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Writing & Producing Comedy (PGDip)


Course Description

The UK has a world leading comedy pedigree, but no industry recognised comedy training course - until now. The new 18 month part-time NFTS Diploma in Writing and Producing Comedy will enable students to develop all forms of scripted and unscripted comedy including, sitcoms, sketch shows, and panel shows for radio and tv. The course is run in partnership with Channel 4.

Quick Facts

- 18 Month Course
- Part-time
- Course starts in January
- Next intake: January 2017
- UK and EEA applicants only

- The world's first Diploma course in Writing and Producing Comedy.
- Delivered in partnership with Channel 4
- Part-time, evening course
- Regular Industry speakers
- Develop and write an original show and make a taster tape.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 08 SEP 2016

Visit the website https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/diploma/writing-and-producing-comedy

COURSE OVERVIEW

This course commences in January each year. Students will be taught by NFTS writing and producing tutors supported by guest sessions from the people responsible for some of the UK’s most iconic UK shows including Peep Show, Father Ted, Have I Got News for You, Spitting Image, Horrible Histories and Green Wing.

The course advisory board includes:

Ash Atalla – The Office, Cuckoo, Trollied
Dawson Bros – The Peter Serafinowicz Show, That Mitchell & Webb Look, Big School
Sam Bain - Peep Show, Fresh Meat, Rev
Richard Boden – Blackadder, 'Allo 'Allo, IT Crowd
Gregor Cameron – Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show, Fighting Talk
Saurabh Kakkar – Head of Development – Comedy – Big Talk
Graham Linehan – Father Ted, IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong
Arabella McGuigan – Smack the Pony, Brass Eye
Caroline Norris - Horrible Histories, The Armstrong & Miller Show, Dead Ringers
John O’Farrell – Spitting Image, Have I Got News For You, Novelist
Richard Preddy – Green Wing, Campus
Lucy Robinson - Co-Founder Little Comet Film & TV/Head of Comedy Brothers and Sisters
Helen Spencer -Salford Comedy Festival, Salford Sitcom Showcase, Jesting About
Lorna Watson & Ingrid Oliver – Watson & Oliver

The course is part-time (one evening a week and occasional Saturdays) over eighteen months and is delivered in central London. You will be expected to spend at least 8 hours a week working on assignments for the course. You will leave the course with a portfolio of material developed during the course, this could include a ten-minute taster tape of an idea you have developed, or a full script and some sketches and one-liners.

Specifically you will learn about:

- Comedy landscape
- Radio comedy
- Sketches
- Panel shows and formats
- Characterisation
- Story structure
- Narrative TV comedy
- Script editing
- Topical one-liners
- Outlines and treatments
- Pitching
- Commissioning processes
- Working with performers
- Compliance issues
- Working with writers
- Writing briefs

Students graduate able to:

- generate comedy programme ideas
- write or produce a narrative comedy, sketch show or comedy entertainment show
- pitch ideas to commissioning editors
- work with writers and help them develop their ideas

So you think you’re funny? Apply Now!

SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES

The NFTS want to encourage applications from the brightest and best talent out there….from all backgrounds. We are actively seeking to redress imbalances within the Industry by encouraging applications from under-represented groups, and have bursaries of £4650 on offer to 2 of the successful candidates. Bursaries will be awarded to stand out talent who can demonstrate that without this funding they would not be able to afford the course, or who can demonstrate they bring a unique and distinct perspective and voice to the course.

CURRICULUM

The course is made up of a number of modules and workshops, you learn by ‘doing’ as well as understanding theory and developing a variety of practical and creative skills.

Module 1: Writing and producing sketch shows
 A sketch needs a premise, a core funny idea that is its reason to exist. As soon as a sketch begins, the audience looks for this premise and it needs to be apparent. You will learn how this works by writing sketches for different shows and getting feedback on them from established sketch performers and producers. You will have your material read by experienced sketch performers, and the chance to have your material performed for an invited audience.

Module 2: Topical one-liners, formats and panel shows. Topical one-liners for Have I Got News for You, The News Quiz and other topical shows is often the entry point for writers. You will learn by a mixture of practice, theory and feedback, the basics of writing topical jokes. You will learn how to develop your own format or panel show idea.

Module 3: Radio Comedy 
Many comedy writers and producers have worked in both television and radio with many shows starting out on radio and moving to television. It is the entry point for many established comedy writers and producers. You will develop and test your skills by developing material for Radio 4 and pitch ideas to radio comedy producers.

Module 4: Writing/Producing an existing sitcom 
You will learn about writing for a situation and a bunch of characters that already exist, concentrating on pitching appropriate story ideas to the creators of those shows. You will also learn about script editing and how to give notes.

Module 5: Writing a TV narrative comedy 
You will develop an idea for a television narrative comedy (sitcom), pitch it, and write the first draft of a script.

Module 6: Graduation project 
Working on your own, or in a pair, you will develop a sitcom, comedy drama or sketch show for TV or radio. You will write one episode, and either shoot a taster tape or have some scenes performed by professional actors or produce a radio show.

