Course Title: Script edit a feature film

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: COMM7326

Course Title: Script edit a feature film

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: Chris Anastassiades
Phone: 03 9925 4514

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

In this unit you will develop the knowledge and skills required by a script editor to work with a writer, either through a film production company or independently, to edit and develop a feature length script.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

ASWSEF613A Script edit a feature film


1. Build partnerships

Performance Criteria:

1.1 A working relationship with the scriptwriter, producer and/or director is developed and maintained
 1.2 Assistance is given to the writer to clearly communicate his/her story and
 1.3 A project schedule is negotiated concerning target dates for rewrites, revisions and the final deadline for delivery


2. Assist writer to develop script

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The structure, themes and genre of the story are identified
 2.2 Consensus is built around the strengths and development needs of the script
 2.3 Story, structure and character problems are identified
 2.4 A review is undertaken of any rewrites and a written analysis given to the writer
 2.5 Assistance is given to the writer in the preparation of logline and synopsis for the new draft
 2.6 Goals for subsequent drafts are determined


3. Write a script report

Performance Criteria:

3.1 A script report is written to specifications of the funding body or production company
 3.2 Feasibility of script is clearly evaluated
 3.3 Story, theme, character development and structure are clearly assessed

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate your competency in the above elements and will be able to edit a feature length film script. This is normally done in association with other screen professionals such as fellow editors, directors and a production team.

Details of Learning Activities

In this course, you learn through:
1. In-class activities:
• lectures
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• industry speakers
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• workshopping of students’ own projects

2. Out-of-class activities:
• independent and group project based work
• online and other research
• discussion and comment via blackboard
• independent study

Teaching Schedule



The role of the script editor. Introduction, course aims and objectives. Assessment requirements.
Exercise: Self-Reflection – What do I look for in a film? What are my biases/preferences? Presentation.
Homework - Students to read everyone’s work by week 4.

1, 2

How to interview a writer. Formulating questions for the writer. Listening. Seeking intent, identifying genre, themes, prospective audience, etc. Role of research.
Exercise: Interview two writers. Presentation.

 1, 2 

Reading scripts. Finding your process as an editor. One process examined. Simple note taking, reactions, observations, preparing a list of script questions for the second interview. Prospective partnerships identified.
Exercise – Break down a sequence of script. Presentation.
Homework – Students to prepare a list of script questions on three scripts they have read in preparation for 30 minute interview. Due next class.

 1, 2Formative Assessment 1:
Breakdown of scenes. Presentation in class

Choosing a work partner. Script questions presented to 3 different writers in one on one interviews. Work partner is chosen.
Homework: Students to re-read their own and partners scripts in preparation for next class.



What is the story about? Breaking the film down into plot, genre, theme and identifying the ongoing tension.
Exercise: Work with the writer to a) articulate the plot, b) describe theme and genre and c) identify the effect on audience. Ask for examples. Negotiate possible changes.

1,  2

 Formative Assessment 2: Development schedule

Who is the story about? Examining the journey of the protagonist through the script.
Exercise: Work with the writer to identify the protagonist’s goal, their involvement at key points of the script and the stakes, both personal and ‘global’. Negotiate possible changes.



How is the story told? Examining structural models. Key points of three act and two act structure. Is the writer using a ‘system’?
Exercise: Work with the writer to identify the key points/scenes in the story, whether they work and where they sit. Negotiate possible changes.
Homework – Both writer and editor to write a brief synopsis of story in preparation for next class.



Reconciling the vision. Comparing and reconciling synopses to formulate the basis of a re-drafting plan.
Presentation – Read out synopses to compare.
Exercise: Negotiate with the writer to formulate a new synopsis that best represents the story of the film. Set this as the writer’s task to be completed by next class.

9What scenes do. Examining the requirements of scenes, their structure, their place, etc.
Exercise:  “A scene that’s always bothered me…” Editor to choose a scene that has caused them problems and ask the writer questions about it.
Homework – Re-read act one. Note page count, position of key points – opening, inciting incident, articulation of protagonist’s goal, articulation of theme, articulation of stakes, introduction of protagonist, introduction of antagonist/antagonistic force, move into new world.


Formative Assessment 3: New one page synopsis of film


Breaking down the script (1). Opening to first act turn. Examining the requirements of a first act.
Exercise – Make a scene by scene list with the writer. Ask the following yes/no questions. Is it in the right place? Does it progress story? Does it illuminate character? Is it working to its full potential? Is the scene necessary? In one word – structure, dialogue, length, etc, jot down the main problem.

PLEASE NOTE: There are no classes from Friday 18 April through to Friday 25 April.

11Breaking down the script (2) First act turn to mid-point. Examining the requirements of the first part of act two.
Exercise – As above.


12Breaking down the script (3) Mid-point to second act turn. Examining the requirements of the second part of act two.
Exercise: As above.
Homework – Re-read act two from mid-point to second act turn. Note page count, position of key scenes, the mid-point aftermath, the new plan or goal, the character turns, the false defeat or dark moment of the protagonist, the new information leading to the third act. 


13Breaking down the script (4) Second act turn to resolution. Examining third act requirements.
Exercise: As above.
Homework – Re-read the third act. Note page count, position of key scenes, the climax, the false resolution, the twist, the resolution.



Gathering the data. Consolidating the data using the synopsis as the guide to formulate a set of notes/script report. The layouts of these two separate documents, lengths. Their functions.

15Delivering feedback. Students to book times monitored by teacher.

 1, 2, 3

Summative Assessment:
Script notes – delivered to writer in Week 15 or 16 (as negotiated) under teacher supervision.
Script Report – Of no more than 6 pages, including a synopsis. Delivered by Week 15 or 16 (as negotiated).


 Delivering feedback. As above.



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

While there are no prescribed texts you are strongly advised to make use of the listings of recommended reading and viewing posted on Blackboard, which will be updated on an ongoing basis.


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

Other Resources

You will require access to a computer and the internet for this course. RMIT will provide you with further resources and tools for learning through our online systems and access to specialized facilities and relevant software. You will also have full access to the extensive RMIT library resources.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Assessment will incorporate a range of methods to assess performance and the application of knowledge and skills and will include: participation in class exercises, oral presentations and practical writing and script editing  tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks in both courses course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are ungraded and will be assessed as either Competent (CA) or Not Yet Competent (NYC).

To demonstrate competency in this course you need to complete the following piece of assessment to a satisfactory standard. It will be assessed as Competent (CA) or Not Yet Competent (NYC).

Formative Assessment
1. Breakdown of scenes. Presentation in class. Due Week 3
2. Development schedule of due dates and stages. Due Week 5
3.New one page synopsis of film. Due Week 9

Summative Assessment
Script notes on your writing partner’s project – to be delivered to writer in Week 15 or 16 (as negotiated) under teacher supervision.
Script Report – Of no more than 6 pages, including a synopsis. Delivered by Week 15 or 16 (as negotiated).

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available from the course contact person (see above).

Other Information

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 Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. For more on RMIT’s student progress policy, see the website.

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. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

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