Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2013

Course Code: COMM7317

Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

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

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Thursday 1.30 - 5.00:

Teacher: Noel Maloney


Thursday 5.30 - 9.00 

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


Course Description

This unit explores the skills and knowledge required to write an episode of an existing television series or serial. Television script writing is highly collaborative and requires writers to be able to work effectively with story editors, script editors and script producers. The ability to work to deadlines, meet the production requirements of a particular show and develop story creatively and efficiently in a pressured environment are some of the essential skills required by successful screenwriters.

This is the designated Work Integrated Learning (WIL) course for C6125 Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting. This course includes a WIL experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWWTV604A 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 summary 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:

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

Learning Outcomes

 On completion of this unit, you will have developed the skills to write a story, scene breakdown and first and second draft of a TV drama 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

Week Content Assessment due Competency and Elements
1 Introduction to the semester’s work and assessment.

Small groups nominate leaders and generate ideas for a television series or serial.

What makes a good concept for a television show?

Groups pitch their ideas.

2 New group leaders elected. Groups swap film/TV ideas.

Groups identify problems and changes they feel need to be made to improve the idea.

Groups pitch changes.

3 As Executive Producer, teacher proposes radical changes to group ideas.
Groups incorporate changes, while defending the ones they feel must not be changed. Groups pitch changes to.
4 Teacher chooses project.

Play a role that encourages the movement and shift of ideas within the group towards a well-conceived solution.

Create a mini Bible for the project. The leader assigns tasks to each member to get the job done on time.

Develop series concept, premise and story engine.

5 The character map. How to give a character dimensions that will produce effective story.

Develop theme.

6 Develop character.
Pitch a story idea X 5
Summative 1 1
7 Develop story.
Pitch a story idea X 5
 Summative 1  1
8 Develop story.
Pitch a story idea X 5
 Summative 1  1
Plot an episode
 Formative 1  2
10 Plot an episode  Formative 1  2
11 Plot an episode  Formative 1  2
  Mid semester break - two weeks    
12 Agree on industry standard of writing breakdowns and scripts.

Write a scene breakdown.

13 Write scenes  Formative 2  3
14 Write scenes  Formative 2  3
15 Edit scenes  Formative 3  4
16 Edit scenes

 Formative 3

Summative 2 Due



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 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

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 the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

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

Formative assessment for this course comprises three in-class exercises. In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete each of these to a satisfactory standard.

1. Participate in a series of plotting exercises
Over a period of three weeks, you will participate with others in a series of plotting meetings to develop character arcs and storylines for a TV series.

You will be assessed on your ability to contribute effective character and story ideas that are appropriate to the needs of the show, while at the same time working well with other team members.

In the team, you will also contribute to the development of a scene breakdown for an episode of the series.

2. Write five scenes
You will write a first draft of five scenes for the initial episode of the series. You will ensure these scenes follow the scene breakdown, and you will aim for writing of an extremely high quality in which character, action and dialogue move the story forward creatively and dramatically.

3. Edit five scenes
Following basic principles of editing, you will edit your writing partner’s scenes to ensure they serve the needs and conventions of the show and at the same time bring out their dramatic and creative potential.

1. Story pitch

In class time, you will pitch a story for the TV series the class has developed.

The story may be for one or more episodes.

2. Scripted Scenes

This will be a portfolio of work that includes:

- A scene breakdown of five scenes from the pilot episode of the TV series that was developed by the class.

- A second draft of these five scenes in scripted form.

- The redraft will be based on notes from your editor on your first draft. You MUST supply these notes, with the editor’s name.

Your scenes must demonstrate that you have incorporated these notes into your rewrite.

CHD Competent with high distinction
CDI Competent with distinction
CC Competent with credit
CAG Competent graded
NYC Not yet complete
DNS Did not submit

Assessment Matrix

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