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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

National Certificate: Scriptwriting 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
49317  National Certificate: Scriptwriting 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Audio-visual Media Production 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
MICTS - Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
National Certificate  Field 04 - Communication Studies and Language  Communication Studies 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  147  Level 7  Level N/A: Pre-2009 was L7  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Scriptwriting involves obtaining work, or selecting what to write (if self-initiated). Scriptwriters must obtain consensus from all stakeholders regarding their ideas for scripts. They have to analyse their work while writing, including monitoring their progress against criteria. Scriptwriting involves developing outlines, developing storylines, submitting outlines and/or storylines to obtain feedback, making adjustments, drafting scripts, obtaining feedback regarding scripts, and re-drafting scripts. Scriptwriters have to be able to build knowledge banks, and fill knowledge gaps regarding information pertinent to specific scripts.

Competent scriptwriters are able to analyse requirements for scripts, market and sell their scripts, gather and store information, develop script outlines, write scripts, manage a freelance business, evaluate their own work, and produce documentation. Qualified learners conduct themselves professionally, and nurture their own creative source.

Learners who obtain this qualification are capable of:
  • Communicating in the appropriate format to ascertain scriptwriting requirements.
  • Negotiating contracts and content parameters with buyers and other stakeholders.
  • Identifying and accessing information resources.
  • Gathering information regarding markets, genres, styles, specified needs for commissioned work, etc.
  • Pitching and presenting script outlines, story lines and scripts.
  • Analysing needs of stories, characters and their motivations.
  • Constructing narratives and visualising stories during scriptwriting.
  • Formatting scripts using relevant tools and techniques.
  • Obtaining feedback regarding script outlines, story lines and scripts from all stakeholders.
  • Managing time and other resources to meet deadlines and goals.
  • Assessing the quality of scriptwriting and the impact of choices.
  • Re-writing scripts based on analysis of feedback, and taking into account economy and clarity requirements.

    In addition, qualified learners elect to become capable of:
  • Writing scripts for an alternative medium.
  • Managing human resources in the delivery of script products.
  • Managing the delivery of scripts.

    Rationale:

    In South Africa, policy changes will soon require television programme producers and filmmakers operating in South Africa to use South African expertise. Recent international examples of smaller countries having international success indicate the large demand for quality productions, and the opportunities to successfully produce films, television programmes and videos for the international market. Currently, feature films are a particular growth point. These productions do not exist without scripts. In addition, the quality of a script determines whether it is sellable, and scripts are the main catalysts for investment in productions. To develop the industry in South Africa, and to compete internationally, competence is required to produce quality scripts that will attract investment. As a developing country, South Africa also has to develop, protect and enhance its cultural products and cultural diversity.

    Learners accessing this qualification typically have at least a first degree (NQF Level 6) and previously attained scriptwriting competence, the latter typically attained in an unstructured way, usually in a workplace. This qualification is aimed at learners who have world experience and a talent for creative logic, read widely, and are empathetic without compromising objectivity, curious, self-motivated, disciplined, reliable and flexible. Scriptwriters should critically assess existing approaches and content reflected in the products of various countries, and develop a uniquely South African product of competing quality. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    The credits and design of this qualification assumes that learners have already attained the exit level outcomes of any first degree. They should have also attained the following competence:
  • Managing resources to meet deadlines and goals.

    Recognition of prior learning:

    This qualification can be achieved wholly, or in part, through recognition of prior learning. Evidence can be presented in a variety of forms, including previous international or local qualifications, reports, testimonials, mentoring, functions performed, portfolios, work records and performance records. As such, evidence should be judged according to the general principles of assessment described in the notes to assessors below. Learners who have met the requirements of any Unit Standard that forms part of this qualification may apply for recognition of prior learning to the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance body (ETQA). The applicant must be assessed against the specific outcomes and with the assessment criteria for the relevant Unit Standards. A qualification will be awarded should a learner demonstrate that the exit level outcomes of the qualification have been attained. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
  • All the Fundamental Component Unit Standards are compulsory (40 credits).
  • All the Core Component Unit Standards are compulsory (92credits).
  • For the Elective Component learners are required to attain 15 credits out of 57 credits. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Generate and evolve ideas for scripts.

    2. Develop guidelines for scriptwriting based on analysis of script requirements and needs.
    Range: market and audience needs, themes, etc.

    3. Negotiate contracts and parameters with stakeholders.
    Range: parameters can relate to content, delivery, reimbursement, copyright, ownership, intellectual property, etc.

