Graduating screenwriters will have had the opportunity to complete a range of work for their portfolio, demonstrating their talent and unique voice. Introductions are made to literary agents, broadcasters and film and television production companies. Unlike a Screenwriting MA based in an academic institution, this course is set in a working film and television studio. It covers all aspects of screenwriting, from the development of ideas through to production and post-production. Screenwriting students have their writing work-shopped by professional directors and actors. Working with student producers and directors, they have the chance to see their writing tested in production. The NFTS programme also includes masterclasses from eminent practitioners in all fields, and regular previews of current film releases. Screenwriting graduates have access to feature and TV project development opportunities, set up by the School in partnership with broadcasters and film companies such as BBC Films and Vertigo Films. There are also extended industry–oriented script development workshops like Regards Croisés and Writers for Europe.
Corinne Cartier, who has worked in the film and television industry for more than twenty years, chiefly as a development and production executive is the NFTS Head of Screenwriting. Other tutors include Simon Beaufoy, Visiting Chair in Screenwriting (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, The Full Monty), Holly Phillips (Sugar Rush, As If, Trinity), Peter Berry (The Luzhin Defence, The Last Enemy, Prime Suspect), Clive Bradley (City of Vice, The Harlot’s Progress, Last Rites), Brian Ward (Death Defying Acts, Shoe Box Zoo, The Interpreter), Roger Smith (Script Consultant: My Name is Joe , Sweet Sixteen; Writer: Up The Junction), Sarah Golding (Script Consultant; Head of Development at Rainy day Films and previously at Potboiler Productions (The Constant Gardener, Brothers of the Head), Rob Ritchie (Script consultant; Writer: Who Bombed Birmingham; ex-literary manager Royal Court Theatre).
Ashley Pharoah (Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars), Shawn Slovo (A World Apart, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), Sandy Welch (Jane Eyre, Emma), Amanda Coe (Filth, Margot), Simon van der Borgh (Script Consultant: Kidulthood), Ben Court & Caroline Ip (The Hole, Cracks, Whitechapel), Amanda Coe (Room at the Top, Elizabeth David -A Life in Recipes, Filth – The Mary Whitehouse Story), and Nick Hoare (Waterloo Road) studied at the NFTS.
The first year of the course deals with the basic principles of storytelling, the craft of screenwriting for film and television, and the collaborative nature of production via exercises with other departments; some shorter writing assignments; and the formal groundwork for writing industry-length material. Writing for the expanding field of animation will be introduced via a series of practical collaborations. Writers also learn about writing for the stage and their short plays are performed to the school by a professional cast.
The second year is a project-based course focussing on longer writing assignments. Individual talents and interests will determine the content of the final portfolio, though this must include at least one full-length screenplay (feature film or television-hour), plus a short piece (a short fiction, animation, short stage play or sitcom). At the School’s discretion, one or more of the short pieces may be filmed. Writers may opt to write two feature screenplays. The second year will also feature specialist modules tailored to the interests of the students, e.g. comedy, horror, factual-based drama, radio. There is also an introduction to online drama and virals.
The course ends with extensive introductions to the industry with preparation on the practicalities and legalities of working. In this process, writers learn to pitch the projects in their portfolio. This has resulted in many graduating students securing agents either prior to graduation, or immediately following their studies.
The course is full time and requires a high level of dedication; a prolific output, and the ability to meet professional–style deadlines. Graduation is also based on completion of a tutored dissertation.
Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.
- A Skillset-Accredited Screenwriting MA course.
- Course covers film and television writing.
- Strong links with film and TV industry.
- Study in a collaborative filmmaking environment.
- Workshops with actors and directors.
- Opportunity to have a script filmed.
- Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.