As a screenwriter your ability to create and communicate a story is at the heart of any successful film project. Our one-year diploma provides the intensive, creative development and practical training in the commercial aspects of screenwriting to ensure you not only develop your craft, but leave with a large and impressive volume of work and the knowhow to succeed in the business.
The LFA Screenwriting Diploma is particularly useful since its academic objectives are tied into LFA’s commitment to faithfully reflect the conditions of real world filmmaking, where the pressures and challenges of development and production are an intrinsic part of the process. The necessity of rewriting is often omitted from less grounded portrayals of the craft, at LFA it is front and centre from day one.
Michael Holden, Screenwriter and LFA Tutor
At a glance:
- 12 full months study time (minimum 15 hours per week)
- Unrivalled portfolio: TV bible & episode, web series, short & 2 feature films
- 1-to-1 development with acclaimed actors, writers, producers & directors
- Business of writing (pitching, contracts and option agreements)
- Full-picture filmmaking – study, collaborate and crew on productions
- Opportunity to progress to an MA qualification
- £14,000 all incl. fee (incl. Festival attendance and Final Draft)
Supporting the Safety of Our Students during COVID-19
At London Film Academy, students are at the heart of everything we do and our priority is first and foremost the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and tutors.
Duration: 12 months, 50 weeks (incl. holidays)
Intakes: September each year
Hours: 15 per week (plus additional hours, incl. evenings and weekends)
Our Screenwriting Diploma gives you one year of intensive creative development to prepare you for life working as screenwriter in the fast-paced, competitive and diverse film and TV environment. You will get a thorough grounding in all screenwriting specialisms, producing a huge volume of work over the course of the year, writing for shorts, television, feature films and web series. Our intensive approach to screenwriting ensures that you leave LFA with an impressive portfolio of work, adaptable writing skills and the ability to turn around script projects to tight deadlines.
At LFA we encourage students to collaborate across disciplines to expand their experience and understanding of the entire filmmaking process. Providing an extensive overview of the realities of the filmmaking industry, throughout the year sessions cover: script editing and the role of development executives, script supervising, acquiring agents, copyright, legal and finance; cinema audience demographics and feature film marketing. You will improve your visual storytelling skills and see your scripts leave the page through live-reading workshops with professional directors and actors. To ensure you leave LFA industry-ready our screenwriting workshops will focus on how to outline, pitch and negotiate the sale of feature film and TV ideas to a panel of film and TV industry professionals.
Practising industry professionals from writing, directing and producing backgrounds supervise you throughout your time on the London Film Academy Screenwriting Diploma, providing you with up-to-date industry relevant advice. Previous tutors and guest speakers have included Screenwriters Clive Bradley ('The Walking Dead’) and Sam Bain (‘Four Lions', ‘Peep Show') and Olivia Hetreed (‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’). Through group workshops, writing to a deadline, one-to-one mentoring, improvisation with actors and on-set experience you will gain a greater understanding of the demands of a screenwriter.
Successful completion of LFA’s Screenwriting Diploma provides students with 50% of the credits (90) needed to gain an MA qualification. Following the course students can opt to progress onto a postgraduate course at either Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge or the University of Derby in order to achieve a full MA qualification in either screenwriting or creative writing.
Over the course of the year you gain knowledge, practical experience and a variety of writing skills in a number of topics through seminars, workshops and masterclasses covering:
Short Film Writing
Through writing short films you develop technique, tone and creativity. You explore the short film format in depth, from concept, structure and character to dialogue and mood. This work can be put forward for production through LFA Filmmaker's Club or the Filmmaking Diploma, where there is the opportunity to see your work produced.
Writing for Television or Webseries
You learn about putting together a writing project for television, assembling a TV Bible for an original series and writing a 30 minute TV episode script for the project of your choice. Analyse and reflect on a variety of television formats and genres, hearing from writers, producers and directors. Learn about writing to a brief, or specific series model, such as a soap opera. In addition, you work on the development of a webseries or original concept for online content.
Feature Film Preparation & Writing
Learn how to research and prepare for feature projects by writing treatments, synopses, beat sheets and scene-by-scene breakdowns. This material forms the foundation of the writing process as well as a selling tool when pitching to film and TV industry companies after graduation. Your development and individual feedback sessions are overseen by a range of screenwriters working in the feature film industry.
The Screenwriting Diploma will cover the 3-act structure, character arcs, genre technique, linear and non-linear narrative structure, dialogue, flashback and voiceover. Tuition continues strategically throughout the course, employing intense script editing with tutors, directors and actors. You will learn how to give constructive feedback to your peers and how to interpret script notes to prepare you for a career in screenwriting.
Pitching sessions are supervised and serve as a rehearsal for the actual industry pitching panel that you will encounter in the later stages of the course. This panel consists of film and TV industry professionals and is followed by a one-to-one tutorial to discuss the merits and challenges of proposed ideas.
