Screenwriting: From Film Idea to Pitch


This first part of a trilogy of courses is an introduction to screenwriting, discussing key concepts, techniques and procedures of the writing process. Together as a group we shall investigate their application in case studies, both provided by the tutor and selected by you. Through regular contributions, you will actively develop your observation of the film and TV industries, grow your ability to communicate their film idea alongside established concepts such as character, genre and structure, as well as build an increasing awareness of the creative needs and opportunities evolving from their project.

Working with participant projects in active development, we examine film/TV story development procedures as part of a wider web of film industry institutions and procedures. Here emerging writers will get to respond to the variety of traditions, agendas and expectations that their immediate collaborators (including development executives, agents, producers and directors) bring to a film idea and so create a solid foundation for their own screenplay written in module 2.

Programme details

Week 1:          Introduction & course overview

Week 2:          Character

Week 3:          Structure

Week 4:          Genre

Week 5:          Script Coverage

Week 6:          Student Coverage Presentation (formative assessment)

Week 7:          Formats and Formatting

Week 8:          The Ethics of Storytelling

Week 9:          Pitching Techniques

Week 10:        Students pitch their Project (summative assessment).


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course fee £230.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Mr Carl Schoenfeld

Carl has three decades’ film industry experience as writer, director and producer. He pioneered fresh approaches across filmmaking and education. His award-winning productions with the BBC, Channel4/Film4, and the BFI - including BAFTA-nominated 'A Sarajevo Diary', and 'My Brother Tom', starring Ben Whishaw - embraced new technology and launched the talent involved.

Course aims

We aim to develop a personalised understanding of the screenwriting process, key elements and procedures, including limitations and opportunities in the context of student project aims.

Course Objectives

1. Learn to appropriate techniques structuring the development of film and TV ideas, and build on established screenwriting concepts and on film/TV case study analysis, in order to articulate conclusions for your individual story development process.

2. Explore story development opportunities that arise from your observation of your personal environment, as well as wider cultural developments in the context of rapidly-changing media industries, entertainment formats and technologies.

3. Encourage and facilitate continuous observation of the human condition that builds the foundation of excellent storytelling, of film and TV industry products and serious networking opportunities including those presented through course peers.

Teaching methods

This course will consist of a weekly, one-hour pre-recorded lecture to be viewed by students in preparation for the once weekly tutor-led live session at the time advertised.

Guided discussions, case studies, screenings, student presentations based on their own creative work and relevant case study analysis.

As human beings participating in the world around us, and as consumers of film, TV and new formats, our creative work leads us to become future makers of such product. This requires constant analysing and evaluating of industry output, enabling us to detect trends, discover new ‘talent’ as well as emerging decision makers, and so to assess the continuous narrowing and opening of opportunities for our projects.

Accordingly, the sessions require active student participation through both specific personal screenwriting projects and general industry observation. The participant perspective, shaped through both the maker and consumer experiences, enables productive guided discussions of industry terms, roles and procedures.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

• Have a strong grasp of the screenwriting concepts and the writing process, including opportunities and limitations in relation to personal student project aims.

• Develop critical and analytical thinking regarding both their own creative work as well as the media products they embrace, how these come about and how a more detailed understanding can support their own project development process.

• Talk concisely, effectively and confidently about their own and others' work, including creative aspects and narrative technique.

Assessment methods

Students are guided to contribute regularly with their individual industry observations and development of their film idea, enabling peer and facilitator feedback. There is a formal formative assessment point halfway through the course, and an opportunity to pitch their creative work in week 10 for summative assessment.

Based on their identified project needs, creative development and observations, students are required to submit for summative assessment either:

a) a 1000 word (+/- 10%) portfolio including a project summary, story treatment, development plan, and reflection on learning, as well as a final pitch presentation in week 10, or

b) a 1500 word (+/- 10%) portfolio including a project summary, story treatment, development plan, and reflection on learning.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


Each course will close for enrolments 14 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (14 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Screenwriters rely on their observation of real situations when developing imaginative worlds and characters, so curiosity and interest in a wide range of human experiences is helpful. This course includes screenwriters as part of the filmmaking process, so you are expected to take an interest in the kind of productions that you want to write (e.g. film, TV or web series, genre etc.). 

This course is offered at FHEQ Level 4, consisting of ten 2-hour sessions or the equivalent. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study. This course is worth 10 CATS points at FHEQ level 4.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)