Course Title: Assess TV scripts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: COMM7316

Course Title: Assess TV scripts

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6125 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact: Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Noel Maloney

Teacher: Cameron Clarke


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


Course Description

The unit Assess TV Scripts develops the skills and knowledge required to analyse and assess a TV script. By exploring the various stages of the script process and examining the different script elements, you will be able to isolate and identify the flaws and strengths of various scripts. This will enable you to provide feedback to others as well as develop your own work.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWATV603A Assess TV scripts


1. Establish program requirements.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The target audience is clearly identified

1.2 The production requirements and budgetary limitations are clarified

1.3 The genre and format of the script are clearly delineated

1.4 Story and character arcs are clearly established

1.5 Script is tailored to series episode length


2. Assess script elements.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Plot and narrative construction are analysed against conventions of

the program

2.2 Style of script is examined for consistency with program style and

audience expectations

2.3 Content of script is reviewed for consistency with genre and format

2.4 Characterisations are critiqued against program conventions and

audience expectations

2.5 Script is checked for continuity


3. Redress script problems.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Script’s strengths and weaknesses are summarised

3.2 Tasks necessary for re-drafting of script are established

3.3 Appropriate strategies for re-drafting of script are prioritised

3.4 Written analysis is formatted to script department requirements and

presented punctually

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to analyse and assess a TV script

Details of Learning Activities

In class: Workshops, close script readings, class exercises, industry speakers, group discussion and presentation.

Out of class:
Independent project work, writing and reading assignments, independent study.

Teaching Schedule

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 Class contentAssessment due

Week 1


Dates for presentations
What is meant by drama action? Where do the rules come from?
What is the relationship between story and dramatic action?

Script: Breaking Bad, Pilot, Series 1, Episode 1 Writer: Vincent Gilligan
Ergonomic computer use

Exercise: Identify actions, story strands and story beats in script.

Additional readings (provided):
Aristotle, The Poetics

Week 2

What is character development?
What is characterisation?
What is conflict?
What are character and story arcs?
What is the relationship between character, conflict and story arc?
Basics story concepts: premise, dramatic question, theme, exposition
Basic story components: conflict, action, character, time, place, design etc

Script: The Slap ('Connie'). Writer: Alice Bell

Exercise: Write an additional scene for above script.

MacDonald, Ian, Screenwriting Poetics and the Screen Idea, Introduction

Week 3

What are narrative conventions? What is genre?
Identify roles in script departments
What is the relationship between production budgets and scriptwriting...and scriptwriting and conventions, genre, script requirements, story and character?

Scripts/Case Study: Episode 1, Series 1, Bed of Roses. Writers: Jutta Goetz & Elizabeth Coleman 

Exercise: Identify conventions

Exercise: Write additional scenes of given script

Week 4 

Tailor scripts to episode lengths
Work with house style and rules 
Developing conflict.
Copyright issues for contracted TV writers

Script: Dr Who, Series 10, Episode 9 ('Face the Raven'), Writer: Sarah Dollard

Exercise: write additional scenes of given script



Week 5
Themes and their importance to narrative development.
What is the relationship between theme, character and story?

Battlestar Galactica: bible
The Wire: bible


Assessment 1.
Write Three Scenes
Week 6
How do plotting requirements differ between formats?
How do formats effect plotting?
Point of view (P.O.V). 

Scripts: The Missing, Episode 1, Series 1. Writers: Harry and Jack Williams

Exercise: Plot additional scenes for given script. Play with P.O.V.

Week 7

How do you structure a scene effectively?

Imagery. Big print. Telling story with pictures. What cameras can do.

What is the relationship between dramatic action and image?

Putting dialogue into the picture.

Script: Happy Valley, Episode 1, Series 1: Writer: Sally Wainwright

Exercise: rewrite a scene from first assessment.


Week 8

Review tools for assessing strengths and weaknesses:
  • dramatic action
  • character development
  • plotting
  • scene structure
  • subtext
  • imagery
  • dialogue

Script: The Insider’s Guide to Love, Series1, Episode 1: ‘Fallen In Love Lately?’ Writer: David Brechin-Smith

Exercise: in-class script report 

Script provided for Assessment 2: Write a Script Report

Week 9

One-on-one sessions with teacher


Week 10 


Serial TV Writing

Story plotting
Scene breakdowns

Script: Neighbours

Additional Readings:
Sample script reports

Macdonald, Ian, Screenwriting Poetics and the Screen Idea, Ch 5


Assessment 2 Due:
Write a Script Report


MID SEMESTER BREAK: Please note there will be no classes from Friday 14 April through to Friday 21 April inclusive .

