LFS aims to encourage writing as a continuous practice, to stimulate reflective and critical approaches and to provide a specific historical background to film narrative, genres, and dramaturgy.
This one-year course, accredited by Creative Skillset, is aimed at developing screenwriting skills in the context of a filmmaking community where writing is an everyday practice and a collaborative process involving actors, directors, musicians, editors, and producers.
At LFS we explore the boundaries between writing and directing and stimulate debate through classes in film history, cross-cultural approaches to dramaturgy and script readings with professional actors. Regular screenings of classic and contemporary films in our own film theatre and visits by contemporary filmmakers complement the core practical work of developing a feature screenplay.
The MA Screenwriting programme provides a year of critical and creative development, a network of future contacts and space where a writer can define their interests and particular talent. This is a course that is more interested in content over a structure, individual development over the imposition of a universal model or set of rules.
At LFS we believe that the study and practice of screenwriting requires an understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking and of different approaches to the narrative as well as the working methods and practice of professional screenwriters as members of a creative team.
We are looking for writers who are excited about writing for the screen, who have a background in writing for other mediums, directors who are seeking to write their own feature script and writers who wish to establish long-term mentoring relationships with development professionals.
The school runs annual graduate surveys, the Survey for 2015 stated 100% of MAS grads “would recommend the course to someone else“. Other comments from LFS Screenwriting graduates:
“Taking a year out to study at LFS was the best decision I have made.” Clyde Harris, graduated 2015
'The screenplay is not the last stage of a literary journey. It is the first stage of a film and the only way to become a professional screenwriter is to get in contact with a group of people who make films.' Jean-Claude Carriere, Belle du Jour, Danton
'I wouldn't be the writer I am without you and everything I learned during my time there.' Samuel Jefferson, MA Screenwriting graduate 2014, BAFTA/Rocliffe award for Comedy Writing
“I always speak very highly of the Screenwriting MA at LFS when prospective students email me. I learnt so much there and have it to thank for a lot, so thanks!” Ben Cleary, MA Screenwriting 2011, Short Films Oscar Winner for STUTTERER
The programme is non-modular. It is composed of three units to be taken sequentially. The course is full-time only and lasts one year. Some of the component classes are term specific and others run continuously across the whole programme.
UNIT 1: THE SCREENWRITERS CRAFT
This unit provides an introductory and theoretical framework for the practical work with an emphasis on the writer's personal development. It includes an overview of dramatic principles as applied to a distinctively cinematic approach to storytelling. It also encourages a critical evaluation of those principles in relation to the creative process and the development of original work for the screen.
Workshops on storytelling and film language, characterization, screenwriting and step outlines, the development of original ideas for the screen and adapting material from another medium are based on practical writing exercises. Visiting professional screenwriters discuss their methods of working with practical examples of past and present work.
Classes on film style and history, including a programme of evening screenings in the film theatre, provide a context for the written work. In addition, students have the option to work on film exercises produced by students on the Filmmaking MA - while their short and feature screenplays are a valuable resource for the filmmakers. Collaboration between writers and filmmakers is continually encouraged through joint sessions, social events and the posting of projects on the screenwriters' blog site.
Students' reflections on the relationship between theory and practice, screenwriting, and filmmaking as well as establishing a partnership with a professional writing mentor, profoundly influence the outcome of their work and the preparation for their major project. This includes the writing of a Work and Research Journal which tracks their personal and project development through the inclusion of visual references and self-reflective notes on a course and project work.
The main practical focus of this unit is the writing of a Short Film Screenplay and the production of a Feature Film Portfolio through small group and one-to-one feedback sessions with actors, directors and development professionals.
UNIT 2: THE SCREENWRITER'S PRACTICE
Students will normally have passed Unit One before starting Unit Two.
The main focus of this unit is the development of a First Draft Feature Screenplay through small group feedback and one-to-one Mentoring. This unit continues to place screenwriting within the context of craft skills, film style, and the filmmaking process. It also introduces the economic and industrial context for film production, distribution and exhibition and the role of the writer and the screenplay within that context.
Class work and exercises including the Writers Gym and a National Gallery day - focus on visualization and cinema-specific aspects of screenwriting - while workshops with actors, directors, and editors demonstrate how a knowledge of the filmmaking process is essential to the developing screenwriter. Alternative models of screenwriting are explored through case studies of screenplays, screenwriters, and filmmakers.
The Work and Research Journal continues to provide a transparent account of the writers' creative development and engagement with the course while the Feature Film Screenplay remains the practical, assessable outcome of that process.
UNIT 3: WRITING THE FEATURE FILM
Students will normally have passed Unit Two before starting Unit Three.
This unit continues the series of lectures on the history of cinema with evening screenings built around debate and contact with contemporary filmmakers. Visiting writers, producers and agents with specialist workshops on television writing and adaptation provides the industrial context.
The principal focus of this unit is on the key practical work of the Master's programme - the writing and development of a Feature Film project through two further drafts - supported by a professional writing Mentor. The final screenplay along with an outline of project development and the Work and Research Journal complete the assessable work for the MA programme.
Selected scenes from the graduate screenplays are presented at a Showcase event for industry professionals later in the year.
Applicants should normally have at least one of the following:
- A Bachelor’s degree with Honours; or
- An equivalent (international) or higher qualification; or
- An equivalent professional qualification; or
- Substantial professional experience in film or a related area.
You are welcome to apply even if you haven't written any scripts before, but feel you have the ability to and meet our minimum entry requirements.
You may already have been working in a writing environment, though not necessarily in a film. We actively support applicants who have a commitment to screenwriting and want to expand their skills and understanding.
We are looking forward to hearing why you think you are a screenwriter.
The language of teaching and assessment is English. All students must have a satisfactory knowledge of the English language, due to the need to understand the intensive course of lectures and the demands of group work. Students whose first language is not English will, therefore, need to provide proof of proficiency in English. More information can be found here.
What you need for your application
- Completed online application form.
- Personal statement (up to 750 words) – more guidance is available in the online application system.
- A description of your life up to the point of applying for the course (max. 1000 words).
- A 10 to 15-minute, film script.
- 1 to 2-page synopsis for an original feature film plus an opening sequence with dialogue.
- Three half-page pitches for original features.
- Education certificates (degree-level qualifications only).
- Two references.
- A passport-sized photo.
In addition, you have the option to upload an example of your film, video, photography, art or literary work your application.
Applicants whose first language is not English may also need to provide proof of proficiency in English. You can find more information here.
Please note that a non-refundable application fee of £50 is payable upon submission of the application.
- A high degree of commitment to studying at The London Film School and to its educational approach.
- A high degree of commitment to a career in screenwriting.
- Relevant artistic talent or originality and/or a grasp of the relevant skills.
- A range of background interests and subject matter.
- Experience of screenwriting and critical feedback.
- Knowledge of film, film culture and the film industry.
- Ability to initiate and complete complex projects.
- Capacity for critical analysis.
- Ability to work in a team.
- Language skills (spoken, written, listening, communication skills)*.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated March 20, 2018