Module Title:Producing & Writing for Factual TV
Language of Instruction:English
Credits: 10
NFQ Level:6
Module Delivered In 2 programme(s)
Teaching & Learning Strategies: A combination of lectures, tutorials, screenings, practical projects and critiques.
Module Aim: To equip students with in-depth knowledge of how to originate, develop and ultimately produce factual TV to current industry trends and standards.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to:
LO1 Demonstrate the tools, techniques and methodologies necessary for identifying TV-worthy stories across various genres.
LO2 Illustrate an in-depth understanding of how to critically watch and break down factual TV in variety of genres.
LO3 Critically analyse transcripts of interviews, TV programmes and single interviews to be able to identify the story arc and improve an existing arc.
LO4 Demonstrate an understanding of telling stories through words, visuals and sound.
LO5 Analyse the role and influence of factual TV in modern society and critically assess the influence of advertisers and media ownership on the station’s editorial choices
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed.
No requirements listed

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content

Qualities of a Development Producer

Understanding the Landscape of Factual TV

1. Factual genres

2. Public service vs. advertising revenues

Current trends in factual TV What Commissioning Editors Want?

1. A story, not a subject

2. Timely hook

3. Engaging characters

4. Themes

5. Intriguing settings

6. Unique insights

7. Knowing your market: Niche ideas vs broad appeal

8. Proven formats


1. Where and how to find a story

2. What makes a good contributor

3. Finding key contributors and keeping them

4. Getting people to tell stories they’d usually keep private

5. Character and concepts

6. Writing for factual TV

7. Narrative drive

8. Timelines

9. Story arcs

10. Story beats

11. Story spine

12. The fairy-tale in your story

13. 5Ws and H

14. The pre-interview

15. Plotting your story

Skills of an Executive Producer

1. Interview styles & techniques for various factual genres

2. Recording human behaviour – the dos and don’ts

3. The shoot

4. The Edit

5. Pre-title sequence

6. Front-loading your programme

7. Putting it all together

8. Critical Analysis of factual TV

9. Critical analysis of commercially successful factual TV programmes

10. Critical analysis of acclaimed award winning factual TV (but commercially unsuccessful)

Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment100.00%
Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Unique Insight

Student will be given a subject area and asked to identify 8 different ‘arenas’ that would provide a unique insight for this subject in a particular genre. They must be able to evaluate and illustrate why each ‘arena’ would be suitable.
1 10.00 Week 4
Practical/Skills Evaluation


Students will be asked to go to one of their previously identified arenas and source contributor/s whose personal story will bring this subject alive for the viewers. A three-minute taster tape of the contributor/s will be supplied by the student along with a two-minute pitch.
1,5 10.00 Week 6
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Story Arc

Students will be shown a factual programme and asked to identify the 8 point story arc.
1,2,3 10.00 Week 9
Practical/Skills Evaluation

The pre-interview and brief

Students will be asked to supply an interview script and one page brief associated with contributor they previously pitched. The brief must follow story arc and storytelling guidelines.
3,4 10.00 Week 11
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Pre-title sequence

Students will be asked to edit a pre-title sequence from a documentary provided.
3,4 10.00 Week 14
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Frontloading a factual programme

Students will be given an interview transcription and will be asked to provide a paper edit with emphasis on story.
1,3,4 10.00 Week 21
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Story-telling Presentation

Students will be asked to critically analyse an award-winning documentary film under the headings of Story Spine, Story Arc, Main character, Secondary Character, Conflict, Setting, Recording Human Behaviour, Interview Technique, Pre-title, sequence, Opening/Middle/Ending, Fairytale, and influence of the station's owner and associated major advertisers. They will present their analysis in class, afterwards they will answer questions and give further explanations.
2,3,4,5 20.00 Week 24
Practical/Skills Evaluation

Produce a short Interview.

Students will be asked to produce a short interview for a specific show following the story guidelines.
1,3,4 20.00 Week 29
No Project
No Practical
No End of Module Formal Examination

ITCarlow reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Every Week 2.00
Tutorial Every Week 1.00
Independent Learning Time Every Week 2.00
Total Hours 5.00

Module Delivered In

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CW_EETVM_D Bachelor of Science in TV and Media Production 3 Mandatory
CW_EETVM_B Bachelor of Science(Honours) in TV and Media Production 3 Mandatory