The skills of storytelling are timeless. Tackle the creative, analytical and professional sides of script writing for film, television and radio on this industry-accredited MA.
With myriad new media platforms there are more opportunities to create content than ever before. And all these require a script and a story. But how do you get your work to industry-standard and in front of the right people?
The main question you have to ask yourself for this MA programme is: do I really need to be a writer more than anything else? That’s quite brutal, but script writing is a tough profession. You’re totally exposed as a creative person, it’s you and the page and the tradition in which you’re working, and that can be a liberating but also uncomfortable place to be.
The programme is not about learning how to be a writer; it’s about developing and pushing forward your own writing projects as far and as fast as you can within 12 months. You’ll be developing your own voice, learning how to critique the work of others, and getting to grips with marketing your projects. You’ll also be making industry contacts so you can pitch for employment in an extremely competitive industry.
You’ll cover every aspect of the writing process from getting ideas, maintaining productive writing practices and developing characters and story lines, to presenting your work to an industry standard and pitching your ideas. Writing is a lonely business – that’s why the community of writers that the programme gives you is such a creative advantage.
This is an MA that really focuses on you as the student. There are lectures, but most of the time you’ll be working one-to-one with a writing tutor or within small group workshops (with a maximum of 13 people).
We keep the course small deliberately. In this way we know your individual work and you know other students’ work through the weekly feedback process. We also believe you don’t know who you are until you’re relating to another person, and ultimately this is what script writing is about: making that connection.
A core course is designed to give you the skills and understanding required to develop your Treatment for a feature film or equivalent television or radio script. The course is taught mostly with workshops, in which you present and discuss your own work with other students in a supportive environment. There are also class exercises, lectures, screenings, master classes, seminars and individual tutorials.
Starting in the Spring Term, the course then develops your Treatment into a second draft feature script (or its equivalent).
You'll then be able to pick from a selection of option modules.
The MA is composed of:
You also produce a Reflection Essay (15 credits), and choose option modules to the value of 75 credits from the following list:
You are assessed on your portfolio, which consists of your long form treatment and second draft feature script or equivalent, your 4,000-word Reflection essay on this script, linked to issues in Media and Culture and a radio script adapted from a source text. In addition, depending on your options, your portfolio could also include a 10-12 page short script or script-editing proposal and coverage. Other modules are assessed by 5-6,000-word essays.
MA Script Writing is all about the product. So when you complete this masters, you leave with a whole portfolio of writing, a set of professional skills, a list of industry contacts, and a set of professional friendships through the Goldsmiths Screen School.
The programme gives you a safe, supportive and stimulating environment to unpack your ideas, get constructive feedback, make mistakes, and find the story you want to tell. In the end though, it’s down to you as an individual to become the writer you want to be.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths
From start to finish producers are the driving force behind the film and television industry. They generate new projects and ideas, secure finance, manage production and strategically market the result. The producer’s role has been transformed by the advent of globalisation, digital technology and the multi-channel environment. Now more than ever, the entertainment industries need creative leadership.
Our Masters offers aspiring producers the opportunity to acquire the creative and entrepreneurial skills required to enter the rapidly changing universe of film and television. You will learn to create script ideas, work with writers and directors, manage a production thoroughly and market across platforms, we'll teach you how to navigate the financial and legal aspects of the industry, too.
The course is taught from our creative hub at Royal Holloway's central London campus, 11 Bedford Square. Our proximity to the media industry means that we can draw upon professionals for outstanding master classes, industry panels and careers events. Students are encouraged to attend The London Film Festival, MIPCOM, Berlin, and Cannes international festivals. You will also try out interning at a production company or work on the crew of a professional production.
You will learn from top talent and practice what you learn by making films, and TV programmes. The ‘Role of Producer’ and ‘Script Development’ courses are taught by Professor Jonathan Powell, one of the UK's most respected and experienced drama producers, having previously worked as Controller of BBC1 and Head of Drama for the BBC. The course leader is award winning producer and executive, Gillian Gordon who brings thirty years’ experience in Hollywood and the UK to teaching ‘Producing Workshop’.
