Course Title: Create concepts and scripts for television comedy

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2020

Course Code: COMM7359C

Course Title: Create concepts and scripts for television comedy

Important Information:

This course will be delivered through face-to-face classes, interaction with industry mentors, and the learning support material and resources in Canvas.

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6160 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact: Penny Johnson

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Kath Dolheguy

Nominal Hours: 140

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

Enrolment in this elective course at RMIT requires you to have completed all first year courses.

Course Description

This course aims to help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to create sketch, sitcom and narrative comedy for television.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

PSWTCO608 Create concepts and scripts for television comedy


1. Develop the concept for television comedy

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Establish purpose, format and market for comedy concept from a brief

1.2 Determine comic premise and character/s based on comedy format

1.3 Determine genre and story arcs appropriate to the format

1.4 Apply principles of narrative humour and/or comic structure based on the comedy format and market


2. Develop the proposal for the comedy

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Create a synopsis that succinctly introduces concept, premise, genre, conventions, format and major storylines

2.2 Develop character/s and character arcs for the comedy

2.3 Write a treatment that summarises the story and character development


3. Develop comedy script

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Develop premise and characters that uses a strong comedic structure, collaborating with other screenwriters as required  

3.2 Contribute to developing a dynamic and engaging story for the comedy

3.3 Participate in building strong character motivation and based on the format, create conflict between characters in a comically and dramatically satisfying way  

3.4 Apply own ideas, techniques and observations to the development of scenes to exploit the comic premise and advance the story

3.5 Ensure conventions of the comedy script are consistent within the prescribed format

3.6 Deliver script to the requirements of the brief

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to develop and write sketch, sitcom and narrative comedy for television.

Details of Learning Activities

In-class activities:


industry speakers
teacher directed group activities/projects
peer teaching and class presentations

group discussion

class exercises to review discussions/lectures
workshopping of students’ own projects
analysis/critique of writings

Out-of-class activities:

independent project based work 
online and other research

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.

Semester 1





Week 1

Feb 10

Introduction to semester and establishing goals. 

What is comedy? What kind of comedy do you want to write? 

Overview of the Assessments for 2020


Week 2

Feb 17

Gag Definitions – identifying and writing jokes.


Week 3

Feb 24

Joke Writing for specific characters.

Monologues for stand-up, cold openers and specific character.

Follow up work on monologues in small groups.


Week 4

Mar 2

 No CLASS. Set tasks will be provided for you to complete.


Week 5

Mar 9

No CLASS -  Labour Day holiday

Assessment Task #1 due - submit your work to Canvas  (March 10)

Please upload your monologues & work to canvas 

Week 6

Mar 16


Monologue presentation & feedback session 

8PM - 9:30PM 

Introduction to Assessment 2

Intro to sketch/Sketch Definitions.  Sample comedy sketches.

Assessment Task #1 due - in class  

The class presentation of your monologue will happen today in class

Week 7

Mar 23

 Development of your Sketch  concept- this sketch is a stand alone piece for a sketch style show - to be discussed in class. Outline genre, style, pitch. 


Week 8

Mar 30 

Assessment #2 DUE in class 

5:30-7:30PM - Present pitches 

Part 1 of Assessment  - Present your PITCH  & SKETCH in class

Part 2 of Assessment - upload your work & sketch to canvas 

Note your feedback & amend where needed before you submit

Assessment Task #2 due April 5 - Upload your work to Canvas-  Create, Pitch & Write a Sketch Comedy Piece


Mid-semester break Monday 6 to Monday 13 April inclusive


Week 9

Apr 13

 NO CLASS - Easter Monday 

Additional Assessment: Evaluation of a comedy Festival show - details provided & discussed in class

Week 10

 Apr 20

Review of your MICF show evaluation - class discussion

Introduction to Assessment 3 - Overview of next assessment. Character development versus stand alone sketch characters. 


Week 11

Apr 27

Work in class on your 2 sketches for Assessment 3 


Week 12

May 4

Workshop your sketches in small groups/to class

Keep notes for rewriting  and amend your two original comedy sketches

Assessment Task #3 due May 10 -  submit your work to Canvas: Present Comedy Sketches 

Week 13

May 11

5:30-8:30PM - Sketch Reads in class (Assessment 3)

Class Reads of Sketches  - present your sketch to class & cast your roles. We will be reading through ALL sketches in this class. 

Look at pitching concepts to producers. Create 2-3 potential concepts that you will present in next weeks class 

Seek feedback & revise for next week 


Assessment Task #3 due - in class: Present Comedy Sketches 

Week 14

May 18

Recap the semester’s work.

Present proposed TV series concepts for Semester 2 - to be done in class - Feedback from GUEST SPEAKER  - Notes to be taken on feedback 


Week 15

May 25

TV - what do you need to develop a show

Short overview of TV bibles 




Semester 2





Week 1

July 6

Introduction to the comic premise in sitcom and comedic characters.


Week 2


July 13

The evolution of a sitcom from pilot script to air. The dilemma versus the situation versus the story.