    4. Identify and access information resources and gather information.
    Range: information can be gathered regarding the market, genres, styles, specified needs for commissioned work, etc. Information gathering can form part of conceptualising, developing, writing, presenting and obtaining feedback.

    5. Present script components and scriptsRange: components could include synopsis, treatment, beat sheets, outlines, story lines, etc.

    6. Envision and construct script components and scripts.
    Range: components could include synopsis, treatment, beat sheets, outlines, story lines, etc. Elements can include tone, character motivations, world of the story, themes, etc.

    7. Write and format scripts in a selected form.
    Range: format includes layout, script language, grammar, colloquial and idiom, age appropriate, market appropriate, character specific, budget.

    8. Assess the quality of scriptwriting and the impact of choices.
    Range: own and others' feedback, own and others' work.

    9. Manage resources to meet deadlines and goals.

    10. Write scripts for an alternative medium.

    11. Manage human resources in the delivery of scripts products.

    12. Manage delivery of scripts. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    1:
  • Ideas generated are appropriate for the specified form.
  • Ideas are justified in terms of appropriateness for from.
  • Ideas are creatively developed.
  • Agreed deadlines are adhered to.

    2:
  • Requirements and needs are correctly identified.
  • Guidelines developed are relevant for requirements and needs.
  • Guidelines are appropriate for delineating the writing process.

    3:
  • Agreed contracts are adhered to.
  • Agreement is obtained from stakeholders before scriptwriting commences.
  • Evaluation of rights and responsibilities of scriptwriters is justified in terms of the requirements for professionalism.
  • Management of information sharing is appropriate for protecting intellectual property.

    4:
  • Information gathered is relevant for enhancing scripts.
  • Information can be verified.
  • Identified resources of information are relevant for the requirements of the script.
  • Definition of research parameters is relevant for formulated research questions.
  • Formulation of research questions is relevant for the specific contexts.
  • Professional ethics are adhered to.
  • Information is interpreted in relation to the research question.

    5:
  • Presentation style, language and format are appropriate for the purpose of the presentation.
  • Scope of presentations is appropriate for the purpose of the presentations.
  • Methodologies, techniques and tools employed are appropriate for specific contexts.
  • Presentations and content must be sufficient for decision making requirements.

    6:
  • Structure of content is appropriate for the form.
  • Elements of the script components and scripts are effective for purpose.
  • Structure can be justified in terms of form requirements.

    7:
  • Scripts are appropriate for the selected form.
  • Scripts meet the specified requirements.
  • Specified industry standards are adhered to.
  • Tools and techniques are relevant for the required product.

    8:
  • Feedback is obtained from relevant persons.
  • Script changes are based on analysis of feedback and are justified in terms of specified requirements.
  • Analysis of feedback takes into account specified requirements.
  • The impact of choices is assessed in terms of effectiveness of scripts based on verifiable criteria.

    9:
  • Management of information sharing is appropriate for protecting intellectual property.
  • Contracts are evaluated.
  • Contracts are negotiated.
  • Own creativity as a resource, is nurtured.

    10:
  • Scripts are appropriate for the selected form.
  • Scripts meet the specified requirements.
  • Specified industry standards are adhered to.
  • Tools and techniques are relevant for the required product.

    11:
  • Employees are recruited, selected and contracted in line with legal requirements.
  • Employment contracts are complied within the framework of relevant legislation.
  • Recruitment and selection of required human resources is conducted ethically.
  • Grievance and disciplinary hearings are appropriately dealt with.
  • All related legislation is complied with.

    12:
  • Systems are implemented to meet the flow of information.
  • Investigation of marketing communications concepts is appropriate for purpose of communication.
  • Cost budgets are accurately prepared and estimated.
  • All actual costs are monitored and controlled against budgets.
  • Project schedules are communicated to all relevant persons.
  • Monitoring and evaluating of project schedules is against agreed criteria and meets project objectives.
  • Project administration processes are according to requirements.

    Integrated assessment:

    The assessment criteria in the unit standards are performance-based, assessing applied competence rather than only knowledge, or skills. In addition, learners must demonstrate that they can achieve the outcomes in an integrated manner, dealing effectively with different and random demands related to the environmental conditions in occupational contexts, to qualify. Evidence is required that the learner is able to achieve the exit level outcomes of the qualification as a whole and thus its purpose, at the time of the award of the qualification. Workplace experience can be recognised when assessing towards this qualification.

