Course Location
Sydney On-Campus and Online
2018 Advanced Diploma in Script Editing and Development
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 29. Further details will be provided post enrolment
Attendance Pattern
Primarily online with a combination of flexible online and timetabled video conferencing.


Gain the specialised craft skills and knowledge required to enter the film, television or media industry as an entry-level script development professional.

In this course, screenwriting principles are grounded in an awareness of industry development stages and processes. Through practice, you will hone your analytical, communication and collaborative skills and you will learn to mediate between the creative intentions of the writer and the requirements of a production and its stakeholders.

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


This course is designed for writers, directors and/or producers who seek the skills required to provide written and verbal script notes for feature film projects, or the skills to re-structure and re-write scenes and finesse dialogue and provide notes for television projects. You will gain the knowhow to chair story meetings or run a writers’ room. Plus deepen your understanding of story across different platforms and formats understanding audiences, as well as the relationship between character, plot, theme and structure.

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).
Recommended Texts:

It is recommended that you purchase these texts (copies are also available in the library)
  • The 21st Century Screenwriter by Linda Aronson.
  • Reading Screenplays: how to analyse and evaluate film scripts by Lucy Scher.
  • The Art of Script Editing: A practical guide to Script Development by Karol Griffiths.
  • Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke.

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 May 16 2017



Weekly online flexible lessons released each Monday.
Video conferencing schedule will be available shortly.

On campus weekend workshops:

    Semester 1: Saturday 3 to Sunday March 4 (Week 1) and Saturday 2 to Sunday June 3 (Week 14). Subjects in Semester 1: Screenwriting Principles and Script Development.

    Semester 2: Saturday 21 and Sunday July 22 (Week 1). Subjects in Semester 2: Script Editing Practice: Series Television and Script Editing Practice: Feature Film.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
  • Apply screenwriting craft principles to write script notes, deliver verbal notes and write revisions.

  • Evaluate and provide creative solutions for stories and scripts written for different platforms, formats and media.

  • Collaborate in a creative context.

  • Apply industry terms and practices in the script development process across television and film.

Admission Requirements

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

Candidates are required to submit the following:

1. Application Task

1.1 Write two (2) short critical appraisals (500 words each - submit as one PDF file) of:

  • the last Australian movie you saw at the cinema; and
  • the last Australian television series that you watched for at least one season (short run mini-series are allowed).
What were the two project’s strengths as screen stories? What were their weaknesses? What, if anything, would you have done differently had you been a part of the development team behind each project?

1.2 Personal Statement (300 words maximum) addressing the following questions:
  • What is a script editor.
  • Why do you wish to be a script editor?
  • What do you hope to gain by doing this course?

Submit both tasks as one PDF file.

2. Uploading your Documents and Media File

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, and 50MB for media file. Contact the Student Centre on (02) 9805 6444, if you having any problems in uploading your media file and go to this link for information on media files.

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: Screenwriting Principles

The aim of this subject is to explore the core principles of screenwriting. Students will apply these principles to identify the strengths and weaknesses of stories and scripts across different platforms and formats.

Subject 2: Script Development

The aim of this subject is for students to gain the skills to write script notes/revisions with an understanding of industry practices and stages of development.

Subject 3: Script Editing Practice: Series Television

The aim of this subject is for students to apply their skills and knowledge of the script editor’s role to stories and scripts intended for a television series.

Subject 4: Script Development Practice: Feature Film

The aim of this subject is for students to apply their skills and knowledge of the script editor’s role to stories and scripts intended for a film project.


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.