Course Title: Write an episode of a TV series

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2017

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 Email:

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
• teacher directed group activities/projects 
• class exercises to review discussions/lectures 
• peer teaching and class presentations 
• group discussion 
• analysis/critique of students’ writings 

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

Teaching Schedule



Assessment due


Introduction to the semester’s work and assessment.

From storyline to first draft - the process. Synopsis, treatment, scene breakdown, drafts.

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

Identify TV series suitable to write for.

Brainstorming, story generation and story conferencing.




The Series Bible – premise, logline, synopsis, characters and character arcs, story arcs, genre, audience, format, theme.

Brainstorm and workshop episode ideas.



Pitch episode ideas.


 Assessment 1


Pitching cont.

 Assessment 1


Episode structure


A and B stories

Set Up and Pay Off

The Scene Breakdown



Scene Breakdown cont.



Scene Structure – Dramatic question, wants, needs, goals, values, conflict, subtext, character revelation, exposition, power shifts, drama.

Assessment 2





 Big Print






 Editing cont.



Mid semester break - 18–29 September






Table reads



Table reads



Table reads

 Assessment 3


Review course



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Resources will be available in class and on the course Blackboard site.

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. PITCHING (Due Wednesday 19 or 26 July; Friday 21 or 28 July)

You will verbally pitch a story for an existing TV series. 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 2. SCENE BREAKDOWN (Due Wednesday 16 August; Friday 18 August)
You will write and submit a scene breakdown for a 24 minute episode you will develop in class. 

Assessment Task 3. SCRIPT (Due Wednesday 25 October; Friday 27 October)
You will write a script for a 24 minute episode based upon your scene breakdown. To be table read in class.

Once you have demonstrated competency, the 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

For the assessment matrix please consult the program administrator.

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.

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