NFTS BENEFITS

Comedy course participants will have full access to the NFTS’ optional creative stimulus strands, including: Passport to Cinema (weekly screenings of classic and pre-release films in the state-of-the-art campus cinema); and NFTS Masterclasses (major creative figures from film, television and games screening their work and discussing with students in the campus cinema. Recent speakers include Graham King (producer, Hugo, The Departed), Guy Ritchie (Director, Sherlock Holmes), Danny Boyle (Director, Slumdog Millionaire) and Ian Livingstone (former President and CEO, Eidos).

TUTORS

Many of the people on the course advisory board will also teach on the course. In addition the course is supported by Channel 4 commissioners and executives.

APPLY WITH

- Two TV or radio sketches of no more than 400 words each. One of these should be set on a polar landscape.
- An outline for a comedy series, no more than 600 words
- Two short proposed story outlines for an existing sitcom. Each of the 2 episode outlines should be no more than 200 words. The sitcom we want you to write for is Bluestone 42
Each of your 2 stories should have a beginning, middle and an end. Make sure you do your background research and ensure you understand how Bluestone 42 operates as a sitcom

HOW TO APPLY

You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

- APPLY FOR WRITING AND PRODUCING COMEDY COURSE - https://nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/apply-now/?nid=656

You can apply online, or download a word document of the application form to submit via email
When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.

TIMING YOUR APPLICATION

We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline. That said, there is no particular advantage to submitting your application very early. The important thing is that your application shows us your latest work and tell us about your most recent filmmaking experiences.

Visit the Writing & Producing Comedy (PGDip) page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!



All Available Videos:


Student Profiles
(Scholarship)

NFTS Bursary (writing-and-producing-comedy) - 2 Awards

The NFTS want to encourage applications from the brightest and best talent out there….from all backgrounds. We are actively seeking to redress imbalances within the Industry by encouraging applications from under-represented groups, and have bursaries of £4650 on offer to 2 of the successful candidates. Bursaries will be awarded to stand out talent who can demonstrate that without this funding they would not be able to afford the course, or who can demonstrate they bring a unique and distinct perspective and voice to the course.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£4650

Eligibility

Bursaries will be awarded to stand out talent who can demonstrate that without this funding they would not be able to afford the course, or who can demonstrate they bring a unique and distinct perspective and voice to the course.

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information

https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/diploma/writing-and-producing-comedy


(Scholarship)

NFTS Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

All long term resident UK students, once they are offered a place on the MA programme, are invited to apply for an NFTS funding award. Awards may consist of either a bursary or a scholarship or a combination of both. NFTS Scholarships are donated by individuals or organisations with a direct involvement in the film, games and television industries. They often include a mentorship and an individual donor may take in interest in your work. Therefore they have an added prestige.The NFTS funding awards contribute directly to tuition fees and may be between £1,000 and £10,000. They are not re-payable by the student. They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000-£10,000

Eligibility

They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Application Procedure

Students are invited to apply in both of the two years of the course. Some scholarships are intended to be for a particular specialisation, for female students, or awarded on ethnicity or according to the UK region of an applicant.

Further Information

https://nfts.co.uk/fees-funding/scholarships


(Scholarship)

The Toledo Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Applications are treated confidentially and are means tested. The school reserves the right to ask an applicant to provide proof of his/her financial circumstances and of possible family support. The Assistant Registrar must be notified immediately of any change in an applicant’s financial circumstances. Careful consideration is given by the Scholarship Panel with a view to responding to demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited and students are asked to estimate responsibly how much assistance they think they will need as this affects the School’s ability to accommodate students in serious need.Unfortunately, we are unable to open this scheme to EU or International students, or to students on the Diploma programmes. There are some course specific scholarship opportunities available to Diploma students. Please check the latest situation on the NFTS website course pages. There may not be enough scholarships available to allow the school to give one to all applicants. Therefore it may be necessary for you to make alternative arrangements for your tuition fees and maintenance. All students offered a place are provided with guidelines for applying for independent funding. This information is distributed during the summer. NFTS funding applications are received in September and the Scholarship Panel meets in October to decide the awards for the following year. Decisions are announced shortly afterwards.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See the website

Eligibility

The Toledo Scholarship is an NFTS scholarship specifically intended to enable talented newcomers from the UK’s ethnic minorities to fast-track their ambitions and join the British film industry.

Application Procedure

Application is made in the same way as all other NFTS scholarships but candidates will need to identify themselves as an UK ethnic minority candidate in order to be considered automatically.

Further Information

https://nfts.co.uk/fees-funding/scholarships



Entry Requirements

Applicants must have comedy talent and have evidence that bears this out. Applicants do not necessarily have to have a university Bachelors degree to apply for the course, but must be able to: demonstrate a knowledge of television/film; provide details of past achievements; demonstrate a clear focus for their future ambitions; and, crucially, show a passion for comedy. If you are not an EEA National, you must already be in possession of a UK visa valid for the duration of this course. We are unable to accept your application if you do not.

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Recipient: National Film & Television School

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