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Film and Television Screenwriting MA

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  • Objectives
    Aimed at promoting professional practice and developing critical judgement.
  • Entry requirements
    For future film and television screenwriters and includes taught modules on script development, script structure and a performance workshop to test out script materials with actors in the studio.
  • Academic Title
    Film and Television Screenwriting MA
  • Course description
    The MA Film and Television Degrees are aimed at those with a professional interest in Directing, Producing and Screenwriting.

    The course is made up as follows:

    Taught Modules:

    You undertake a series of lectures and seminars on script development, actors and performance, film business and technology. These courses are shared by directors, producers and screenwriters because it is more and more common to swap or combine these roles to meet the demands of different projects. The taught courses generate a better understanding of the production process before you embark on writing your screenplay.

    Film Project:

    You undertake a film project of your choice. As a screenwriter, you write a treatment, first draft and second draft screenplay. To support you with your chosen project, you receive tailored workshops, tutorials and master-classes.

    Research Project:

    As an alternative to the film project, you can seek a work placement with a media company and write a research project or dissertation on a topic of your choice. In this case you are supported by seminars on research and individual tutorials.

    The course takes place over one year from January to December. It is designed in an innovative format that allows you to undertake a full length screenplay or a research project, while managing your other commitments.

    The course offers a blended learning approach, combining lectures and seminars taught in time-efficient, intensive residential units, alongside work-based learning and distance learning, to meet diverse student needs in a global marketplace. The taught elements shared by directors, producers and screenwriters are a valuable chance for networking and collaboration. These prepare you for your major screenwriting project, which is supported by specialized master-classes, workshops and tutorials to enhance your screenwriting skills. The schedule allows you to gain the most from time spent on campus and to complete your coursework assignments off-site, while developing your screenplay.

    Your screenplay can be completed either in the UK or abroad, depending on your requirements. You are offered tutorial support along the way with your treatment, first draft screenplay and second draft screenplay. If your screenplay is well developed when you start the course, it may be possible to arrange for a director and producer to film it as their major project.

    Work placement

    Placements are a valuable means of establishing industrial contacts and gaining an insight into the commercial reality of a chosen discipline. We have a long history of students working with industry supplementing the taught university curriculum with real life on the job experience.

    This has seen students working right across the creative industries sector: in graphic, product and interior design consultancies, working as artist in residence in galleries, producing props and sets for the film & TV industry, shadowing teachers in education, working with commercial photographers through to students working right across the Music industry.

    We expect students interested in obtaining a work placement; to be proactive, to self-initiate this interest and to communicate and work with programme staff in their identification of companies and organisations that are able to provide the appropriate range of experiences and opportunities.

    We value the opportunity and benefits of the placement experience highly and as such, we encourage all students to consider obtaining a placement as part of their course. However, we recognise that this may not be a viable option for a number of reasons. In addition, we are not able to guarantee that all students will undertake a work placement as part of their studies.

    Careers

    The course aims to assist you in furthering your career in the industry, by enhancing your creative powers and professional capabilities, and by preparing you for the workplace. Teaching methods


    Taught Modules

    The taught elements are delivered in intensive one week courses which take place between January and May. You undertake a series of lectures and seminars about script development, working with actors, film business and technology. These provide directors with a better understanding of the production process so you can operate more effectively in future work settings. The modules are as follows:

    Script & Project Development (30 credits)

    Script Development

    This explores the process of script development through the analysis of story structure, character and genre. You review different approaches to screenwriting and prepare script reports to analyse how best to develop a project constructively.

    Planning, Budgeting & Scheduling

    You review the process of production from start to finish and learn how to budget and schedule a fiction project.

    Film Business (30 credits)

    Finance, Marketing & Distribution

    You examine the options for financing a project, from soft funding, distribution advances, tax breaks and co-production. You go on to make a business presentation with a finance plan.

    Media Law, Contract & Copyright

    You learn media law regarding copyright and contract and the acquisition of rights in music and archive material. You study production and distribution agreements and draft standard form contracts.

    Actors and Performance (30 credits)

    Performance Workshop

    You explore techniques for working with actors by testing sections of your script in a performance workshop.

    Studio Workshop

    You test out scenes from your project on camera in the TV studio to re-assess and develop your work more effectively.

    Technology (30 credits)

    Cinematography & Lighting

    You explore camera and lighting skills, including the use of lenses, camera movement and grip equipment.

    Sound & Editing

    You learn about location sound recording and the contribution of sound post-production through ADR, foley, sound effects and music. You develop your editing skills, as appropriate, with workshops on colour correction, visual effects and digital cinema.

    Major Project and Project Seminars (60 Credits)

    Major Project

    You have the chance to develop a full length screenplay on a subject of your choice, with tutorial support, through the stages of treatment, first draft screenplay and second draft screenplay.

    Project Seminars

    You can attend tailored workshops, tutorials and master-classes to enhance your screenwriting skills and support you in your project.

    Phase One - April to June

    You produce a developed beat treatment of your screenplay.

    Phase Two - June to September

    You produce a first draft screenplay.

    Phase Three - September to November

    You produce a second draft screenplay.

    Assessment - December

    You finalize your work for assessment. There is a day of screenings, readings and workshops to mark the completion of projects.

    Research Project or Dissertation (60 Credits)

    As an alternative to undertaking a major film project, you can complete a 10,000 word research project or dissertation on a subject of your choosing, to be agreed with your tutor. You receive tutorial support in planning and developing the project. If you complete your research outside the UK you receive online and/or telephone support. If you wish, your research project can be based on a specific work placement. These provide a useful introduction to the industry, which may lead to long-term employment.

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