify research and data gathering techniques that best meet the requirements of the brief

1.3 Discuss research ideas fully and constructively with relevant personnel and identify any implications for research briefs

1.4 Reach agreement with relevant personnel on the format for presenting research findings

1.5 Identify issues of a culturally sensitive or legal nature that affect research briefs

1.6 Alert relevant personnel to potential difficulties in meeting briefs and agree on alternative strategies or outcomes

1.7 Where specialist research expertise is required, identify potential subcontractors and organise subcontract arrangements in consultation with relevant personnel


2. Conduct research.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify sources of information and potential contributors relevant to research briefs

2.2 Design research tools as required

2.3 Contact a sufficiently wide range of valid sources to optimise information gathering in line with research briefs and agreed methodology

2.4 Approach relevant sources promptly and in a way most likely to elicit the required information

2.5 Adjust research strategies as required, without compromising required outcomes

2.6 Maintain accurate and comprehensive details of information sources

2.7 Adjust contact information when requirements of research briefs change and keep records up to date

2.8 Record all data gathered in a system that allows easy access and retrieval of information in the analysis phase


3. Analyse research findings.

Performance Criteria:

3.2 Check all facts before including them in research findings

3.3 Make judgements about how much information to include in research findings and be clear on the rationale for doing so


4. Present research findings.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Organise information logically and clearly in the agreed format

4.2 Present information to relevant personnel by agreed deadlines

4.3 Identify key issues for further research or discussion with relevant personnel

4.4 Seek feedback on the quality of research outcomes and note areas for improvement

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to conduct research in response to a brief

Details of Learning Activities

In this course you learn through:
1. In-class activities:
industry speakers
teacher directed group activities/projects
peer teaching and class presentations
group discussion
class exercises to review discussions/lectures
workshopping of students’ own projects
analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

2. Out-of-class activities:
independent project based work
writing and reading assignments
online and other research
independent study

Teaching Schedule

Week StartingContent                                                                      
Assessment due
Week 1

Why Research? – Explores the value of research, not only as a way of assuring accuracy but to unearth original and unique ‘takes’ on a theme. We also explore the importance of understanding and defining your goals in regard to doing research and finding your inner interviewer through exercises.
Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities CUFRES401A
Clarify research brief
Week 2 

Secondary Sources As Springboards – Explores the use of secondary sources in identifying story and theme as well as using impressions from research as a way of creating fictional characters who ‘represent’ aspects of both. Exercise – as a class students examine a significant historical event to reach a common understanding of the themes presented then, in smaller groups explore the event in greater depth to ‘create’ a character and story that relates the events via their unique view/bias.
Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities
Develop a range of creative approaches CUFRES401A
Clarify research brief
Week 3

The Brief – Explores the notion of fulfilling a brief that requires research and the presentation of that research in dramatic form. Defining the brief and its parameters, responding personally to the brief and how this informs research. This session includes a Guest Speaker who will relate their experiences in Q&A. HOMEWORK: Students to prepare proposals for a project for presentation to class. This presentation will include information on theme, story and viability.
Develop a range of creative approaches CUFRES401A Conduct research
Week 4

Pitch Session – Students to present their proposals to the class for consideration. Through discussion, the most popular and viable projects are identified and groups allocated. A decision is then taken on the form of the project. Homework: Students to watch and gather information in regard to the form their project has taken.

Develop a range of creative approaches CUFRES401A
Analyse research findings.

Week 5

Short Form Scripts – Explores the characteristics and parameters of short form works, the episodic script vs the stand alone short, writing to budgets and other constraints, keeping the theme alive. Also, we will have an examination of roles in a script process. Exercises in class will consist of students sharing their findings as a whole class then returning to their groups to produce an outline of an episode of their concept.
Develop a range of creative approaches. CUFRES401A
Analyse research findings.
Week 6

The Concept Bible – Explores the requirements of a concept bible and examines the difference between a writer’s bible and one designed for pitching in regard to how the information is presented. We compare recurring characters vs one off film characters, the concept as a story ‘engine’, what a CB should look like, episodic story, the role of the story arc, limits, such as finite locations and actors, etc. Exercises centre on students working in groups to ‘fill gaps’ in their concepts.
Develop a range of creative approaches. CUFRES401A
Analyse research findings.

