Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2012

Course Code: COMM5922

Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

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: Noel Maloney


Teacher: Ben Michael


Nominal Hours: 70

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

At RMIT you are required to have completed Assess TV Scripts (COMM5921) before enrolling in Write an episode of a TV series.
At RMIT Collaborate in a Creative Process (MKTG5778C) is delivered and assessed together with Write an episode of a TV series (COMM5922)

Course Description

The unit Write an episode of a TV series develops the skills and knowledge required to write an episode as TV series as a commissioned piece. The unit is delivered and assessed within the course Write TV, which is made up of three competencies:
1. Assess TV Scripts COMM5921
2. Collaborate in a creative process MKTG5778C
3. Write an episode of a TV series COMM5922
Assess TV Scripts is delivered and assessed in Semester 1.
The units Write an episode of a TV series and Collaborate in a creative process are delivered together and assessed separately in Semester 2. 

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VPAU307 Write an episode of a TV series


1. Develop a story in a team

Performance Criteria:

1.1 A sustainable dramatic premise and dramatic question for the episode are outlined
1.2 Story ideas are pitched appropriate to the show’s requirements
1.3 Character arcs and story suitable for program length are designed
1.4 Story of approximately one page is written which communicates the basic premise, dramatic question and central characters and main story sections of the episode


2. Write a scene breakdown

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Contributions are made by writer in a team towards the plotting of an episode
2.2 Major and minor story strands are devised and integrated
2.3 Major turning points are created according to show’s conventions
2.4 Dramatically effective character arcs are plotted
2.5 Scene breakdown that communicates the essential story beats scene by scene is written up
2.6 Scene breakdown is delivered to deadline


3. Write a first draft of a script

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Scenes are established according to the approved scene breakdown
3.2 Each scene is developed to advance the story
3.3 Dialogue is drafted appropriate to character
3.4 Vision is created to move story effectively
3.5 Point of view is established and maintained
3.6 Continuity is maintained


4. Write a second draft of a script

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Notes from script editor are incorporated into second draft
4.2 Exposition is dramatically integrated
4.3 Scenes are deleted or added to strengthen story and develop character
4.4 Unnecessary dialogue is removed

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to write an episode of a TV series

Details of Learning Activities

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

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

In the second semester of the course, Write TV you will be working independently in teams and as individuals, writing scenes for a TV series. You will be expected to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week outside of class time working on this project, and to bring your work regularly to class for workshopping and to receive feedback from your teacher and your peers.

Teaching Schedule

WeekContentAssessment dueCompetency and Elements
1Introduction to the semester’s work and assessment.
Collaborating in a creative process – overview and exploration of :
• the role of a leader in a collaboration
• the idea of ethical behaviour
• developing a philosophy of trust

Class is divided into groups of four. Each comes up with an idea for a Television show or Film. Each group chooses a leader. It’s the leader’s job to harness the ideas and talents of the group. To sort out problems and keep to the set deadlines.
At the session’s end each group pitches their idea.
  VAU307 – 1
BSBCRT402A – 1/2
2How to successfully voice disagreements within a group

Group leaders change groups. New leaders elected. Groups swap film/TV ideas with other groups. This week the challenge is for the group to come up with a list of problems and changes they feel need to be made to improve the project. Time is left at the end of each class to explain the suggested changes to the group who originated the idea.
  VAU307 – 1
BSBCRT402A – 1/2

How to let go of your own vanity and ego to allow new ideas to emerge. How to move on from initial positions and embrace new and unpredictable ideas as they emerge.
Group leaders from previous week move to a new group(one they have yet to be part of).
This week the teacher will play Executive Producer and request radical changes to the groups’ project. The group must work out how to include most of the changes while defending the ones they feel must not be changed. The leader makes a pitch to the teacher and class about how they’ve tackled the request for radical change.

  VAU307 – 1
BSBCRT402A – 1/3
4/5Play a role that encourages the movement and shift of ideas within the group towards a well-conceived solution.
Group leaders change to a new group.
Creating a mini Bible for the project. The leader assigns tasks to each member to get the job done on time. Leader assess the work that’s been done and suggests room for improvement in a manner that will get results but keep professional relationships in tact.
  VAU307 – 1
BSBCRT402A – 1/3
6What makes a good concept for a television show. Group to decide project we will be working on. Perhaps using the shows we worked on during Collaborate in a creative process.

Character. How to gives characters dimensions. The character map.
  VAU307 – 1
7Plotting. Story beats.
How can we tell our story in the most effective manner.
  VAU307 –1/2
8Plotting and assembling episodes. Storylining.

Reflecting on level of participation, relationships with others and personal behaviour in collaboration.
  VAU307 1/2
BSBCRT402A – 3
9Scene breakdowns.
First assignment, produce a five scene run of a scene breakdown.
  VAU307 – 2
10Editing scene breakdowns.  VAU307 – 2
11Writing exercises. Getting started. The principles of good writing. Doing the first scenes for our show.  VAU307 – 3
12Class discussion and feedback on written scenes.
Second assignment. Write four scenes from the show we’re working on.
Assessment 2 Due VAU307 – 3
13Writing action. Writing romance.  VAU307 – 3
14Writing comedy Assessment 3 due VAU307 – 3
15Editing scripts.
Final assignment. Edit the work of another student.
  VAU307 – 3/4
16Editing continued.
Third and fourth drafts. The art of the extra polish.
Course wrap up. Getting work in the industry. Examples of real life script problems and solutions.
Assessment 1 due VAU307 – 4
17Assessment Week  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Any prescribed reading material will be distributed in class


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

Other Resources

You will require access to a computer and to the internet

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is on going 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.

For BSBCRT402A Collaborate In a Creative Process

Assessment 1. Reflective Journal, Collaboration with Others
Due date: Week 16
You are to keep a reflective journal in which you review and analyse the collaborative process you and your group went through this semester.

This unit is assessed as CA or NYC

For VPAU307 Write an Episode of a TV Series

Assessment 2. Storyline, Scene Breakdown, Scene Sequence
Due date: Week 14
This unit is graded - Percentage Weighting: 60%
You are to produce a storyline for an episode, write five sequential scenes in the house scene breakdown style decided on by the class, and write these scenes as a first draft. You will be assessed on staying in house style, keeping character voices, selling the plot points and character arcs of the scenes.

Assessment 3. Editing
Competency addressed:
Due date: Week 16
Percentage Weighting: 40%
You are given five scenes from a fellow class member. You then edit the script, taking on board the script notes delivered by the teacher and fellow class members.

Assessment 1 will be assessed as CA or NYC
Assessments 2 and 3 will be graded.

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

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 written 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 program 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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview