Online MA in Comedy Writing

General

Program Description

Hone your comedy writing skills, and develop a body of work which combines creativity, cultural relevance and industry awareness. Get match-fit for a career as a professional comedy writer.

Award Title: MA Comedy Writing
Awarding Body: Falmouth University
Level: 7
Mode of study: Online, part-time
Duration: Two years

Masters degree summary

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.
  • 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.

Who is this masters degree for?

You should be:

  • Passionate about comedy, creative writing, storytelling, stand-up, sit-coms, comedy-dramas, sketches on TV, radio and online platforms
  • Funny, creative, open to new ideas, curious, ironic, ridiculous, mischievous, culturally aware and driven.

You may be:

  • A graduate looking to develop specialist knowledge in writing for comedy.
  • A comedy practitioner with experience of stand-up, theatre, radio, sketch shows who wants to develop a career in writing for comedy.
  • A fledgling or emergent writer who wants to acquire the skills to adapt existing work for screen.

Course content

MA Comedy Writing

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.

*Please note: the order of modules may differ to that stated below.

Core Modules Credits
Comic Storytelling for Screen & Audio 30
Screen Industries: Professional Development in Comedy 30
Individual Comedy Script Development 30
Comedy Writer's Room: Collaborative Script Development 30
Final Major Project

60

Assessments

  • Written assignments (no examinations)
  • Combination of visual, verbal and written works, tailored specifically to each module.

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • 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.
  • Proof of proficiency in English (minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening or TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) with a minimum of 88 overall and at least 21 in all 4 components).

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

Additional costs

In order to participate fully in the course, you will need to purchase screenwriting software.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Established in 1902, we’ve previously been the Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth College of Art and Design and the University College Falmouth.

Established in 1902, we’ve previously been the Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth College of Art and Design and the University College Falmouth. Read less