    The assessment process should include formative assessments against assessment criteria for both the specific outcomes, and the exit level outcomes. In addition, summative assessment is required to award the qualification. Assessment should be in line with the following general principles of designing and conducting assessments:
  • Focus the initial assessment activities on gathering evidence in terms of the main outcomes expressed in the titles of the Unit Standards to ensure assessment is integrated rather than fragmented. Remember that the learner needs to be declared competent in terms of the qualification purpose and exit level outcomes.
  • Where assessment across Unit Standard titles or at Unit Standard title level is unmanageable, then focus assessment around each specific outcome, or groups of specific outcomes. Take special note of the need for integrated assessment.
  • Make sure evidence is gathered across the entire range, wherever it applies. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    Various countries around the world offer scriptwriting programs, often in the form of short courses at a post graduate or equivalent level. International qualifications are delivered in the form of practical sessions and mentoring around projects to develop scripts through team-based learning with the assistance of experts.

    In the United Kingdom most courses are based on the assumption that the participants are already experienced scriptwriters, or directors and others working at an advanced level in other creative fields. Course duration ranges from 7 days (for experienced writers) to 8 months. A distinction is made between television and film scriptwriting, and the film scriptwriting programs are usually shorter than the television scriptwriting programs. Therefore, this South African qualification that includes scriptwriting for both television and film contains more credits than the United Kingdom programs that separate television and film scriptwriting competence.

    In Poland a one-year qualification is offered to learners who are usually film professionals and focuses on the creative pre-production process. The key difference between the Polish and South African qualification is that the Polish qualification also addresses directing, production and photography competence. However, the South African qualification requires more scriptwriting competencies, and also includes gathering information and identifying and accessing information resources, and managing human resources.

    Scriptwriting programs in France address the history of film and theatre, structure of scripts, composition, genre, character development, language use, script development principles, dialogue, description, and script analysis. The duration of these programs is mostly between 7 and 10 days. In addition to what is included in the French programs, this South African qualification addresses presenting script components and scripts, negotiation of contracts, gathering information and identifying and accessing information resources, and managing human resources.

    Danish programs (approximately seven months' duration) address character and story development, basic principles of scriptwriting, common scriptwriting language or vocabulary, sequences and structural elements in film, dramatic narrative construction, the European and international film market, audience perspectives, analysis of scripts, characters and their drive, motivations and conflicts, and how to tell stories. In addition to what is included in the Danish programs, this South African qualification addresses negotiation of contracts, gathering information and identifying and accessing information resources, and managing human resources. The inclusion of these competencies explains the difference in learning time.

    In Spain, scriptwriting programs are mostly aimed at professionals in the audio-visual industry, and the focus is on fiction. These programs contain fewer credits (course are approximately 7 days) than this South African certificate, and address principles and concepts of scriptwriting, language and linguistic competence, editing scripts, and genre.

    The scriptwriting programs in Italy are mostly aimed at professional, experienced scriptwriters. The programs run for approximately 4 months, and address the theory of scriptwriting, analysis of scriptwriting theory, story analysis, script editing, genres, defining target audiences, and improvement of writing techniques for television, film, animation, multimedia, and creative documentaries. It does not address contract negotiation, information gathering, script presentation and human resource management competence - this South African qualification does.

    In Greece scriptwriting programs are also aimed at experienced scriptwriters. Program duration is approximately 1 month. The programs are aimed at developing scripts, including developing outlines or treatments, revision and rewriting, writing final drafts, script analysis and critique, elements of story, theme, character and circumstance.

    In Germany, scriptwriting courses are divided into initial (entry-level) courses, and continuous training. These courses are further classified as short term or long term courses. Most courses are for continuous training (in South Africa this is referred to as Continuing Professional Development/Education), and are long-term courses (more than 1 month). Two year entry-level courses exist at a level below that of this South African qualification, that include the tools of scriptwriting for specific film genres and television formats and courses in directing, camera techniques, film theory, and film history. Continuous training programs include script development, selecting an approach, developing a schedule, working with actors or other members of the production team, presenting scripts to potential producers and broadcasters, drafting ideas, developing treatments, and obtaining feedback. Unlike this South African qualification, it does not address negotiation of contracts, gathering information and identifying and accessing information resources, and managing human resources. The South African qualification appears to be a combination of the German entry-level and continuous training, resulting in the South African qualification containing more credits.

    The Australian qualifications framework contains a Diploma of Screenwriting, a Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting and an Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting (Film, Television and Digital Media), the latter with credits, content and complexity equivalent to this South African qualification.

    Most international qualifications focus on either film or television scriptwriting, whereas this South African qualification includes both areas, to improve employability of qualifying learners. Most of the international qualifications do not focus on generating ideas, and assume that learners enter programs with an existing idea for development. The majority of international programs are for purposes of Continuing Professional Development. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Vertical articulation upwards is possible with generic Masters level degrees. Vertical articulation downwards is possible with, for example, the National Certificate in Specialised Translation (NQF Level 6). Horizontal articulation on the NQF is possible with, for example, the National Diploma in Interpreting (NQF Level 7). 

    MODERATION OPTIONS 
    Moderation of assessment and accreditation of providers shall be at the discretion of a relevant ETQA as long as it complies with the SAQA requirements. The ETQA is responsible for moderation of learner achievements of learners who meet the requirements of this qualification. Particular moderation and accreditation requirements are:
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA. Providers offering learning towards achievement of any of the unit standards that make up this qualification must also be accredited through the relevant ETQA accredited by SAQA.
  • The ETQA will oversee assessment and moderation of assessment according to their policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation, or in terms of agreements reached around assessment and moderation between the relevant ETQA and other ETQAs and in terms of the moderation guideline detailed here.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments for the qualification, unless the relevant ETQA policies specify otherwise. Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described in Unit Standards as well as the integrated competence described in the qualification.
  • Internal moderation of assessment must take place at the point of assessment with external moderation provided by a relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines and the agreed ETQA procedures.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this qualification may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA. 

  • CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    Assessment of learner achievements takes place at providers accredited by the relevant ETQA (RSA, 1998b) for the provision of programs that result in the outcomes specified for this qualification. Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this qualification must be registered as an assessor with the ETQA. Assessors registered with the relevant ETQA must carry out the assessment of learners for the qualification and any of the Unit Standards that make up this qualification.

    To register as an assessor, the following are required:
  • Detailed documentary proof of relevant qualification/s, practical training completed, and experience gained.
  • NQF recognised assessor credit.

    All assessments should be conducted in line with the following well-documented principles:
  • Appropriate: The method of assessment is suited to the performance being assessed.
  • Fair: The method of assessment does not present any barriers to achievements, which are not related to the evidence.
  • Manage: The methods used make for easily arranged cost-effective assessments that do not unduly interfere with learning.
  • Integrate into work or learning: Evidence collection is integrated into the work or learning process where this is appropriate and feasible.
  • Valid: The assessment focuses on the requirements laid down in the standards; i.e. the assessment is fit for purpose.
  • Direct: The activities in the assessment mirror the conditions of actual performance as close as possible.
  • Authentic: The assessor is satisfied that the work being assessed is attributable to the learner being assessed.
  • Sufficient: The evidence collected establishes that all criteria have been met and that performance to the required Standard can be repeated consistently.
  • Systematic: Planning and recording is sufficiently rigorous to ensure that assessment is fair.
  • Open: Learners can contribute to the planning and accumulation of evidence. Learners for assessment understand the assessment process and the criteria that apply.
  • Consistent: The same assessor would make the same judgement again in similar circumstances. The judgement made is similar than the judgement that would be made by other assessors.

    In particular, assessors should assess that the learner demonstrates an ability to consider a range of options by:
  • Measuring the quality of the observed practical performance as well as the theory and underpinning knowledge.
  • Using methods that are varied to allow the learner to display thinking and decision making in the demonstration of practical performance.
  • Maintaining a balance between practical performance and theoretical assessment methods to ensure each is measured in accordance with the level of the qualification.
  • Taking into account that the relationship between practical and theoretical components is not fixed, but varies according to the type and level of qualification. 

  • REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARDS: 
      ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
    Core  117964  Conduct research specific to scripts being developed  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  12 
    Core  117955  Analyse the relationship between form and content in scripts  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117959  Assess marketability of scripts  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117962  Evaluate script quality  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117952  Interpret specifications for scripts  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117967  Negotiate scriptwriting contracts  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7 
    Core  117956  Process feedback in the script development process  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117953  Propose ideas for scripts  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  10 
    Core  117954  Write scripts for film or television  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  15 
    Fundamental  115006  Analyse various texts in different contexts  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  10 
    Fundamental  116804  Collect and collate background information for specific contexts  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6  15 
    Fundamental  116796  Analyse linguistic structures  Level 7  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L7  15 
    Elective  11907  Draft an employment contract  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  15225  Identify and interpret related legislation and its impact on the team, department or division and ensure compliance  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  15226  Implement systems to meet the flow of information in a team, department or division  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  10064  Investigate and explain marketing communications concepts  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  12140  Recruit and select candidates to fill defined positions  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
    Elective  10985  Conduct a disciplinary hearing  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Elective  110483  Develop and manage an organisational records system  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 
    Elective  12139  Facilitate the resolution of employee grievances  Level 6  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 


    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. South African Film Institute 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.