Producing a short film after a screenwriting MA: Graduate story

Mon 6 Nov 2023

From writing TV comedy scripts to producing his own short film, delve into the unique experience of an MA Writing for Script & Screen graduate and see how this flexible online course propelled their career forward.

Discover the incredible journey of Scottish writer Chris Roy, who followed his passion for screenwriting. Read his story below:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Chris: I’m from a small town in Scotland called Blairgowrie. Since I graduated with a degree in literature from Glasgow University, I’d always dreamed of being able to pursue a career as a writer of some sort.

Life took me in other directions and I ended up becoming a teacher in Asia, after spells working and travelling in SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand. While I enjoyed my career as a teacher, I couldn’t shake the desire to be a writer and decided to take a chance on making it happen and applied for the Masters’ course at Falmouth. Chris-Roy-featured

Why did you choose to study online with Falmouth Flexible? 

Chris: The course description excited me. I’d dreamed of being a TV comedy script writer for so long, and had written many pilots that I weren’t sure were any good or what I should do with them.

The course sounded like it wouldn’t only help me improve as a screenwriter but gain practical knowledge about how to navigate the industry and give myself the best chance of being able to break into it, but with a dose of reality that it’s not an easy journey. 

An additional bonus was the flexibility the course allowed and the fact I could do it from anywhere in the world. At the time I started, I was between the U.K. and the U.S. and I could easily still be able to do my work and be a part of the course community no matter which side of the pond I was on. 

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

Chris: To be honest, it wasn’t hard to be motivated - every module had a creative piece of work to complete that was exciting to want to complete. All of the research aspects, peer discussions etc were always fun and engaging to me, and was all highly enjoyable.

I feel that it was clear that everything we had to do would provide a clear benefit in helping us learn more about the industry, while improving ourselves as screenwriters and leaving the course with a portfolio of strong creative pieces – everything had a clear benefit and purpose so it was easy to be motivated. 

Graduate Peter Salisbury has gone on to win international film competitions. Read his story:

Show me the interview >

If you’re already working in the screenwriting industry, how do you feel the course has helped you progress your career further? 

Chris: My abilities as a storyteller have increased dramatically. Even though I haven’t always worked in narrative films/tv – I’ve done a fair bit of reality/commercial, storytelling is at the heart of everything, and what I learned about structure and the technical side of screenwriting can be applied to all aspects of telling stories, even when you aren’t necessarily producing a narrative piece of work. 

I think it’s also kind of rare for people within the film industry to have a Masters degree solely in screenwriting. The respect that garners from producers/directors and other people I’ve worked with when it comes to discussing story – my views and insights are always treated with a lot more respect and appreciation than I feel they would have without my degree. 

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

Chris: When making my own short film, I had the confidence that my script and story were technically sound and structured well. I had an awareness of how the industry works which helped me navigate as a producer and director too.   

What are networking opportunities like for online students? 

Chris: Truly excellent. I was very impressed with the online forums and the collaborative assignments. I’m still friends with many of the people from the course, as well as the Course Leader John Finnegan, and we all collaborate with one another to this day. 

If you attended a face-to-face event during the course, how do you feel it benefited you? 

Chris: I think it’s incredibly helpful – as a teacher myself, I strongly feel you need face to face human interaction in education, so whilst undertaking a distance learning course, the face to face aspect was invaluable. I cemented bonds I’d made with my fellow online students, got to know my tutors better, and the workshops where you collaborate were fantastic. 

What was the support like, both during the application process and your studies? 

Chris: The support has been absolutely fantastic from start to finish. The person helping me with my application was very supportive and helpful. The tutors and course leaders were incredible. John Finnegan has also gone above and beyond for graduates and created a platform for us to showcase work and we regularly still chat to this day – you can tell how much care there is for our careers and they are championing our successes. 

Would you describe the course as a good investment?  

Chris: Absolutely. I live in America and the cost of education here is insane, so the value for money for such a great course that allows you to be flexible is worth every penny.

During the Falmouth Flexible online MA Writing for Script & Screen, you will explore strategies for promoting yourself as a freelance scriptwriter and work on a major script development project:

Show me course details >

Writing for Script & Screen