Module
descriptions

for MA Writing for Screen & Stage

Short Scripts

For this first stage you write two scripts: one a 15-minute stageplay for just 2-4 people, the other a 15-minute screenplay with no dialogue - simply visuals, sound and music.

These reinforce the difference between stage and screen, that film is essentially a visual form while the theatre is a more dialogue-driven medium.  So this module produces richly different ideas and products, and you learn how to incorporate the devices of dialogue, images and sound into your later and longer work. 

In conclusion, you write a short essay analysing the development of your two scripts from the initial ideas to their final versions. 

Adapted Scripts

Adaptation is a highly commercial and lucrative screen and theatre form.  So for this module you are given a list of short stories to read, and you choose one and adapt it twice – once for the screen and once for the stage, with the aim of producing two very different versions of the same original material, each approximately 30 minutes long. 

In preparation we take you through the process of creative adaptation, showing the skills writers use when turning work from one form into another.

And finally you write a short essay reflecting on the processes and devices you used in developing and writing the two scripts.

Production Case Study

You choose a favourite film or play and research chosen aspects: its creation, funding, development, casting, script changes, directorial decisions, etc., in short the key elements of the process which in your view brought it to the public.  You then write a 5000-word dissertation demonstrating your expertise on a particular classic or modern work.

Observational Research Screenplay

For this module you spend some time as an observer in a location which you think will produce ideas for a story, then create a 45-minute screenplay in which your chosen place is the key central factor, influencing events and characters.  The use of place in sceenplays is highly important and often undervalued by the writer, and this kind of writing has been rarely done on scriptwriting courses, so this is a highly original module. Finally you submit an account of your observation experience, and analyse its contribution to the script.

Thematic Research Play

Here you choose a subject you feel strongly about: it might be political, emotional, social, etc.  You research this theme and write a 45-minute play for the stage which says something new and original about your subject.  To conclude you will also write an account of researching your theme and analyse the process of turning it into dramatic entertainment.  

Analysis of Scripts

Professional script analysis is an important area of work in the TV, film and theatre industries, and this module will train you to write script evaluations to a high industry standard.  So you are given two unseen scripts, a screenplay and a stageplay, both full-length, and you write a professional script report on each, giving the unknown writer a detailed analysis of their work plus notes for their next draft.

Writers learn a great deal from reading the work of others, and this module will help you to gain insights into the process and confidence in your own writing. 

One of the following:

Feature Film Screenplay

If you choose the area of cinema or television, you will create and write a feature-length screenplay of your own choosing. This can be any genre - comedy, thriller, science fiction, love story, biopic, etc.  You will be assisted and guided throughout by your personal tutor and your final screenplay will be a work of 90-120 pages, honed and polished to a point where you can send it to production companies or producers as a professional submission. Then you will complete a reflective essay which analyses the process of creating this work, the changes it went through and the learning you gained from it.

Full-Length Stageplay

If you choose theatre you will write a stageplay or a piece for performance, normally 90 minutes to two hours long. You will write this with close guidance and advice over seven months to a high level of refinement where it can be sent to theatre companies as a professional submission. You will also write a final analytical essay, considering the process of creating this major work, the stages and changes it went through and the learning gained from it.

 

All modules with the exception of Module 6 (Analysis of Scripts) are tutored and guided throughout by one-to-one telephone and Skype conversation with one of your professional writing tutors.