Screenwriting BA (Hons) / HE Certificate

Master the art of storytelling for a range of visual media

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Overview

Define your voice as a creative writer by developing the storytelling tools and scriptwriting techniques needed for a rewarding career as a screenwriter in the film, television and media industries. 

Gain practical script writing experience and work on a wide range of media formats: from film, television, documentary, games and animation, to emerging media content, across different forms and genres. Learn how to craft engaging stories and complex characters through dialogues and narrative styles that excite audiences across multiple arcs, episodes and seasons. 

You’ll do this and more by immersing yourself in a true Writers’ Room environment. It’s here that you’ll pick up the tools and rules of working in a collaborative creative space, brainstorming and developing stories together. Gain valuable experience from day one by taking on diverse roles in the creative process such as head writer, executive producer, staff writer, showrunner or story editor.

Throughout this brand-new programme, you’ll acquire the full picture of industry processes, and your place within them. You’ll build a bank of stories original to you and your creative voice that will go on to form your portfolio. See your characters come to life by collaborating with our budding filmmakers, actors and animators.

You can study this programme either as a full three-year BA degree or the first year only as a one-year HE Certificate.

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The future of storytelling

The demand for professional script writers is growing, not only in film and television, but also in sectors such as gaming, social media and advertising. From scene construction to character development, screenwriting specialists are given the challenge of finding innovative ways to build narratives and engage new audiences. 

Our brand-new screenwriting programme responds directly to this increasing demand for writers and storytellers across film and media. This could be anything from a short story for social media to a feature film or a multiple-episode format for an on-demand TV series. 

As new spheres emerge and technology brings about new forms of digital media, the role of the storyteller is constantly expanding to exciting new territory. For screenwriters, it’s more important than ever to understand how to tell stories in the digital media realm. On this course, the ethical and theoretical implications of scriptwriting are considered throughout the production of interactive stories, development of social media content and creation of audio-visual narratives. 

By gaining a thorough understanding of how different screenwriting approaches impact the field of audiovisual storytelling, you will be able to ride the wave of any shifting media format and technological development that comes your way.

“You can go wherever you want, in any world, at any time. You can expand – there’s no limits to it and that’s the beauty of scriptwriting.”

– Naseef Ganadry, Acting student (on Screenwriting workshops at Catalyst)

Course structure

Year 1 (HE Certificate)

During the first year, you’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of short format writing and serialised storytelling. Pick up the tools and rules of different areas of writing and collaborate closely with other budding screenwriters.You’ll learn by doing, tackling a large amount of writing exercises and short stories that will kick off your “writer’s portfolio”. 

Throughout the year, you’ll gain a professional and creative toolkit that will enable you to:

  • Write scripts for a variety of traditional linear formats, including short films, series, music videos and documentaries.
  • Write scripts for divergent media, including social media.
  • Understand the different roles within a Writers’ Room.

If you choose to enrol for our HE Certificate, you will take just the first year of this programme as a standalone qualification. The one-year HE Certificate course is the same as the first year of the BA programme and you'll be learning alongside the BA students throughout the year. You have the option of progressing into the second year of our BA programme after successfully completing the HE Certificate, subject to results and availability of places.

Workshops

Development

Your “home room” with your Advisor, guiding you through the modules, projects and assessments which make up the qualification. Examine and reflect upon your screenwriting approach from a bird's eye perspective, including your collaboration, communication, organisation, preparation and professional skills.

Screenwriting and Narrative I & II

Learn how to craft a film-based narrative from scratch. You’ll investigate what tools are available to you within storytelling and dive into the writing process, focusing on short film stories.

TV Series I, Characters & Dialogues, Short TV Show, Writers' Room and Roundtables

Practical, tools- and techniques-based workshops designed to get you up to speed on the fundamentals of writing episodic work. They will give you a grounding in the methods used to bring ideas to life in the industry. Here, you’ll learn how to work in a Writers’ Room, as well as how to give and receive feedback.

Writing Music Video, Audio Stories, Emerging Media Content I and Documentary I 

In these workshops, you will explore the formulation and impact of storytelling techniques, then apply this learning to a variety of formats, like documentary or social media content. Explore how your writing can be used for music videos or for podcasts.

Cinematic Writing Analysis, Feedback Sessions, Script Editing and Pitching

These workshops will develop your critique and analysis. Engage with the theories that support your practice as you take a step back from your work and view it through a critical lens. Develop the skills you use to critique your peers and yourself.

We are currently making updates to the content and structure of this course, so this information is subject to change.

