Writing for TV after a screenwriting MA: Graduate story

Wed 14 Jun 2023

Laura Maloney is a graduate of Falmouth Flexible's MA Writing for Script & Screen. She's currently working in the screenwriting industry and has written three episodes of BBC1 drama Doctors, along with an episode of The Break for BBC3. 

We chatted to Laura about what motivated her to study scriptwriting online and how the course has helped her break into the industry. Read on to find out more:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. 

Laura: I’m from Brighton. I originally trained as an actress at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, but I found writing much more exciting and suited to my personality. I did a lot of writing courses. Some script, some prose, but I always returned to writing for stage or screen. I worked full time whilst studying and writing for fun.

When I decided to do the MA, following a postgraduate equivalent course in creative writing, I started to take my writing more seriously. I had my first baby at the end of 2020 and whilst on maternity leave, I found myself writing more and more. Eventually I started pitching for work and getting jobs and now I finally feel I can call myself a screenwriter. Laura Maloney

Why did you choose to study online with Falmouth Flexible? 

Laura: I worked and lived in London full-time when I applied, and I was looking for something I could do part time.

The course was exactly what I was looking for. During and after studying the Course Leader John Finnegan has been terrific.  As a student on his course, you feel very held. There is always support and encouragement. Always an opportunity for a 1:2:1. 

What motivated you to study the MA Writing for Script & Screen? 

Laura: I’d just completed a two-year post graduate equivalent degree course in creative writing with New Writing South and had explored writing my first novel. I found I missed writing for stage and screen and was keen to get back to it.

The MA course offered everything I had been looking for. I needed to learn structure and collaborate with others to gain confidence. I could write dialogue well enough, but my scripts didn’t seem to be working. The course taught me all the technical aspects of screenwriting, which is exactly what I needed. 

MA Writing for Script & Screen graduate Peter Salisbury has gone on to win international film competitions. Read his story:

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If you’re starting out in the screen industries, how has the course helped you progress? 

Laura: The course has given me the confidence and training to pitch for work. I’ve learned how to pitch, how to create an outline and pitch document, how to write for an existing ongoing series (which I now do), and I’ve learned a lot about story structure which has been essential to my work and ability to collaborate with my writing partner and script editors.

Can you describe the ways in which the course has benefitted your creative practice since graduating? 

Laura: I’ve had to pitch work a few times since graduating and without the course, I wouldn’t have had the confidence and know-how to do this. The course has helped me create collaboratively and again, without the course I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this and/or share my work.

I never worried too much about creativity, but I wasn’t concerned that I couldn’t channel it into a decent script and get the structure right. Ideas would float around with no real technique to mold them into a script. The course has helped me do this. 

What are networking opportunities like for online students? 

Laura: We've attended several networking events. John Finnegan has been incredible at getting us in front producers and directors in the industry. That aspect has been invaluable. We went to the BAFTA GURU, and I met my writing partner there. We’ve now had a fair bit of interest from the industry, and she has taught me a lot. I’m aware John is a keen collaborator, and this means plenty of face to face; writing festivals; group work etc. It’s been a confidence booster especially for an online student.

Would you describe the course as a good investment?  

Laura: Absolutely. It’s changed my life completely. I’m now being paid to work at my passion and John Finnegan was the one who got me my first professional pitch. I feel completely indebted. There is also excellent ongoing support for writers through The Script Department which is a fantastic place to learn, collaborate and develop. I cannot fault it. 

During Falmouth's MA Writing for Script & Screen, you will explore strategies for promoting yourself as a freelance scriptwriter and work on a major script development project. Choose from three start dates per year:

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Writing for Script & Screen