Prepare your original sitcom idea pitch for next week.


Week 3

July 20

It’s not just about the idea. The “funny” idea that didn’t work.  Dissecting a pilot. Pilot structure

Pitching to class – making a room laugh with your sitcom idea. It’s important the idea makes the listener laugh without the dialogue or jokes. 


Week 4

July 27

Small group work on individual sitcom projects. Continues throughout semester. Gauging feedback in class from teacher & peers

Invent a sitcom episode synopsis for an existing sitcom.

Finalise your sitcom synopsis for assessment.


Week 5


August 3

Dialogue - Your style and tone is reflected in the dialogue – the feed/gag, comic routines, the inappropriate response, repetition and call backs. Class exercises on dialogue.

Finalised sitcom synopses presented in class.Assessment # 4.

Assessment Task #4 due - in class -  August 3:


Assessment Task #4 due - Submit your work to Canvas August 7: Create & Present sitcom Proposal


Week 6


August 10

Determining the world looking at genre, style and creating a cast that will generate story. Look at B C and D plots.

Begin work in small groups on writing your original sitcom episode.  Beat Sheets. Cause & effect in comedy 


Week 7

August 17

Develop a Beat sheet for your sitcom episode. Plotting - creating active characters. 

Continue small group work.  Individual time with teacher on your sitcom.


Week 8


August 24

Requirements of a pilot – establishing dynamics of characters, tone, genre, strong opening, etc.

Testing your sitcom key scenes with table reads.




Mid-semester break: no classes from Monday 31st August to Friday September 4th inclusive


Week 9


September 7

Continue small group work.  Individual time with teacher on your sitcom. Feedback sessions require you to keep notes. 

Class scene readings & plot/gag/character solving. 


Week 10

September 14

A finer look at writing comic character. Group to workshop and gag run. Scene table reads if students ready.  Beat sheet reads. One on ones looking at sitcom assignments.


Week 11

September 21

Story and character arcs – avoiding resolutions to create an ongoing arc.

Working from character traits. Isolating a single story and working to beat sheet.

More table reads.

Beat sheet re-presentation and more scene work in small groups.  Individual time with your teacher on your sitcom.


Week 12

September 28

Series bibles: Look at examples, review yours. Edit your episode overviews.

Table reads of pilot scenes.


Week 13


October 5

Table reads of pilot scenes. 

Week 14

October 12

Continue with original sitcom presentations in class.

Revise semester’s work.  Discuss which sketches and/or sitcom scenes will be incorporated into the live student showcase.

Final words of wisdom.

Assessment Task #5 due - Submit to Canvas October 16 - Original sitcom pilot and series bible 

Week 15

October 19

No scheduled class. Semester review TBC.



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts



You are advised to look on Canvas for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

You will 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.

The University Library has extensive resources and provides subject specialist expertise, research advice, help with referencing and support through:

The Learning Lab

The Study Support Hub

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is ongoing throughout the course. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, pitching sessions,  and through the application of learned skills and insights to your comedy writing tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training qualifications are assessed for Competency. To be assessed as Competent means you have consistently demonstrated the required knowledge and skills at a standard expected in the workplace. To be assessed as Competent in this course, you will need to complete each assessment task to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher at the conclusion of each assessment task.

You should refer to the assessment brief which is available through Canvas for full assessment criteria.

Assessment 1: Present Character Monologue
Due Week 5 (Mar 10)

Develop, outline, write and present in class a comedy monologue for an original character or stand up. 

Assessment Task 2 – Pitch a Sketch Comedy Concept
Due Week 8 (Apr 5)

Develop and pitch a sketch comedy concept. Outline comic style, gag style, characters, audience. 

Assessment Task 3 – Present two Comedy Sketches
Due Week 12 (May 10)

You will write two comedy sketches and present in class. 

Assessment Task 4 – Premise Synopsis
Due Sem 2, Week 5 (Aug 7)

Write a single page synopsis of your television comedy concept which includes information regarding the situation and the characters and demonstrates the story potential of the concept. 

Assessment Task 5 – Entire Sitcom Episode and Series Bible
Due Week 14 (Oct 16) 

Write a sitcom episode based on your synopsis which has been workshopped in class. Prepare concept, synopsis, simple stories and characters for a comedy series, presented as per teacher’s specifications. 

Once you have achieved competency for all assessments in a unit of competency, you will receive an overall result. If you have not completed an assessment task to a satisfactory standard, you will be given an opportunity to resubmit that task within one week of receiving feedback from your teacher. If the resubmission is deemed unsatisfactory, the matter will be referred to the Program Coordinator.


Results that apply to courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment are:

CA: Competency Achieved
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 matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information

Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises

It is strongly advised 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.

Information about your studies
You can access My Studies through the RMIT website for information about timetables, important dates, assessment dates, results and progress, Canvas etc.

Information on assessment including Special consideration, Adjustments to assessment, (eg. applying for an extension of time):

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.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning
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.  

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer or RPL for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview