Course Location
Sydney On-Campus and Online
2018 Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting: Feature Film
Undergraduate (AQF Level 6)
Delivery Mode
32 weeks / 2 semesters. Semester starts week commencing February 26, 2018
Course Fee
Compulsory online Orientation week commencing Monday February 19. Further details will be provided post enrolment.
Attendance Pattern
Primarily online, including video conferencing and with four weekend workshops (two per semester) on campus at AFTRS, Moore Park, Sydney


Build the foundation of your screenwriting craft by exploring the theory and practice of dramatic storytelling.

You will extend yourself, creating memorable characters, writing engaging scenes and developing the story outline for a compelling feature-length drama.

Delivered across two semesters through a combination of online independent and collaborative learning activities, and supplemented with on campus workshops, this course offers the flexibility to allow you to maintain employment whilst studying.


This course is designed for those who aspire to a deep understanding of story and the relationship between character, plot, theme and structure. If you would like to develop your analytical, creative and technical writing skills, develop a feature length project outline, plus build your understanding of audience, this course will provide you with the key learning experiences to build these craft skills.

This course is after hours, approximately 7.5 hours a week (for 32 weeks) of course work with additional time for assessments and course related practice activities.


For details of help to pay for your fees, please refer to the Study Assist website​


To complete the course you will need access to:

  • A computer with an internet connection (please be aware that the video conference sessions use the same amount of data as Skype).


Foundation Diploma graduates from 2009-2014 are automatically accepted into this course and need only to register by providing their name and the date of graduation. The link to register as a Foundation Diploma graduate is available here.

Foundation Diploma graduates have until December 1, 2017 to register. Further details will be provided about enrolment after that date.

Contact our Student Centre​ or call 1300 131 461 or (02) 9805 6444 with any questions or to learn more about your study options. You can also contact the Indigenous Unit​

Changes in circumstances may impact upon the accuracy or currency of information. While AFTRS takes all due care to ensure that the information is accurate, it reserves the right to vary any information described here without notice.

Last updated 17 May 2017



Online lessons released every Monday.

Video conference timetable will be available shortly.

There are two weekend workshops in each semester:

  • Semester 1: Saturday 3 to Sunday March 4 (Week 1) and Saturday May 19 (Week 12). Subjects in Semester 1: Understanding Story and Conceiving Story.

  • Semester 2: Saturday 21 to Sunday July 22 (Week 1) and Saturday 22 to Sunday September 23 (Week 10). Subjects in Semester 2: Crafting Story and Visual Language.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Explore the interrelationship of concept and story.
  2. Apply visual language for the screen.
  3. Apply screenwriting craft principles.
  4. Demonstrate written, verbal and collaborative communication skills.

Admission Requirements

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection.

Candidates are required to submit the following:

1. Application Task

Write and submit a three page scene for two characters, in which:

  • Someone returns home to find an unwelcome intruder/visitor.

  • They want them out (for good reason) but the unwelcome visitor has good reason to want to stay.

  • Your character tries to get the intruder to leave, but ultimately decides to let them stay.

Submit as PDF file.

2. Uploading your Documents

You will be able to upload your media file/s as part of the application process. Ensure you conform to the required file type and size specified as follows.

  • Each document has a maximum of 10MB in size.

Please contact the Student Centre on (02) 9805 6444, if you having any problems in uploading your documents.

Go to this link if you need information on how to compress a media file.

3. Resume and Educational Qualifications

Provide a one-page list of your achievements, educational qualifications and work experience.

You must also provide a certified copy of your highest education level as detailed on the How and When to Apply page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

4. Proof of Residency

Ensure you submit a certified copy of your birth certificate or passport as detailed on the How and When to Apply page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

Selection Criteria

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection. The selection criteria are:

  • Evidence of a commitment to a career in the creative industries.

  • Evidence of original creative thinking.

  • Evidence of ability to complete complex tasks.


Subject 1: Understanding Story

This subject focuses on the key principles of storytelling. Students will learn about concept, character, structure, premise and genre, and how they interact to create emotionally engaging screen stories. Common approaches to screenplay structure and the connection between character design and story design will be explored. Through the analysis of screenplays, students will develop the skills to apply screenwriting techniques to conceptualise their own screen stories.

Subject 2: Conceiving Story

In this subject students will be guided though the process of creating stories for the screen, from inception of the idea through to assessment of the market potential. Through this process students will be encouraged to reflect on their own writing practices.

Subject 3: Crafting Story

This subject focuses on the processes and skills required to develop a feature film story from concept to screenplay. Students will apply story research skills to develop a story world and an outline for a concept for a feature film that they wish to pursue.

Subject 4: Visual Language

Through the study of this subject students will develop their skills in writing scenes and sequences to industry standard. Students will apply the principles and practices learned in semester 1 to create engaging scenes and sequences.


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.