The dual focus of screenwriting education on the MA Filmmaking programme is to instil the habit of writing as a valuable skill in all aspects of filmmaking and to develop scripts for the fiction film exercises in Terms 4 and 5, as well as the graduation project.
The school does not impose an institutional regime on screenwriting but all scripts explored and revised through an ongoing process of discussion and criticism. We involve visiting lecturers and the whole school in an ongoing debate about scripts being conceived and developed. We treat the script as a blueprint for the story’s realisation as film rather than as a literary artefact.
From the second term every student is part of a writing workshop, developing and refining working relationships along with the scripts. Every script that goes into production in Terms Three, Four and Five goes through rigorous discussion at a guest Script Panel. The panel’s advice can be fed into further development and into the script choices of the term. Before going into production there are further script editing sessions with all the selected projects. It is also possible to see a range of tutors on a one-toone basis throughout the term.
Since September 2005 LFS has also been running a separate MA degree course in Screenwriting. The short and feature scripts written on the course are a valuable resource for MA filmmakers who are encouraged to develop working relationships with the writers through joint classes, evening screenings and social events. MA screenwriters are also appointed to selected 4th and 5th term projects as script editors and are available to work with filmmaking students on their graduate projects.
Head of Screenwriting - Brian Dunnigan
Born in Edinburgh, Brian studied Sociology and worked as a writer and journalist in radio before going to the National Film & Television School. He is an award winning writer and short film director and has worked on feature scripts commissioned by the BBC, the BFI, Working Title and Scottish Screen amongst others. He designed and is Course Leader of the MA Screenwriting programme at LFS and continues to write and run workshops on an international basis.