Week 7

Character And Story Workshop (1) – Using various workshop techniques, students will explore and expand their concepts to hone characters and create story kernels, deliberately avoiding the series arc. This work is to be done in session only with one or two from each group allocated to collate the notes through the week. BSBCRT501A
Develop a range of creative approaches. CUFRES401A
Analyse research findings.
Week 8

Character And Story Workshop (2) – Students to review their work and identify areas for improvement/editing. Among questions explored – How effectively is the brief being met? Are there gaps that can be filled through further research? Etc. The concept is finalised and material for the bible allocated for writing. Homework – writing the concept bible to be presented for assessment and for pitching purposes.
Develop a range of creative approaches.
Analyse research findings
Week 9

Bible Presentation/Feedback – Groups to present their concepts to whole class and field questions from class and teacher. Exercise – the writer’s room pitch in which students are to treat the class as though they were a group of writers chosen to write the show to who they are delivering the brief.Assessment 1(Concept bible) due BSBCRT501A  Develop a range of creative approaches.Conduct research - CUFRES401A 
Analyse research findings
Mid-semester break
Week 10

The Pilot Script – Explores the role of the pilot – as a set up tool, as a stand-alone story, as a representation of the show and examines ways to create a pilot that draws immediate attention to the show. Slow burn vs sensational. Establishing the arc in the pilot. Exercises include examining the elements of each show that are most original/impactful and how to present them in a pilot. A first draft outline and sample scenes to be written. BSBCRT501A
Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities.
Develop a range of creative approaches.
Conduct research. Analyse research findings.
Week 11

The Series Arc – Explores plotting the series arc by examining different shows as models from very arc-driven series to episodic shows with reference to an over-all story, when an ‘arc’ is really a dressed up serial. Choosing the model most suited to our concepts based on the audience we expect to attract. Our research/theme to serve as the basis of our arc. Groups to identify their concepts and what model works best for them. Homework – groups to have a completed arc document including an episodic breakdown and a completed pilot by next week.Assessment 2 (Pilot script) due
Conduct research. Analyse research findings.
Present research findings.
Week 12

The Table Read – Split class; First half - Groups are paired and present their arcs to each other, then read their pilot scripts, take feedback and make amendments to script. Second half – each script is performed in its amended form to the whole class and further feedback is given. Homework – Final draft of the pilot script and Series Arc document for assessment to be handed in the following week. BSBCRT501A  
Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities.
Develop a range of creative approaches.
Week 13

Story-Lining Workshop – Using various workshop techniques, story kernels are expanded to include arc information as the last step from concept bible to writer’s bible. Each story to be examined in regard to the series known parameters – budgetary, thematic, genre, style, etc. Final selection of the stories is made. Scripts allocated. BSBCRT501A  
Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities.
Develop a range of creative approaches.
Week 14

Breaking Stories – Examines the process of turning stories into scene breakdowns, the role of the scene breakdown in the process (as a production tool), the information it should contain, etc. Exercise – A single story is taken through this stage and broken down in class with each student to write their own version. Homework – Students to break down their stories and write rough first drafts.Assessment 3 (A script from the proposed series) due BSBCRT501A
Refine concepts .
Develop concepts to an operational level.
Week 15

The Stages to Final Draft/Editing A Script – Explores the script editor’s role in the process and the notion of the individual script becoming a part of a whole as it strives to meet various criteria. Exercise – the story from the previous class, now a script, is subjected to a table read and an edit and is redrafted in class. Homework – Final drafts of episode scripts to be written for submission for assessment.

Refine concepts.
Develop concepts to an operational level.

 Week 16

 Feedback – Individual groups to book times to receive feedback on their concepts – in regard to their cohesion, whether they have fulfilled the research/thematic brief, etc - and discuss future directions. Final draft scripts to be handed in.
Develop a range of creative approaches.
Refine concepts.
Develop concepts to an operational level.
 Week 17

 Assessment Week - no classes

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Handouts, DVD/video presentations, screenplays etc. The class website, Blackboard, can be accessed via the web.


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

Other Resources

You need access to a computer and the internet

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks. 


Assessment Tasks

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

Assessment 1: Concept bible. Due week beginning April 2, 2012 (20%)
You produce a concept bible of no more than 10 pages – to be produced as a group

Assessment 2:  Pilot script. Due week beginning April 23, 2012 (30%)
Working as a group, you write a pilot script (5-7 pages) and series arc document (1-2 pages), describing how the research performed is going to be covered in the series – to be produced as a group – 30% of overall mark

Assessment 3:  A script from the proposed series. Due week beginning May 14, 2012 (40%)
A script from the proposed series – one to be produced by each individual student

Assessment 4:  Class work (10%)
Class work in the form of exercises

Grades used in this course are as follows:
80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

For further information on 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

Submission of Assessment Tasks
You are required to submit all assessment tasks in hard copy with a completed School of Media and Communication cover sheet. You are expected to keep a copy of all assignments submitted.

Late Submissions
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension before that due date.
Please refer to the course blackboard site for information on late submissions and on applying for an extension.

You will receive both spoken and written feedback on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity is about the honest presentation of your academic work. Presenting work that fails to acknowledge other people’s work within yours can compromise academic integrity. For further information on academic integrity and plagiarism, please refer to the following URL.;ID=kkc202lwe1yv

Special Consideration Policy
Please refer to the following URL for information on applying for special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1




Course Overview: Access Course Overview