Course Title: Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: EMPL5964C

Course Title: Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity

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: George Viscas

Nominal Hours: 65

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 provides a comprehensive overview of the ways in which  concepts and theories around creativity in screenwriting have contributed to the development of contemporary screen language and genre. You will research and explore ways in which these theories can be applied to your own creative work.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

BSBCRT601A Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity


1. Research concepts and theories of creativity

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Use a range of research techniques to source information about creativity
 1.2. Identify and explore potential new, emerging and alternative sources of ideas and thinking about creativity
 1.3. Expand own knowledge and understanding of creativity through review and critical analysis of information
 1.4. Analyse, compare and contrast a range of theoretical perspectives and thinking on creativity
 1.5. Identify and explore the transmigration of creative thought to innovative output


2. Apply theories of creativity to practice

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Evaluate the relevance and application of different theories and practices of creativity based on analysis of own work and life experience
 2.2. Analyse the ways in which different aspects of history, theory and other influences are applied, adapted or challenged in practice
 2.3. Assess the ways in which theories, thinking and practices about creativity may be applied that provide benefits to individuals, businesses and the community


3. Develop, articulate and debate own perspectives theories and practices of creativity

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Take a critical approach to different theories and reflect on own ideas and responses
 3.2. Develop own substantiated positions in response to research and analysis
 3.3. Articulate own positions in a manner which demonstrates clarity of thought and conceptual understanding of different theories and thinking
 3.4. Debate own positions on creativity showing belief in own ideas and a willingness to remain open to new perspectives

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. You will be able to inform your own artistic practice through the application of the concepts and theories underpinning creativity in screenwriting.

Details of Learning Activities

You learn through:

1. In-class activities:

  • lectures
  • industry speakers
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
  • reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
  • workshopping of students’ own projects
  • analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice.

2. Out-of-class activities:

  • independent project based work
  • writing and reading assignments
  • online and other research
  • independent study.

Teaching Schedule

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

WeekClass ContentAssessment DueElements
1Explanation and discussion of course content and assessment.
Discussion of the nature of creativity in screenwriting.
Early Film History: Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies and D.W. Griffith.
Introduction to Screen Language: Production and Story Elements.
 1, 2, 3
2Development of Montage from D.W.Griffith to modern day.
Discussion of period of film-history and key contributions of selected filmmakers.
Screening of selected excerpts of films followed by class discussion of this film - language, theories and applications
Exploration of different research techniques.
 1, 2
3German Expressionism and the dark side
Discuss characteristics of this; Expressionism in Art and Screen excerpts of selected films from various filmmakers. Expressionism in film and its theories - yesterday and today. Expressionism and its use in Hollywood.
Formative Assessment Task 11,2
4Film Noir in world film culture
Study Hollywood’s use of Expressionism in this genre. WW2 and its effects on Noir and film culture. Screen excerpts from Noir films and Rules of Noir documentary. Class Discussion.
5Screening of rarely seen Film Noir.
Class discussion about film’s elements; Does it follow all the rules of Noir? What’s there; What isn’t? Does it hold up today?
Can any of its theories of Noir be used creatively today? 
Formative Assessments 2:
Presentations (ongoing).
1, 2, 3
6Neo-Noir: its Legacy from Expressionism to Film-Noir explored. Screening excerpts from selected Neo-Noir films;
Discussion of its history; contrast past to present Noir.
Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3
7Screen Neo-Noir film.
Class discussion of Neo-Noir elements and the differences between these and the ordinary Thriller Genre. Contrast with remake and discuss cultural context in creativity and the differences of this remake as compared to its original Film-Noir concept. 
Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3
Looking at the elements of horror and its legacy from expressionism. Differences between past and present day elements. What makes Horror so easy to make and so hard to master?
Screening of documentary.
Discussion: do the theories for expressionism apply here?
Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1,2, 3

Horror (cont.)
Are the elements of horror the same world wide? Do the theories of one culture overlap with another? Screening and discussion of documentaries. Exploring various types of world horror and discussion of the various creative practices.

Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3

Creativity and censorship
Looking at censorship, its history and role in film creativity. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the system.
Screening of documentary examining censorship and its effects on various filmmakers. Is it a necessary evil? Examination of the theories behind censorship.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no classes during the semester break from Friday 18 April through to Friday 25 April include. 

Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3
11Study of a culture through film
Does film reflect daily life of culture; fantasy of its inhabitants? Do the theories of film in the West necessarily fulfil other cultures’ requirements of what makes a film?
Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3
12Contemporary filmmakers
Introduction to new filmmakers and their effects on modern day directors. How ‘influence,’ plays an important part as ‘homage’ in creativity.
Screening of various scenes as well as full film in discovering new and /or forgotten filmmakers. Discuss their importance/non-importance.
Formative Assessment 2:
Presentation (ongoing)
1, 2, 3
13Study of a culture through film (cont.)
Looking at a culture’s film history. Screening of film. Discussion around similarities/differences to Western film practices and creative concepts.
 1, 2, 3
14Study of a culture through film (cont.)Summative Assessment due1, 2, 3
15Study of a culture through film (cont.) 1, 2,3
16Contextualising creative concepts in film.
Review of creative concepts explored throughout the semester and of how these are contextualized in aspects of the films studied. Exploration of how these concepts can be applied to your own work. 
 1, 2, 3

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

While there are no prescribed texts it is strongly recommended you make use of the recommended references


A list of recommended reading and viewing will be up on blackboard. You are advised to look at the course myRMIT site for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

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

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is on-going throughout the course. 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 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 essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

To demonstrate competency in this course you need to complete each one of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard.

Formative Assessment
Task 1. Select a film that you love or hate. Research the following and present your ideas in a one-page series of dot points:

  • how the film was made
  • why it was made
  • what creative ideas influenced its making
  • how it fits the specific genre for which it was made. Does it create a new, specific genre? If so, what? How does this new genre reshape what has gone before?

What ideas and assumptions did you bring to this analytical exercise, and how have your ideas changed as a result?

DUE: Week 3

Task 2. Select two creative elements from your chosen film and analyse ways in which these elements (e.g. sound and music; lighting and cinematography; music and sound effects; comparing book to script; acting and direction) contribute to and clarify the narrative.

  • What creative ideas influence the use of these elements in the film?
  • What technological and economic realities influence the use of these elements in the film?

Present your findings about these elements through a presentation of no more than 15-20 mins, including question time from the audience.

DUE: To be given on a date arranged with the teacher.

Summative Assessment
Choose a film genre and analyse its parameters, covering the following:

  • Refer to some examples of films that typically fit that genre and explain why they do.
  • What ideas influence the way this genre is used? For instance, we have considered how key ideas in German expressionism influenced the way many writers and directors created film narratives.
  • Select one film that breaks new ground in this genre and explain in detail why. What creative ideas influence the film? How does it challenge old ideas or build on them? Are changes in film technologies, techniques or economies of any relevance to the way this film challenged assumptions about genre? For instance, you could investigate how advances in CGI technologies in the late 1980s enabled sci fi films to tell stories in new ways.
  • Does this film create a new, specific genre? If so, what? How does this new genre reshape what has gone before?
  • What ideas and assumptions did you bring to this analytical exercise, and how have your ideas changed as a result?
  • Finally, reflect on how your findings might influence the way you might tell stories.

Present your findings either as:

  • a written argument of 1500 words OR
  • a DVD or USB presentation showing scenes from films that elaborate your argument about that specific genre; how it works; what makes this genre different to another.

Grades that apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment but which also use graded assessment:

  • 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 demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration.

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 the student progress policy, see the RMIT 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. For more on special consideration, appeals and discipline, see the RMIT website.

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