Through master classes, industry internships and alumni partnerships, students are provided with opportunities to network with international talent and expertise, as well as building links with current Royal Holloway students and academic partners.
The Role of the Producer
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of the producer as the driving force in creating, managing and selling film and television products. You will look at how the independent sector works, and consider how to programme and pitch ideas. You will also examine approaches to working with creative talent.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how to write an industry standard script report. You will learn how to analyse both film and TV scripts, and produce reports that constructively engage writers with the process of script development. You will consider the analysis of structure, character, dialogue, genre, and how to transfer feedback verbally.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how to create and pitch ideas to film, television and new media executives and financiers. You will learn the basics of script development, set procedure, scheduling, camera work, audio equipment and post production. You will consider how to develop and identify viable fiction projects and lead and manage the production of a short video, . You will work with creative talent, writers, directors, casting agents, and key craft team members, and examine how to finance and market your short film. You will put together a viable presentation package and pitch to a panel of industry professionals.
International Media Business
In this module you will develop an understanding of the global film and TV business. You will learn how to plan and conceptualise the creation and management of a sustainable media enterprise. You will examine the critical issues affecting the success or failure of film and television businesses, considering the role of financial planning in the life-cycle of visual media projects. You will also explore the wider context of finance in the development, marketing and distribution of film and television to investors, partners and government bodies, with a focus on the challenges faced by business startups.
In this module you will develop an understanding of basic production accounting and the line management skills needed for film, TV and transmedia production. You will learn how to set-up a production company and budget, schedule, manage cash flow, and supervise a quality fiction production. You will consider how to manage 'below-the line' deals on a drama production and identify financial issues and their implications for day-to-day management. You will also examine how to manage a film crew and supervise the daily operations of a production team, and manage production costs, equipment and facility deals.
Marketing and Media Law
In this module you will develop an understanding of media marketing and promotion in film and television distribution and exhibition. You will look at social media and new trends in the global marketing of films and media projects, including cross-platform marketing. You will consider the fundamental principles of media law, including contract and intellectual property law, and examine issues of content and regulation.
You will produce a 10,000 word dissertation or media project on topic of your choice. You will carry out an investigation that has a clearly defined aim of study and arrive at a carefully argued set of conclusions derived from original research covering print, internet and first hand interview sources.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays, script reports, treatments, pitching exercises, studio exercises, production papers, practical film-making, business reports and presentations.
Our close links to the film and TV production industry make this a practical course – and one that gives you building blocks for your future.
While you're on the course, we'll encourage and guide you into work placements and internships. Past students have secured placements with industry leading organisations including:
Graduates from the Department of Media Arts have gone on to work in independent television and film production, for broadcasters like the BBC and ITV, for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.
The Master in International Screenwriting and Production is a graduate program that aims at creating professional scriptwriters, story editors and producers, providing them with a thorough understanding of the audiovisual industry and a strong knowledge of the storytelling techniques, which are the heart of every project of feature film and television series.
The MISP is a full-time intensive course, with a maximum enrollment of 42 students. The diploma, issued by Università Cattolica, is recognized as a first level Master’s degree by the Italian Government.
The MISP will allow students to acquire the required knowledge to work in the entertainment industry, both as writers and/or professionals working in production or distribution companies, TV networks, talent agencies or as production assistants.
Students will receive a comprehensive and high level training which effectively combines the academic expertise of university professors with the professional know-how of high-ranking professionals with international profiles.
Graduates from the MISP are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities. Graduates have both the theoretical knowledge and the methodological tools suited to pursue professional and managerial careers as:
● Screenwriters or creative producers of television series and feature films;
● Authors of TV entertainment programs and documentaries, copywriters, creators of video games and web series, writers of comic books and novels and fiction editors in publishing companies;
● Story editors and script consultants;
● Supervisors of evaluation, acquisition and programming of TV shows;
● Professionals working in different areas of the television and film industry (physical production, distribution, acquisition, product placement, etc.)