Specialist Screenwriting Masterclasses
Specialist screenwriting classes may include: adaptation, TV drama, rewriting, development notes, and how to get on in the film and TV industry. These classes introduce you to working producers, directors, development executives and literary agents, who discuss their perspectives on the film & TV industry and what they look for in a screenplay and a writer.
Tuition is tailored towards individuals, helping you to develop your unique voice as a writer and find a writing process suited to your style, skill set and preferred working practice, as well as answering any questions you might have regarding specific techniques or structures. This enables you to complete your chosen feature projects in your own way.
A selection of work is chosen and performed in class by professional actors, directed by an acclaimed industry director. LFA students witness first-hand how actors interpret a script to build their characters, how dialogue is brought to life “off the page” and how character and story can be told without dialogue. These sessions are designed to deal with script clarity and visual storytelling technique. They enhance the writer’s authenticity of dialogue and help to draw out screen characters and mise-en-scène.
See writing in action on-set for one of the Filmmaking Diploma graduation films. Observing directing, acting and the technical requirements of filmmaking helps inform your future writing.
Copyright, Legal & Finance
All LFA diploma students are given essential sessions covering the copyright, legal & finance practice within the film and TV industry. Sessions explain: how film and TV rights are sought and acquired, the basics of a writer’s agreement, option agreement, an overview of film financing practice, and scheduling and budgeting. These classes help to bring home the relative costs of filmmaking to the writer, both for indie and low-budget screenwriting as well as Hollywood blockbusters.
Reader reports are standard in the film & TV industry and are used by most production companies in order to flag and track writing talent and to help assess whether to reject or greenlight a project. Understanding and writing a reader report is an essential skill for all aspiring screenwriters. Writing reader reports can not only supplement income and open industry doors, but also provide emerging screenwriters a useful tool to develop their script-editing and writing skills. We provide you with practical sessions where you will receive industry reader reports in order to familiarise yourself with industry-standard practice.
Film Festival Attendance
Students are encouraged to attend events and screenings at a range of film festivals throughout the duration of the course. LFA is involved with a variety of film festivals both within the UK and Europe. In addition students are invited to attend workshops held at these festivals and facilitated by the LFA. Where possible, students will be issued with delegate passes for relevant festivals, where we actively encourage attendance at screenings or networking events. Such festivals may include the London Screenwriters Festival.
Enhancing Students Film-School Experience
Together, students form lasting professional and personal relationships. LFA is a filmmaking community that operates like a production company. Students from all courses regularly support one another, thus enhancing their film-school experience: for example, the multi-disciplinary aspect of the Filmmaking Diploma enables graduates to crew for the Feature Film Development Lab projects; the Screenwriting Diploma students submit scripts for production and join the sets of the Filmmaking Diploma students’ films.
Sessions at London Film Academy follow a varied structure designed to ensure students get the best experience possible.
Small-group sessions will improve your public speaking skills. You develop your analytical skills in these sessions, enabling you to script-edit your own writing and the work of others. You are encouraged to communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively bringing your stories to life through class discussion and class readings.
Feedback and mentoring sessions provide the opportunity to discuss ideas and writing progress on the course with a screenwriting tutor or mentor. London Film Academy provides careers guidance sessions designed to build confidence and offer advice on which story ideas to pursue. We give you script editing and feedback tailored to your individual needs and projects.
The Screenwriting Diploma costs £14,000 for the year. There are no hidden costs and entry to a leading UK screenwriter's festival is included.
Please visit the Funding Your Studies section of our website for more information
To book your place on this course please:
Apply online or
Apply by post, print out the application form and post to London Film Academy, 52A Walham Grove, London, SW6 1QR, email email@example.com. As soon as we've received your application we’ll send you a confirmation email containing payment details. Please check your ‘Junk Mail’ folder if you appear to have not received this email.
- Bachelors degree or equivalent, however, we may also consider students with a non-traditional background on the strength of their previous work experience and/or portfolio
- Written work submitted prior to attending an interview - we are looking for potential creative ?lmmaking ability as evidenced through written material
- All applicants must be fluent in English: English Language Level: Upper Intermediate
- Some practical experience in film production is desirable, except in cases where student can demonstrate transferable skills in other relevant areas i.e. stage plays, novels etc.
Alongside a completed application form online, please apply with:
- One example of your dramatic writing: The first 20 pages of a feature script or Feature film treatment of 10-15 pages or two short film screenplays or if you have no screenplay material we will except an extract from other creative writing such as: a play, short story, novel poetry
- These extracts should be accompanied by a written explanation you are why not submitting a screenplay
- Analytical skills: A one-page critique of a film you have seen
- Summary skills: A one-page synopsis of the screenplay or treatment you have submitted (or 2 half page synopsis of two short films)
Please see Screenwriting Diploma Application Checklist for further details.
What kind of students are we looking for?
- Committed and dedicated people with a proven passion for writing, who want a professional career in film or television
- Collaborative, articulate and creative people who can demonstrate a strong instinct for the grammar of visual storytelling
- Those who want a practical education in screenwriting and believe that the only way to learn how to write is by writing