Week 11

Please note that there are no classes on Tuesday 25 April, due to Anzac Day holiday.

Week 12

Serial TV writing 

Story stranding in an episode and over a season
Audience expectation
Building irony, suspense and curiosity

Script: Neighbours

Guest lecturer: TBC

Exercise: participate in a plotting session

Thompson, Kristin Storytelling in Film and Television.

Week 13
Adapt to different house/show styles.


Week 14Presentations.Assessment 3 Due:
Present a Critique of Produced TV Drama Series
Week 15Presentations.Assessment 3 Due:
Present a Critique of Produced TV Drama Series
Week 16 
Assessment 3 Due:
Present a Critique of Produced TV Drama Series

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

All course material will be provided in class

All course materials will be provided in printed form. However digital copies of scripts are also available on blackboard. Students with laptops or tablets are encouraged to download scripts and bring them to class as digital editions. Suggested Texts: (not required)
Top Shelf 1 & 2, Ed, Greg Haddrick, AFTRS, Currency Press 2001
Storytelling in Film and Television, Kristin Thompson, Harvard Uni Press, 2003


Extracts, readings and additional references are provided throughout the course. In addition to hard copy handouts, some readings are made available on Blackboard, and others can be accessed via the web. Recommended books will be discussed in class. You are advised to visit Blackboard for ongoing updated information

Other Resources

Students will require internet access and word processing software. 

Overview of Assessment

Assessment  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 all of the following assessment tasks to a satisfactory standard. You will receive written feedback on all assessment (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria). Submission dates for tasks fall on the day you attend class.

Assessment 1. Write Three Scenes
Working with a given script, identify an opportunity to write a sequence of three scenes that will further develop the story. The scenes will be between 60 secs and two minutes, and will advance the story, while remaining stylistically and dramatically appropriate to the series.

Due: Week 5, Tues 7 March

Assessment 2. Write a Script Report
You will write a 1500-word script report of a previously unseen TV drama script, in which you will assess the effectiveness of its various elements including character, dialogue, big print and plot construction.

Due: Week 10, 11 April

Assessment 3. Present a Critique of a Produced TV Drama Series Episode
You will assess a produced episode of a TV series. In particular you will consider the relationships between the plot, character, performance, direction and editing. How well do these elements work together? What tensions exist between them?

You will present your assessment in class, and you will be assessed on your presentation. Allow 10 minutes for your presentation, and 10 minutes for discussion.

The focus of this activity is on the produced episode. However, you are welcome to also reference the written script of the episode, if it is available.

Due: Week 14, 15 or 16 (16, 23, 30 May), on a day and time negotiated with your teacher.

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

80 – 100% CHD - Competent with High Distinction
70 – 79% CDI - competent with Distinction
60 – 69% CC - competent with Credit
50 – 59% CAG - competency achieved – Graded
NYC - not yet competent

For further information on the assessment and grading criteria, please refer to the course Blackboard site. 

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. The assessment matrix for this course can be found on Blackboard or from your teacher.

Other Information

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

How to submit work
Your assessment brief will specify how you should submit your work – as hard copy, digital copy or electronically through Blackboard. When you submit your work, you must include a declaration of authorship.

For submissions on Blackboard, you need to agree to an assessment declaration when you submit.

For all other submissions, you must complete and sign a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work.;ID=x3ddsmsrwa1hz

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises. We strongly advise that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

We request that you speak to your teacher if regular attendance becomes difficult.

Assessment feedback
You will receive spoken and written feedback on all your work.  Where relevant, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.;ID=qwxbqbg739rl1

Student progress
Monitoring academic progress is helps us to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to assessment
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.;ID=kehn9bz22r41

Academic integrity and plagiarism
Academic integrity is about the honest presentation of work that is your own. RMIT University has a clear policy on plagiarism (see web page for more detail).

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Credit Transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies only if you have previously successfully demonstrated competence in a unit of competency, and now require to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer, RPL, or RCC for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview