Course Title: Research and apply concepts and theories of creativity

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 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


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
  • film screenings
  • 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.
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 #1 due: Rough Draft required in dot point (see details below)


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 theories of Noir be used creatively today? 
Formative Assessment #2: presentations begin (See details below) 2
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.
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. 

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 around whether the theories for expressionism apply here?

1, 2

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.

 1, 2

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.


Study 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?

NB There are no classes on Monday 22 & 29 September


Contemporary filmmakers
Introduction to new filmmakers and their effects on modern day directors. How ‘influence,’ plays as important a 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.

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.

Summative Assessment due


14Study of a culture through film (cont.) 2, 3
15Study of a culture through film (cont.) 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. 

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 also 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 as essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks.

Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

To demonstrate competency, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

Formative assessment for this course comprises two tasks. In order to successfully complete this unit, you will need to complete these exercises to a satisfactory standard.

Task 1. Research a chosen film according to genre (Due Monday 21 July)
This task is in two stages: research in the form of a dot point summary; and a presentation to class based on this research.

Select a film that you love or hate. Research:

  • How it was made;
  • Why it was made and;
  • What specific genre was it made for, e.g. Science Fiction; Drama; Comedy etc.

Consider whether it pushes the envelope and creates a new specific genre within the parameters of the original one.
Evaluate how your own experience affects your response to another’s creative work.

Submitted your findings as a one-page dot-point summary.

In Week 4 your teacher will return your summaries with my notes.

Task 2. Film Narrative Presentation (Due: scheduled from Week 5, on a date to be arranged with your teacher)
Select two creative elements from your chosen film and analyse ways in which these elements contribute to and clarify the narrative (e.g. sound and music; lighting and cinematography; music and sound effects; comparing book to script; acting and direction)

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.

Your verbal presentation will be based on a 50/50 basis; 50% based on research material you have read and/or DVD narrative commentary tracks from director, composer, scriptwriter etc that helps your presentation; 50% your own knowledge of the film chosen.

Your own feelings about this film you have picked will also play an important part in this assessment. Use the internet as well but try not to use it solely. Use books/magazine articles to also cover this topic.

The presentation is to be given on a date arranged with your teacher. Both rough draft and proper version which includes short bibliography, must be handed back to teacher, at completion of verbal presentation. This verbal presentation can be made solo, in pairs or at the most, in threes.

There will be two presentations per class.


There is one summative assessment in this course.

Summary of Assessment
Genre Analysis (Written paper or DVD/USB Presentation) (Due Monday 13 October)

Details of Assessment
Choose a film genre and analyse its parameters.


A written analysis of 2000 (approx) in which you will:

  • Refer to some examples of films that typically fit that genre and explain why they do.
  • Discuss the creative approaches that break new ground within that genre.
  • Discuss the history of that genre; when and how did it all begin?
  • Find out who made the first film in that genre; what was it called; have you seen it?
  • Then select one film that clearly illustrates that genre that you have selected and give a detailed account of it.

Include an explanation of how your findings might inform your own creativity and the approach you take to your writing.


Create a DVD presentation showing scenes from films that elaborate your argument about that specific genre. In particular show:

  • How the genre works
  • Its history
  • What makes this genre different to another etc.
  • Then concentrate on one film that is your favourite from that genre and clearly show how it fits in or breaks new ground.

Include an explanation of how your findings might inform your own creativity and the approach you take to your writing.

For those wishing to present in DVD/USB format several examples will be screened to you well before you attempt this, to give you a solid idea of what you can do and what is required.

(NB The DVD/USB presentation option is only for your teacher to see and mark, not a class presentation.)

Assessment Submission

The written paper must be 2000 words (approx.) and must include a bilbiography.

Reports must be emailed to your teacher in either Word or RTF format. A signed cover sheet must be included in the email. The program blackboard site includes a copy of the cover sheet, as well as instructions on how to set up and use a digital signature.

The DVD may last 15-20 mins. A DVD must only be attempted if you have the necessary skills and tools to create such a presentation. You must include a bibliography as text at the end of credit section of the DVD. If you are submitting a DVD on a CD or USB, you must also email a signed cover sheet.

Your teacher may also request a hard copy version of your assessment.

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

  • 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. Academic progress 

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 plagiariam

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