University of Technology Sydney

57303 Screen Ideas

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: MAP and Sound and Music Design
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject offers students the opportunity to engage with diverse screenwriting and screen development practices for short form drama, hybrid, animation and immersive media arts work. Students develop creative screen ideas with reference to industry-based models, 'indie', alternative, micro-budget, and emerging media models. In this context they explore notions of structure, storytelling and character and improve their ability to read, critique and script-edit their own work and that of their peers. Students gain skills in project research, visualisation and utilising production within the development process including idea prototyping and proof of concept media using image or sound. This subject includes work with aspects of visual style and mise-en-scène, in the context of screenwriting and development. Projects have the potential to be produced within related subjects of the degree.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Articulate screen ideas for current and emerging platforms and audiences
b. Critique screen ideas
c. Enhance screen ideas using Proof of Concepts (POC) digital media
d. Integrate feedback on the process of screen idea development

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Apply high-level collaborative research and entrepreneurial skills to business, curation and understanding audiences (2.2)
  • Analyse, develop or produce creative media projects for a range of platforms and experiences (2.3)
  • Evaluate how communication works in a professional creative media context (6.1)
  • Demonstrate high-level abilities and self-awareness as an oral, written and visual communicator (6.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject prioritises practice-orientated learning and authentic assessment in the pitching, writing and development of screen ideas. Students explore the language of screenwriting through the analysis of screen texts and screenplay materials. They develop and critique screen ideas via in-class exercises and screenwriting workshops. Students utilise digital media production tools to enhance the communication of their screen ideas in multimodal forms.

This subject incorporates a range of teaching and learning strategies; including lectures, short presentations, in-class discussions where early formative feedback is given, experiential activities, workshops case, study analyses, collaborative teamwork and project-based learning. These will be complemented by flipped activities, including preparatory work using a range of resources provided on the online subject site and out of class project development activities. Students are expected to regularly check and engage with subject materials on the online subject site in order to effectively manage their learning experience.

Content (topics)

This subject will include work on the pitching, writing, creative development and reflective critique of short-form screen ideas for current and emerging digital platforms and audiences. Students engage with both industry norms and expanded notions of screenwriting to explore the transformation of screenwriting forms and practices in the context of digital media convergence.


Assessment task 1: Screen Idea 1: Industry Screenplay (Short Form)


a, b, c and d

Weight: 50%

Video pitch (1-2 minutes); Industry screenplay style document (4-5 pages); Mood Board (8-10 pages).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Persuasiveness of pitch for screen idea 20 a 6.2
Implementation of feedback and critique of the screen idea 10 b, d 2.3
Strength and execution of screen idea, in industry format, for intended audience 50 a 2.3
Effective use of Proof of Concepts (POC) media 20 c 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Screen Idea 2: Alternative Screenplay (Short Form)


a, c and d

Weight: 50%

Screenplay document for an expanded moving image work or immersive media project (7-10 pages); Proof of Concepts (POC) supporting media (2-3 minutes).

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Effective use of an alternative screenplay model 20 a, d 2.3
Depth and creativity of audio-visual research for the screen idea 10 a 2.2
Strength and execution of screen idea, in alternative format, for intended audience 50 a 2.3
Effective use of Proof of Concepts (POC) media 20 c 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Tutorials are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. Lectures prepare you for the assessments you have to complete.

This subject assessment tasks are cumulative so that each task builds understanding and/or skills, informed by formative feedback. Consequently, all assessments must be submitted in order for you to receive feedback. Students who do not submit all assessments will not pass the subject.

Required texts

There are no required texts for this subject. Recommended readings will be available on UTS Canvas via Reading Lists.


Anger, K. 1983, Hollywood Babylon, New York, Bantam Doubleday.

Aronson, L. 2000, Scriptwriting Updated: New and Conventional Ways of Writing for the Screen, Australian Film Television & Radio School, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Carriere, J. C. 1994, The Secret Language of Film, Pantheon Books, New York.

Dancyger, K. & Rush. J. 2013, Alternative scriptwriting: Beyond the Hollywood formula, Focal Press, New York & London.
Hurbis-Cherrier, M. (2018) Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Filmmaking, Third Edition, Routledge: Focal Press.

Journal of Screenwriting, 2010 – current, Intellect Journals, Bristol, UK.

Macdonald, I.W.2013, Screenwriting Poetics and the Screen Idea, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Maras, S. 2016, Ethics in Screenwriting: New Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Martin, A. 2014, Mise en Scène: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Maddin, G. 1999, From the Atelier Tovar: Selected Writings, Coach House Books, Toronto.

Millard, K. 2014, Screenwriting in a Digital Ear, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Murphy, J.J. 2012, The Black Hole of the Camera: The Films of Andy Warhol, University of California Press.

Murphy, J.J. 2007, Me and you and Memento and Fargo: How Independent Screenplays Work, Continuum, New York.

Ondaatje, M. 2002, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, Vintage, Toronto.

Ruiz, R (1995) Poetics of Cinema, Routledge, New York.

Wells, P. (2007) Basics Animation: Scriptwriting, AVA Publishing, Lausanne & Worthing.

Wells, P. (1998) Understanding Animation, Routledge, London & New York.