Duration 2 years
Commitment Full Time
Next intake January 2023
Application deadline Contact Registry
Scholarships available for UK Students
Could you write an award-winning movie, TV drama or animation? Or devise a multi-layered narrative for a ground-breaking game?
Graduates are currently writing TV episodes from Humans to Casualty, Penny Dreadful to Eastenders, and working with movie directors such as Sam Mendes, Lone Scherfig and Darren Aronofsky.
This rigorous, practical course has a long history of producing outstanding writers for film, television, animation and games. Taught by working screenwriters, producers and script developers, the course addresses all aspects of professional screenwriting and more. Recent graduates have won or been nominated for an Oscar, several BAFTAs and Royal Television Society Awards, a Nichol Fellowship, Screen International Stars of Tomorrow, Women in Film & Television New Talent Awards and many other prizes.
The voice of the individual screenwriter is at the heart of the course. That voice will be nurtured, developed and challenged to produce work of quality and originality ready to take out to the industry. Screenwriters will collaborate with other departments – directing fiction and animation, producing, games, etc. - putting into practice the skills they learn throughout the course, with all production costs met by the School.
All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley).
This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.
Recent credits and successes
What you will study
Unlike a Screenwriting MA based in an academic institution, this is a hands-on course set in a working film and television studio. It covers all aspects of screenwriting across film, television, games and animation, in different forms and genres, from the development of ideas, treatments and bibles, through the drafting of scripts, into production and post, and offers comprehensive preparation for the professional world of the screenwriter.
Screenwriters also have their writing work-shopped by professional directors and actors and, working with student producers and directors, have the chance to see their writing tested in production. Samples of their work will be read by literary agents, broadcasters, commissioners and film and television production companies, in advance of a round of industry meetings in their final term where they can pitch their ideas directly to the industry.
The course is intensive and full time and requires a high level of dedication, a prolific output, and the ability to meet professional deadlines. Graduation is also based on completion of a tutored dissertation.
Current or recent tutors
Simon BeaufoyScreenwriting Fellow
Credits include Slumdog Millionaire, Battle of the Sexes and The Full Monty
Peter BerryVisiting tutor
Credits include The Luzhin Defence, The Adventures of Mary Bryant, The Last Enemy and Prime Suspect
Clive BradleyVisiting tutor
Winner of the 2017 Writers Guild of Great Britain award for Best Long Form TV Drama for Trapped
Holly PhillipsVisiting tutor
Credits include Athena, Get Even, Nearly Famous and Sugar Rush
Tammy Riley-SmithVisiting tutor
Award-winning writer-director, script editor and screenwriting tutor. Her credits include Delicious and Lady M.
Brian WardHead of Screenwriting
Credits include The Interpreter and Death Defying Acts
Rachel WardlowVisiting tutor
Recent credits include Shamed, Six Wives with Lucy Worsley and Something More
Every year, our students collaborate to make a number of short films.
Applicants will display a talent and passion for screenwriting, a fund of ideas and the desire to tell stories for the screen. They may have written in other forms - plays, novels, short stories, journalism – or already have a body of work, but whatever their experience, must demonstrate an original voice with something to say.
Professional experience in any field is an advantage, in particular work in film, TV or theatre, or allied creative arts. A sound general knowledge of film, TV and theatre writing is expected, as well as a high level of self-discipline and personal motivation.
Applicants will be required to send an example of their writing - 20 pages of a screenplay.
While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record, an alternative qualification or suitable life experience.
For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to apply
Application deadline:Contact Registry
Applicants must supply the following:
- One original screenplay, 20 pages in length, together with a one-page (A4) synopsis.
The screenplay may be a short (up to 20 pages) or the first 20 pages of a longer work. It should be presented in a standard screenplay format as per Final Draft, Celtx, etc. All work must be original and must not be adapted or co-authored. It should include a one-page synopsis of the entire story, at the beginning of the screenplay. The screenplay and synopsis should be included in one document to upload and include your full name on the first page.
- Optional: If your writing to date has been in a different field (other than screenplays) you may submit a piece of original fiction typed and double spaced, together with a one-page (A4) synopsis. This piece of fiction may be a story, novel or play. It may be a short work, up to 10 pages, or the first 10 pages of a longer work.
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