MA Comedy Writing

Falmouth University - Offered by CEG Digital, United Kingdom

ma-comedy-writing

Next enrollment cycle

January 2022

See all cycles

First Year Course Fee

USD 7,872

Course Accredited By

PC

  • 2 Years
  • Online
  • Postgraduate
  • Degree

Do you want to push the boundaries of comedy writing to its limits? Are you on a mission to interrogate big ideas like sex, politics, religion and family through comedy? Or do you just want to write a show that’s unashamedly stupid? 

Whether your preferred comedy genre is sitcom, comedy drama or sketch shows, the world is in a state right now and we all need a laugh. And crucially, it’s your unique and hilarious interpretation of the world that’s required.

With the dramatic rise in subscription-based video content – think Amazon, Netflix and Apple - alongside a renaissance in audio comedy courtesy of podcasts – broadcast comedy is in huge demand. There are lots of opportunities right now and a great need for new comedy writers.

At Falmouth University, we want to equip new and emergent comedy writers with the skills, tools and industry-focus which will push their projects to the top of the commissioning editor's pile and see their scripts green-lit. This online MA has been developed by award-winning comedy producer and executive producer Simon Nicholls. Simon has 20 years' comedy industry experience, developing and selling comedies in the UK and US.

On this MA, you’ll study the work of renowned writers and directors, reflect on professional trends and learn how to seize market opportunities. You’ll develop a comedy scriptwriting portfolio which will act as a calling card with which to approach comedy producers, comedy commissioners and get agent representation. Who knows, you could see yourself on the way to the BAFTAs, Oscars or Golden Globes with the next Fleabag, VEEP, Modern Family or Father Ted.

You will:  

  • Learn how to write comedy sketches, sitcoms, comedy dramas and develop a body of work for multiple platforms including; radio, TV, film and online.
  • Be taught by a host of comedy experts including multi-award-winning TV and Radio comedy producer and Executive Producer, Simon Nicholls who is the course module leader.
  • Develop a comedy writing portfolio consisting of scripts, treatments, synopses and your responses to professional comedy briefs which can be used as a calling card to gain agent representation and to present to commissioning editors.
  • Structure your working practice as a comedy writer, plotting your day, dealing with writers’ block, working to tight deadlines while remaining funny.
  • Understand the role of a commissioner, the criteria by which they assess new writing and what it takes to get your project green-lit.

This MA is designed to help students find success as professional comedy writers, no matter where they stand in their current career path.

You may be a recent graduate looking to gain specialist skills, or a writer hoping to learn how to adapt existing work for screen. You might be a comedy practitioner with experience elsewhere in the industry who’s keen to develop a career in comedy writing. Regardless, this course can help you realise your ambitions.

Our modules are created to equip you with the real-world capabilities needed to not only write and collaborate on comedy projects – but also to gain agency representation, secure commissions, and find employment.

Graduates of the MA will be well-positioned to work professionally as comedy writers across a range of different arenas – including radio, television, online platforms, and video games.

Careers and employability service

  • In addition to the guidance offered by our tutors, you can also access our RealWORKS, our careers and employability service throughout your studies, and for up to 5 years following graduation.
  • Our expert team will help you identify potential opportunities in the UK or internationally, prepare for job interviews, advise you on starting up your own business, and more.

With Falmouth Flexible, you access your course content, interactions with other students and tutors, and learning resources, through Canvas, an easy-to-use online platform.  You can access the course wherever you are in the world, and you can stop, pause and rewind lectures whenever you want. 
 

Learning activities 


Engaging learning activities will help you apply theory to practice. They could include: 

  • Concise online presentations to introduce key concepts 
  • Small group and class discussions and crits to facilitate interaction and dialogue 
  • Online critiques to test assumptions, ideas and to receive feedback from peers and tutors 
  • Individual and group tutorials throughout the course 
  • Independent study 
  • Self-evaluation and peer feedback. 

Assessments

All assessments are taken and submitted online.
Assessment methods for the MA Comedy Writing can typically include:
• Written assignments (no examinations)
• Combination of visual, verbal and written works, tailored specifically to each module.
 

Enrollment Cycles

  • January 2022
  • May 2022
  • September 2022

An honours degree or Level 6 equivalent qualification.

To submit up to five pages of a script for either radio, TV or film. It's your choice, but it must be a comedy script, not any other genre, that best shows off your comedy writing. Please also submit a 300-word piece of writing considering an old sitcom, which is no longer running. The piece of writing should clearly tell us why you've picked this show for reinvention now. Please describe how you'll modernise and reinvent the show to be a relevant must-watch for today's audience. You should give consideration as to who will star in this production, and your vision for the show.

If your first language is not English, you'll need to take one of the following tests to verify your proficiency:

  • IELTS - minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • TOEFL iBT (online test) - minimum of 88 overall and at least 21 in all 4 components
  • LanguageCert (online test) - a High Pass from the ESOL B2 Communicator test in reading, writing, speaking and listening (2 parts)

We also accept a range of equivalent recognised English language qualifications. Candidates without a degree or formal qualification are still encouraged to apply

You will need to complete four 30-credit modules and one 60-credit project (180 credits in total). All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award.

Module one Comic Storytelling for Screen and Audio (30 credits)

  • We begin the course by asking fundamental questions such as, what is comedy? Why do we tell funny stories? How do we tell funny stories? In this module, you will develop your comedy writing skills - both sketch and long form narrative comedy - looking at comic timing and beats, construction of scenes, the role of setting and characterisation.
  • You will complete a set of writing briefs which will become part of your final portfolio of work showcasing your comedy writing style, voice and ability to work to a brief.

Module two Screen Industries: Professional Development in Comedy (30 credits)

  • In this module, you will identify a comedic area of interest. After undertaking research, you will produce a case study that evaluates current comedy industry markets and opportunities.
  • In response to your findings, you will develop a robust pitch document incorporating core ideas, the writer’s vision, a short synopsis, description of genre, tone, setting, character and sample scenes.
  • You will gain a range of technical writing and project development skills as you work to produce industry-standard comedy writing with real commercial and creative potential.

Module three Individual Comedy Script Development (30 credits)

  • In this module, you will hone your ability to generate comedy script ideas. You will explore the art of combining comedy with drama, and sustaining a comic narrative and theme in a feature film, television or online/audio comedy series.
  • You will learn to frame your practice within the professional comedy scriptwriting industries through analysing the work of renowned scriptwriters and directors and reflecting on professional trends, markets and opportunities.

Module four Comedy Writers' Room: Collaborative Script Development (30 credits)

  • This module is divided into two parts giving students the unique opportunity to work collaboratively on a professional TV comedy brief within a commercial setting.
  • In the first ten weeks, working in Script Development Teams, you will develop a host of industry proposal documents.
  • In the final two weeks, you will assume the roles of client/commissioner for each brief, assessing the project proposal of the other team and deciding whether to ‘green-light’ each project.

Final Major Project (60 credits)

  • Your studies culminate in a major script development project for a platform/medium of your choosing. You will have the option to develop further work that you have produced on other modules or work on a completely new concept.
  • You will begin by researching, proposing and pitching your project. You will receive formative feedback, and continue writing until you have produced a polished, industry-standard final draft.
  • May 2021 - £10,900 
  • September 2021 - £11,300

Interested in this course?

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