• Class Number 4245
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Lucy Neave
    • Dr Anika Quayle
    • Rebecca Clode
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

In this course, students will come up with an idea for a film or short play. They will write a treatment, short story or synopsis based on this initial concept, and shape the story into a script. Through the workshop process, story ideas will be subject to critique, and students will be encouraged to develop their early drafts. Lectures will address theoretical and practical concerns involved in writing stories, screenplays, film and drama scripts, and will examine several relevant examples. The course will include some consideration of the practical processes involved in the production of screenplays and plays.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. write a screenplay treatment or play synopsis, and a screenplay or play utilising correct and effective style and formatting;
  2. develop the treatment or synopsis into a screenplay or short play script, integrating suggestions from writing workshops, and/or utilising analysis of published or other students’ creative work to modify their own;
  3. research and analyse a produced screenplay and film, or a work of drama;
  4. describe, analyse and make editorial suggestions for peers’ prose, screenplays and short plays; and
  5. reflect on your own creative work in relation to its translation of prose to script (either screenplay or short play), their writing process, and works (filmic or theatrical) in similar styles or genres.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is informed by scholarship on writing process.

Required Resources

Most material is available on Wattle. In addition, students would ideally purchase:

Proulx, Annie, McMurtry, Larry and Ossana, Diana. Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay. New York: Scribner, 2006

Van Den Berg, Dylan. Milk. Sydney: Currency Press, 2021

A screenplay or play formatting program such as Celtx or Final Draft.

Orlean, Susan. The Orchid Thief. London: Random House, 2000

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction and 'Writing the Treatment or Synopsis' No workshop
2 Writing Short Plays & Short Films Workshop on story ideas
3 The Art of Adaptation Workshop on draft story and Jonze's 'Adaptation'
4 No lecture: public holiday Assessment 1 due
5 Dialogue, Conflict, and Character Workshop on Assessment 1
6 Narrative and Genre Workshop on Assessment 1
7 Rewriting and finding markets for scripts Discussion of Assessment 1
8 Draft Screenplay & Play workshops Assessment 4 (essay) Due
9 Draft Screenplay & Play workshops
10 Draft Screenplay & Play workshops
11 Draft Screenplay & Play workshops
12 Student consultations as needed
13 Assessment 2 (Portfolio) due

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Draft Story, Treatment or Synopsis 10 % 1,2
Portfolio of Creative Work 50 % 1,2,5
Journal 10 % 4
Essay 30 % 3, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to attend all workshops. If you are unable to attend at least 80% of workshops, please discuss your situation with the convenor. This course relies on student participation and engagement; please select another course if you know that you will be unable to attend in person regularly.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Draft Story, Treatment or Synopsis

Submit a draft story, treatment, or play synopsis of 1000-3000 words.

See Wattle for assessment rubric.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5

Portfolio of Creative Work

Contents of the portfolio:

  1. A final treatment or synopsis of fewer than 1000 words
  2. A rough draft of a screenplay or playscript
  3. A revised version of the same screenplay or playscript of around 3,000 words (can be a polished excerpt from a longer work)
  4. If your planned screenplay or play is feature length, or full-length, include a synopsis or plan for the remainder of the piece
  5. Include a brief summary of the changes you've made since the first draft, and the rationale behind your changes (1-2 pages). The rationale is NOT included in the total word count of the assessment.

Additional workshop exercises may be included, but are not compulsory.

Presentation: please follow formatting guidelines for plays and screenplays on Wattle.

Treatments and synopses should be provided in 12 point font, at 1.5 or double spacing.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 4


In most weeks, students submit a response to a reading journal task via the workshop forum, as outlined on Wattle. The draft screenplay or play submitted via Turnitin in Week 7 will count towards your reading journal grade.

This task may consist of:

  • A short response to a reading or film
  • Two or three questions about one of the readings, written so that they can be addressed to the class
  • An idea for a story or screenplay, or a draft piece of writing
  • A draft screenplay or play
  • Comments on other students' work
  • There will be a combination of creative and critical responses

Your reading journal entry for a particular week will be submitted to the workshop forum prior to the workshop. It will be marked as complete (1) or incomplete (0) each week to generate your grade for this assessment.

Reading journal entries will not be accepted after the workshop. No entries will be accepted via email; all entries need to be submitted as forum posts, with the exception of the draft screenplay/play, which will be submitted via Turnitin.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 3, 5


Length 1500-2000 words

Presentation: Typed 12-point font, 1.5 spaced.

Your essay should include at least five references and a bibliography in MLA format or Chicago style.

See Wattle for assessment rubric.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assessment task one will be returned within four weeks of the due date.

Assessment task two will be returned after the examiners' meeting at the end of semester.

Assessment task four will be returned within four weeks of the due date.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

If your receive a mark of less than 75% for Assessment 1, and you submitted your first Assessment on time, you may be able to resubmit for a maximum of 75%. No other assessment may be re-submitted for this course.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Lucy Neave

Research Interests

Writing process, fiction writing, contemporary literature and film

Dr Lucy Neave

By Appointment
Dr Anika Quayle

Research Interests

Dr Anika Quayle

By Appointment
Rebecca Clode

Research Interests

Rebecca Clode

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions