Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2015

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

Teacher: Chelsea Cassio

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

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:

 4.1 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 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
1 Introduction to the semester’s work and assessment.

Brainstorming, concept generation and story conferencing.

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

What makes a good concept for a television show? Identifying the story engine.


Assessment 1

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

Groups pitch their ideas, incorporating changes.

Assessment 1
3 The series bible


Theme - question and statement

Character - protagonist, antagonist etc., the character dynamic           

Character and story arcs.

5 Brainstorming episodes
Pitch story ideas
Assessment 2
Pitch story ideas
Assessment 2

From storyline to first draft - the process

Synopsis, treatment, scene breakdown


Identifying and resolving the A and B (and other) stories.
Set-ups and Pay-offs.



Plotting an episode




  Mid semester break - 21 September to 2 October  

Scenes and sequences

Formatting / Final Draft workshop

13 Script editing  
14 Rewriting  
15 Additional work as required  Assessment 3
16 Review course



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.
Final Draft is available on computers in the Carlton Library.

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 and once you have demonstrated competency, you will receive a grade for Assessment Task 3 (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria and grading rubric). Submission dates for tasks fall on the day you attend class.

Assessment Task 1. PARTICIPATE IN CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT (Due 6, 13 or 9, 16 July)
Over the first two weeks, you will work with others to develop a concept for a TV series. You will be assessed by observation and the submitted concept document.

Assessment Task 2. STORY PITCH (Due 10, 17 or 13, 20 August)
You will verbally pitch a story for the TV series the class has developed. The story may be for one or more episodes. You will pitch your story in class time, to the whole class. Allow for 10 minutes for your pitch. You will be assessed by observation and given feedback when you have finished. 

Assessment Task 3. SCENE BREAKDOWN AND SCRIPT (Due 26 or 29 October)
You will produce a portfolio of work that includes:

- a concept document for a TV series consisting of multiple half- or I-hour episodes.

- a scene breakdown of a half-hour episode or the first half of a 1-hour episode of the TV series that was developed by your group

- a second draft of a half-hour episode or the first half of a 1-hour episode of your TV series.

- editor’s notes.

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

CHD - Competent with High Distinction
CDI - Competent with Distinction
CC - Competent with Credit
CAG - Competency achieved – Graded
NYC - Not yet competent
DNS - Did not submit for assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix is available through the program administrator.

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.

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

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

You will receive spoken and written feedback from teachers on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.
Student feedback at RMIT

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Academic progress policy

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. You can apply in writing for up to a week’s extension from your course teacher. If you need a longer extension, you wil need to apply for special consideration. Special consideration, appeals and discipline

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Academic Integrity and plagiarism

Work Placement
It is a requirement of this program that all students participate in authentic work related tasks. These may be either simulated or in a real work environment. On occasion, we are approached by industry and given opportunities for students to apply for short term placements. When these placement opportunities arise, students are required to negotiate the specific details with the relevant program coordinator or teacher. All industry placements require students, RMIT staff and host organisations to sign a written agreement prior to the commencement of the placement.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview