Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course examines the concept of authorship in film and/or television from a range of different theoretical, cultural, industrial, and historical perspectives, and how such figuration has been 'written' both on-screen and off via dedicated critical, theoretical, and audience debates. Taking in how authorship manifests on screen according to scholarly writing and relevant biographical details of a given director and/or primary writer of a film or television programme, the role of authors will be considered, analysed, and interrogated. Select weekly 'case studies' will examine, trace, and debate divergent understandings of authorship and critiques thereof.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2021.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a level-appropriate detailed understanding of critical and theoretical debates about authorship in one or more modes of screen media across different historical and cultural contexts.

2. Evaluate critical and theoretical humanities discourses of authorship studies and theory as applied to film and/or television.

3. Apply dedicated scholarly approaches to the work of particular film and/or television authors.

4. Interpret films and/or television programmes by analysing their authorial signature.

5. Demonstrate high-level undergraduate skills in textual, historical, industrial, and cultural analysis of films and/or television programmes.


This course will examine select topics from the following:

  • Debates around singular authorship as applied to the collective artforms of film and/or television.
  • The differences between how authorship has historically functioned in film, television, and other modes of screen media.
  • Discourses of 'auterism' arguing that a good film's author is its director.
  • Individualist discourses and television creators, showrunners and/or executive producers.
  • Studies of key authors in the history of cinema and/or television.
  • Theoretical critiques of authorship as a concept, within film and/or television studies and related humanities discourses.
  • The role of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and cultural background in understandings of authorship.
  • How authorship has been conceived within different national and cultural contexts.
  • Authorship and 'world cinema'.
  • Screen authorship's industrial and commercial functions.
  • Classical, modernist, and postmodernist constructions, performances, and understandings of screen authorship.
  • Authorship and 'autocritique'.
  • Collective models for understanding screen authorship.
  • Reading authorship through thematic, formal, aesthetic, character, and narrative elements of a screen text.

Assumed knowledge

20 units of 1000-level FMCS courses.

Assessment items

Journal: Weekly Journal (40%)

Written Assignment: Research Exercise (20%)

Essay: Major Research Essay (40%)

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.