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Writing for the Screen I

Module Code: CW923

Convenor and Tutor: Lucy Brydon


Students should have some working knowledge of screenwriting and have completed one script prior to enrolment. Students should have an understanding of the fundamentals of Screenwriting and using screenwriting software. Therefore, this is not suited to beginners.


The module looks at contemporary screenwriting practice across the film and television industries in horror and adaptation. Using the freshest and most exciting screenwriting of today, we prepare students to leave their MA with a professional-level project that they can confidently pitch to agents and producers in the real world.

Students will leave with an advanced understanding of writing in different formats within these genres, and how to package their projects for a competitive market. They will have a critical understanding of the differences between writing for television and film. They will have a consolidated their understanding of the process of production and how it impacts the writer. They will have sharpened their understanding of their own voice, and where that sits in the current UK film/television climate. Their critical understanding of filmmaking, screenwriting and film/television theory will have been enhanced. They will also be provided with an intermediate level network of film industry contacts.

Course Weekly Outline

Week 1: Introduction to Horror - Home (TV)
Reading: American Horror Story pilot by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.

2: Horror – Genres within genres - Folk Horror (Film)

Students should come with an idea that they intend to work on over the term. Peer review and feedback.
Midsommar (w/d Ari Aster)
3: Horror – Feminism & the body (film)
The Witch (w/d Robert Eggers)
4: Horror – Race & identity (film and TV)
Get Out (film, w/d Jordan Peele), Them (TV, w by Little Marvin, watch only)

5: Guest Lecture – Screenwriter working in horror, online class

6. The Principles of Adaptation - Students will share their WIP screenplays by this stage for workshopping.

7: Adaptation (Film, drama)
The Servant (based on The Servant by Robin Maugham, screenplay by Harold Pinter)
8: Adaptation (Film, drama)
Carnage (based on play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, screenplay for film co-written by Roman Polanski)
9: Adaptation (Film)
Zola (based on the series of Tweets by A’Ziah King, screenplay by Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris)
10: Guest Lecture - Screenwriter working in adaptation, online class

Reading List

Story Theory
Into the Woods by John Yorke

The Science of Storytelling by William Storr

Writing The Uncanny: Essays on Crafting Strange Fiction, Edited by Dan Coxon and Richard. V Hirst

Screenplays & Texts

American Horror Story pilot (w/ Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk)
The Witch (w/d Robert Eggers)
Midsommar (w/d Ari Aster)

Get Out (w/ Jordan Peele), Them (series, created by Lil Marvin)
Carnage (based on play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, screenplay for film co-written by Roman Polanski)
The Servant (based on novel by Robin Maugham, screenplay by Harold Pinter)
Zola (Based on the Rolling Stone article "Zola Tells All", screenplay by Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris)


6,000 words total for 30 CATS, 10,000 words total for 45 CATS.

A project pitched and developed during the workshop and with support from fellow students. 70% creative work, 20% reflective essay and 10% story outline.