Here is a list of some Professors and Guest Lecturers:
● Eleonora Andreatta - Director TV series and TV dramas for Rai Fiction
● Luca Bernabei, CEO Lux vide, Rome
● Armando Fumagalli, Director of the Master, professor of Semiotics and History of Cinema, UCSC; script consultant for Lux vide
● Robin Lyons - Animation Writer and Producer – Calon (UK)
● Luca Manzi - Writer for novel, theatre and television, and co-founder of the Master Program
● Cristiana Nobili - Director, Original Live Action Production, Disney Europe, Middle East and Africa (London)
● Paolo Sigismondi, professor of Global Entertainment, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
● John Truby - Screenwriter and script doctor for Disney, Universal, Sony Pictures, Fox, HBO, BBC
● Screenwriting theory (8 ECTS/ CFU)
● Script analysis and project evaluation (8 ECTS/ CFU)
● Writing techniques for audiovisual products (12 ECTS/ CFU)
- Screenwriting practice: treatments, scenes and dialogues, scripts, pitches.
- The writing of genres and adaptation.
- Writing for different formats: comic books, novels, documentaries, entertainment TV shows, advertising, the web, mobile media, and transmedia projects.
- Screenwriting and production of animation projects.
● The audiovisual industry (4 ECTS/ CFU)
- Industries and audiences.
- TV acquisition and programming and film distribution
- The physical production: pre-production, shooting, post-production, contracts and budgeting.
● Communication ethics (4 ECTS/ CFU)
Three months before the end of theoretical classes, the students will have to choose between one of the following careers: screenwriting or production. The students, who choose the screenwriting career, will have to write and deliver a final project from which the writing abilities developed during the program should emerge. Typically,the final project takes the form of a script for a feature film, which can either be an original idea or an adaptation.
The final project can be written in English, Italian, French or Spanish. The students, who choose the production career, will have the opportunity to undertake an internship within an established production or distribution company, a TV network, an advertising agency or on a film set.
The MISP aims at providing its stu- dents with the adequate knowledge, wide-ranging skills and contacts to meet the requests of an increasingly global and varied audiovisual industry.
In previous years, alumni from MISP (which, until 2015, was taught in Italian: Master in Scrittura e produzione per la fiction e il cinema) have been working as writers and producers for top rating TV series and highly successful feature films, or as writers of best selling novels, published in many countries; many of them have been working in high-ranking audiovisual companies such as Cattleya, Disney, Endemol, Focus Features, Freman- tle, Lux Vide, Mediaset, RAI, SKY, among others. They work not only in Italy, but also in London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Paris, etc.
Graduates from the MISP are exposed to a wide range of career opportunities. Graduates have both the theoretical knowledge and the methodological tools suited to pursue professional and managerial careers as:
All scholarships are assigned on a merit basis and will be mostly given to students who apply by the priority deadline. Some scholarships may also target specific geographic regions.
Scholarship value: €4500
The Master of Screenwriting is designed for those who have a desire to write audience-engaged stories for a visual medium and for people wishing to work as professional screenwriters.
Semester one is classroom-intensive and is an introduction to the many facets of screenwriting. You take part in ‘Storytelling Workshops’ which analyse the universal essentials of storytelling. You also attend lectures, classes and screenings dedicated to the craft of screenwriting and undertake intensive modules focusing on feature film and television writing.
Semester two focuses on writing a first draft of your major project. You develop your script with the assistance of script tutorials, feedback from your lecturer and peers, and a unique script development hothouse. During this semester you also gain skills in giving and receiving creative feedback on your scripts. A first draft feature screenplay, or a TV Bible plus episode(s) of a script, are the expected outcomes after first year.
In semester three you are expected to implement skills you have learned to focus on redrafting your major project as you complete a second or third draft. Script tutorials plus lecturer and peer feedback is maintained throughout. In this semester, you also learn about the Australian and international screenwriting landscape.
The Masters in Playwriting & Dramaturgy gives you a practical and theoretical engagement with the many forms of writing and production for theatre. The programme is designed for those wishing to develop playwriting skills and knowledge of script development and support, opening the way to many theatre roles, including dramaturgy.
Our programme is the only one in Scotland that combines playwriting with dramaturgy. You will undertake core practical playwriting courses and core dramaturgy courses before choosing to specialise in one pathway.
A significant part of the programme is delivered by professional writers and dramaturges. This programme also includes the opportunity for playwrights to develop a major script, through workshops and staged readings with actors and directors.
Core teaching is delivered in two semesters, followed by an independent desk- or practice-based project.
Our core courses introduce you to the foundations of both playwriting as a craft, and dramaturgy as a historical and contemporary practice.
In addition, core courses develop other skills useful to the role of the dramaturg and the practitioner, including critical reading, writing and reflection, independent research skills (such as archival and audience research), and presentation skills.
These courses will also prepare you to pursue doctoral study in the future.
The design of the Playwriting & Dramaturgy programme is intended to develop both the practical and critical skills of students. There is both subject-specific development (including knowledge of playwriting as a craft and dramaturgy as a role, working knowledge of the playwriting process, in-depth knowledge of plays and processes of textual and production analyses) alongside more generic skills development (including presentation skills – written and oral, a capacity for critical reflection, project management, team work, and independent research skills).
The role of the dramaturg is becoming increasingly recognised within the theatre industries, as is the capacity of playwrights to apply their skills and knowledge to other tasks (including, for example, providing script development support for emerging writers). This programme aims to equip playwrights and potential dramaturges with knowledge of other writing roles in theatre.
The critical components of this programme also provide a good foundation for students wishing to progress to doctoral study.
Graduates of this programme have gone on to become commissioned playwrights, production dramaturges, theatre critics, literary advisors, doctoral students, theatre makers and academics.
Led by a professional playwright, this unique programme focuses on the practical exploration of the theory and craft of writing for performance. It explores how a script is written to be interpreted by the key creative artists in theatre and how that script plays out in space and time in front of an audience.
Through seminars, tutorials, workshops and professional master classes (led by some of Europe’s leading playwrights and theatre artists), you will develop an understanding of live performance theory, self-motivation and the focus necessary to work as an independent artist within the theatre industry.
Edinburgh has a buzzing theatre scene and the programme draws on this to culminate in a public, professional reading of your work in progress at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, independent study, one-to-one supervision and professional master classes. There will also be regular theatre visits.
A central component of the programme will be development workshops with professional actors and established directors, focusing on your own work. You will also work with the performing artists-in-residence, who will offer workshops in each semester. Over two semesters you will take three compulsory courses and one option course.
On completion of these courses, you will produce a major piece of performance writing, supported by one-to-one supervision and development workshops, to be given a professional reading at the end of the programme.
Option courses may include:
Students who successfully complete this programme will:
This highly practical programme allows you to forge valuable links within Edinburgh’s performing arts community. You may choose to use the research skills you have developed to pursue advanced study, or seek a role within the theatrical field.
The transferable skills you gain from your studies, such as communication, research and project management will be valuable to your career development whatever path you choose.
Students have the flexibility to pursue a project that they are passionate about, and to be supported by the expertise of the staff team. This allows for a range of diverse backgrounds in terms of learning experiences, ethnic diversity, disability, gender and age; projects will be developed and tailored to the individual’s learning needs.
All staff members are actively publishing their writing and have won several awards between them for creative outputs. The team have expertise in speculative fiction, historical fiction, scriptwriting, screenwriting, adaptation, poetry, experimental poetry, hybrid forms, horror fiction, literary fiction, creative non-fiction (including memoir and true-crime), and are able to support writing in a number of genres.
The staff team of award-winning writers have an exciting and diverse approach to creative writing and are able to supervise a huge range of proposed projects. Current full-time staff members include:
In addition, the Creative Writing team at York St John has a strong focus on the relationship between critical theory and creative writing and the intersection of a number of theoretical perspectives with creative practice, including eco-criticism, psychoanalysis, biopolitics and regionality. Members of the team have undertaken interdisciplinary and collaborative research exploring music, memory, medicine, uncanny landscapes and pollination.
Creative Writing at York St John University is distinguished by:
The three distinct routes offer focussed, but flexible structures to fulfil a range of motivations. This is distinctive in the UK market:
Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.
York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.