Course Title: Script edit a feature film

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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

 Note: while your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.


It is important to understand the writer’s intentions and expectations. We examine how we interview writers and what questions to ask to ascertain whether a working relationship can be developed. We also examine our own bias/tastes and how this affects out observation of others.

EXERCISE – Structured interview with three different writers. This becomes the basis for choosing your working partners.
Also, a look at the assessment tasks.


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.


Looking at issues that affect the ‘read’. To be a script, it has to look like a script and read like a script. Exploring common mistakes, from too much or
not enough information being presented to craft issues and basic proof-reading. This is about making your script a better READ.

EXERCISE – Students to examine elements of their scripts and make adjustments.


Students will pitch their ideas to the class and to individuals. Teacher will form work groups, allocate roles and decide partnerships. Ways of working –
as a pair, conflict resolution by the group, responsibilities to the group and each other.

*Students are expected to read every script in your work group BY THE FOLLOWING CLASS.

Students to work in pairs and as part of work group to identify loglines and dramatic questions (see Assessment Task #1 Brief).
Presentation: Of logline and dramatic question by editor for writer.


Please note that there will be no class on Monday 9 March


The synopsis as a structural tool (see Assessment Task #2 Brief) and road map for the editing of the script. Reaching an accord and making the writer
aware of the structural inconsistencies in the script by subjecting the main turning points to scrutiny.


Deciding on the story you’re going to tell. Readings of synopses and feedback from whole class.
EXERCISE – Editor and writer discuss feedback from class and make final changes to synopsis.


Working with the writer to improve and focus a scene. Reviews the function and structure of scenes.

EXERCISE  – Editor to choose a problematic scene and work through in a specific way with the writer.

Please note there will be no classes from Friday 3 April through to Friday 10 April inclusive.

Review: The basis of a strong story is clear protagonist in pursuit of a goal. The aim is to make sure the writer can identify and communicate this and
understands where and when this is not reflected in the script.

EXERCISE: Interview the writer. What does the protagonist want? How is this reflected/affected by each scene? What are the key moments? Is there enough
conflict/obstacles? What are the stakes? How does it escalate?

FOR NEXT SESSION: Both writer and editor to bring in list of films/books etc, that are examples of genre or similar to the script.



Testing the success or ‘failure’ of the script as a genre piece. Editors to present to writers a case for either by using examples they have gathered
(eg. other films in genre, films similar to the script in tone or story).

WORK GROUP EXERCISE – Individual expectations of genre. Does the script measure up to the standards of the chosen genre/style? What is missing/can be adjusted?

Examines the characters other than the protagonist and their roles as allies and or obstacles and or both in the story. Clear characters with goals of
their own is where sub-plots are born. How they intersect with the narrative determines how effective they are.

WHOLE CLASS DISCUSSION – Examples chosen by teacher from class scripts to be examined.
Stressing the importance of clear causal links from scene to scene. Now that all key elements have been explored individually and weaknesses have been
examined we look at the importance of logic in the story as an audience journey.

EXERCISE – “Now I’m here… why?” the Editor as the protagonist/audience presents a beat by beat examination of the script to the writer to detect logic problems.
Briefing of final assessment task. (see Assessment Task #3)
Exercise – Drafting the Summary section (for your own script) and presenting in class.

Reviews the semester and looks at how to attack a second draft. Ways to work efficiently and ways to ‘cheat’.

One-on-one sessions monitored by teacher. Editors to present summary of feedback to writers and then hand over notes.



One-on-one sessions monitored by teacher. Editors to present summary of feedback to writers and then hand over notes..


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

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete all of the following assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment (refer to Blackboard for assessment criteria).

In this course, you will work with another writer’s feature film script, to assist in its development to a subsequent draft.

There are three assessments in this unit.

1. Identify the dramatic question and logline of the script. Due Week 6, Monday 16 March
As an editor you will work with the writer to negotiate and cement in place the dramatic question of their script and from this, you will identify the dramatic question and create a logline that describes the script. This then becomes the ‘baseline’ for any further work on the script. On consultation with your writer, you will write and present for assessment a description of the dramatic question and logline.

2. Synopsis of screenplay. Due Week 8, Monday 30 March
As an editor you will work with the writer to negotiate and create a one-page synopsis of the script. You will write a one-page synopsis of your writer’s script.

3. Script editor’s report. Due Week 14, Monday 18 May
You will produce a script editor’s report of 1500 words, outlining the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for further development of the writer’s script. This should be a comprehensive document that reflects your work with the writer.

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

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

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


The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency. Non-attendance may seriously jeopardise the chances of success in a course. Clearly, non-attendance at an assessment will result in failure of that assessment. Where visa conditions apply, attendance is compulsory.

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.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (web link)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which people can gain entry to, or credit in, recognised courses based on competencies gained. The competencies may have been gained through experience in the workplace, in voluntary work, in social or domestic activities or through informal or formal training or other life experiences. Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies if a student has previously successfully completed the requirements of a unit of competency or module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competency has been maintained.

Assessment and Feedback (web link)

You will receive verbal feedback during scheduled class times, and written feedback from teachers on your work . Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress (web link)

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

Special consideration for Late Submission (web link)

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 will need to apply for special consideration.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism (web link)

RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview