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Course content

During the MA in Screenwriting for Television and Film (in Retreat) you will cover writing for feature film and television as well as new developments such as web drama. You will develop a range of ideas, then go on to write film and television outlines, and several drafts of a feature film screenplay, a TV single drama, or a TV series or serial bible and sample episodes.

Commencing in September, you will be taught through a mixture of intensive writing retreats and distance learning techniques, including Skype and our dedicated online learning environment, Moodle. The course includes four week-long residential retreats throughout one year (full time), with some taking place in Central London and others at our beautiful Egham Campus, near Windsor. This structure immerses you in a creative atmosphere conducive to concentrated learning and group interaction, with Development Lab as a core module, where you will present your work in progress to the group for criticism and feedback, and experiment with co-writing.

Between retreats the course is run via distance-learning with a website, chat room and e-tutorials. This makes it possible for those living outside the UK, and those with busy working lives, such as freelancers and those in full-time employment, to take time out to attend. The course attracts a wide variety of students including those wishing to make a career change from other sectors through to established actors, comedy writers, editors, producers, novelists and many others.

You will also meet and work with industry and independent producers, directors, agents, writers and actors to provide a production context.

  • You'll come to us for four week-long retreats, over the course of a (full-time) year. Between retreats, you'll learn from home via a website, chatroom and tutorials.
  • You'll learn as part of our creative campus, in a department with combined expertise in both Media theory and Media practice, rated in the top 10 Media Arts departments for research quality (REF, 2014)
  • You'll get to bounce your ideas off other people – core to the course is a 'writers' room' space, where students present their works-in-progress to each other for criticism and feedback. You'll also get to experiment with co-writing.
  • You'll learn from course director Ivan Levene, a screenwriter and script editor with over 15 years of experience in the industry. The teaching team includes Adam Ganz (whose dramas include Pillow Talk and Murder Without Motive), Jonathan Powell (former Controller of BBC One and Head of BBC Drama), Gillian Gordon (award-winning producer with 30 years experience) and John Roberts (BAFTA award winning director of Paulie).
  • You'll meet and work with industry and independent producers, directors, agents, writers and actors. Recent speakers include experts from the BBC, Bad Robot Productions, Bankside Films, Casarotto Ramsay and United Agents as well as as well as directors such as Daniel Wolfe (Catch Me Daddy) and Sarah Gavron (Suffragette).

Course structure

  • Story and Theme
  • Development Lab
  • Contexts - Current British Film and Television Practice

Teaching & assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including script outlines and scenes, a completed feature film screenplay and/or TV series episode and ‘bible’, and marketing and pitch documents.

Your future career

You'll be set for a career in television and feature film screenwriting and script development. Graduates with work in film and TV include:

  • Janice Hallett's feature screenplay Retreat, starring Cillian Murphy (2011).
  • Olivia Wakeford wrote for the feature film Baseline (2009).
  • Kay Stonham was commissioned by the BBC, and two of our younger writers are working on a C5 youth drama series. 
  • Adam Rolston's musical, A Sentimental Journey, on Doris Day's life performed at a variety of UK and US venues.
  • Daniel Wolfe directed and co-wrote Catch Me Daddy, released to critical acclaim in 2015.
  • Sir Lenny Henry wrote and starred in the autobiographical drama, Danny and the Human Zoo, for BBC 1.

Other students from our department have gone on to work in independent television and film production, for broadcasters like the BBC and ITV, and for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.

Visit the Screenwriting for TV and Film (in Retreat) - MA page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!




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Recipient: Royal Holloway, University of London

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