NFTS Leeds: Screenwriting: Finding Your Voice



Roughly 50,000 screenplays are registered every year with the WGA, and at least as many TV concepts are out there right now. In this highly competitive world of writing for film and television, the screenwriter can’t merely learn the principles, art and craft of screenwriting to ensure success. A ‘good story well told’ is simply not enough.

In this seven month Certificate Course, delivered in Leeds and online, we take a radically different approach, in which the writers themselves become the focus of the process. 

An individual ‘voice’ is the currency of the writer – it’s what shapes our work, makes it distinctive, and most importantly, what makes it sell. To make our mark in this demanding and overcrowded industry we need to develop stories that only we can write.

Led by renowned writer and director Paul Fraser (A Room for Romeo Brass, TwentyFourSeven) the course will be a mixture of face to face group session at our base in Central Leeds, and online one-to-one sessions and tutorials. The selected participants will be helped to discover their own individual voice and mine their own lives, experiences, dreams and obsessions to find stories that resonate personally. There will be guest tutors and masterclasses throughout the course. The seven month course will culminate in you pitching your work to a panel of industry experts. 

About the Tutor:

Paul is a screenwriter and director represented by Casarotto. In collaboration with Shane Meadows he wrote 24/7, A Room for Romeo Brass and Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, Somers Town and Dead Man’s Shoes. The two continue to develop projects together.

Paul has written scripts for other directors too, including Heartlands (Dir: Damian O’Donnell), Tube Tales (Dir: Bob Hoskins). He continues to write and collaborate and has various feature scripts and TV projects in development.

Paul wrote and directed the award-winning short film Scummy Man. He has directed music videos for Arctic Monkeys, Gary Lightbody, The Strypes and Plan B. His first directed feature was an Irish funded road trip: My Brothers.

Paul is also a script-editor and has helped develop many projects. He is an Industry advisor on national and international development schemes and delivers script training in the UK and around the world.


What you will study

How can screenwriters put themselves ahead of the game and grab an audience’s attention? Are there lessons from the world’s master screenwriters? Is it a coincidence that successful screenwriters often return to the same themes and write different versions of the same core story over again? Could it be that the key to their success is that they are writing from a place of unique emotional truth and it’s this that really connects with audiences the world over?  

Participants in this course will adopt a variety of methods to discover what makes them tick as a writer, what stories resonate emotionally with them and go on to implement these home truths into working practice. Over the course they will discover and hone their voices, develop market-ready treatments and a full-length screenplay for a feature film or pilot for a TV series and learn some of the skills needed to pitch themselves and their work to industry professionals.

The goal, on successful completion of the course, is to have a number of projects at various stages of development that are ready to be presented to the industry.

The full schedule is available on request. Students will develop a number of stories from concept through to treatment or bible and beyond via a combination of discussions, exercises and development workshops. They will be expected to write in their own time and deliver work in advance of each class.  In addition, participants will be supported by one-to-one tutorials  for individual feedback and guidance.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £4,750 

This course is only open to UK and EU/EEA applicants.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place.

Entry requirements

We’re looking for people who are passionate about screen stories and eager to pursue or further develop a career in screenwriting. You should have a good general education, but no other specific educational requirements are needed for this course. Previous experience of writing screenplays, or knowledge gained from a University or College media course, would be advantageous, but not essential. 

In addition to what we hope will be a solid portfolio of work-in-progress to polish and present to the industry, successful completion could lead to an interview for those interested in applying to the two-year MA Course in Screenwriting at the NFTS. 

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: 25 Nov 2022

To apply for this course, please complete the application form

Please note, exact course dates are to be confirmed.

Begin your application