Year 2 (BA)

Building upon Year 1’s fundamentals of short script writing, Year 2 dives deep into longer format writing and serialised storytelling. You’ll learn a range of approaches and roles by crafting a feature film script individually, a TV show script within a team and the art of editing scripts and supervising. This second year will allow you to build a solid foundation for specialised subjects requiring advanced research, critical thought and writing skills. You will also be introduced to interactive storytelling and writing for video games.

The course content in your second year will focus on: 

  • Writing a feature length or documentary feature script.
  • How to write a TV Series Bible, an essential tool for episodic writing.
  • Creating a script for a pilot episode.
  • Interactive storytelling techniques, such as in video games.
  • Developing critical thought and analysis within scriptwriting.

Workshops

Screenwriting & Narrative III and Screenwriting & Narrative IV

These workshops focus on developing your understanding and skills within traditional audiovisual media. You will work on projects varying in scope, from short stories through to feature films. Explore and practise more advanced narrative techniques available to writers that stir emotions in your audience.

TV Series II: Writing a TV Show and Writers' Room   

Working collaboratively with your peers, you will write a TV show. Building upon lessons learned in Year 1, you will design characters and narrative arcs as well as crafting a TV Bible to make sure your story stays true to your created universe. Do all this and much more in a Writers’ Room.

Emerging Media Content II, Interactive Storytelling and Writing in Video Games

In these workshops, you’ll dive deeper into writing for non-traditional media. Explore how techniques can be adapted for new forms of storytelling and how to respond to the changing role of the audience. Ideate, write and deliver a script for a video game, responding to new limitations within the medium.

Content Analysis, Supervising I, Supervising II and Feedback Sessions & Narrative

During these workshops, you’ll refine your critical thinking skills. You’ll evaluate scripts, pushing them forward in terms of audience expectations and wider context of the script and the topics explored. These workshops engage with theoretical aspects of screenwriting and how to apply this. Learn the role of script supervisor and essential functions like preparing a continuity breakdown.

Development

These workshops with your Advisor are a continuation of the work you do in Year 1. They help you understand the course content, your practice and its place in the wider world. 

We are currently making updates to the content and structure of this course, so this information is subject to change.

Year 3 (BA)

During this third and final year, you will have the opportunity to define and express your creative voice through a major and minor project. 

By the end of this 3-year Screenwriting BA course, you will have:

  • Learned how to create narratives and developed suitable writing skills for different media formats.
  • Learned how to engage viewers across arcs, episodes, seasons or in open worlds.
  • Acquired the ideation tools and techniques needed to generate new stories and develop those ideas further into concepts, outlines, treatments and scripts.
  • Developed the teamwork and collaboration skills to work effectively in a Writers' Room or other group environment.
  • Learned how to process criticism and feedback within a team setting.
  • Developed the skills of a showrunner.
  • Learned how to edit scripts and supervise the projects of others. 
  • Learned how to pitch ideas to stakeholders and future clients.
  • Seen your scripts translated to the screen, in collaboration with Catalyst’s film, acting and music students.

Major Project

The major project is developed over the year and is a self-initiated project that represents your individual artistic signature and applies everything you have learned. This could be a feature film, documentary, animation script, TV Series Bible and pilot script, or a game story. With supportive guidance and feedback, your work will be plotted, written and rewritten until it is ready for the market. Complete the journey through a final pitching event, where you will present your big idea or script.

Minor Project

Alongside your major project, you’ll have to make a choice between two minor projects which will complete your honours year. You can either take on a highly collaborative brief that looks outward and gains you all important industry experience. Or you can work on a dissertation, where you can explore a question or idea in depth.

PUSH4 Process (Option A)

Gain skills to guide you in your professional endeavours in your chosen slice of the industry. While you go out into the industry to get an in-depth insight and experience of working in a specific screenwriting field, these workshops provide you with the opportunity to build the essential soft skills to become a professional. 

PUSH5: Dissertation (Option B)

A large-scale research and investigation project, culminating in a 10,000-word (+/-10%) written thesis. Define a topic or area that you’re passionate about and explore it in as much depth as possible, demonstrating an ability to understand the ideas of others, form your own ideas and opinions and present them coherently.  

Your technological playground

Get hands-on access to industry-standard facilities and tons of bookable gear.

“Being able to put my ideas into action and actually possibly make a movie out of them… is just amazing”

– Dimitra Ntogka, Acting student (on Screenwriting workshops at Catalyst)

Is this programme for you?

You should be interested in some or all of the following:

  • The impact of stories – of all genres and formats!
  • Applying your passion for writing and stories to the film industry.
  • Learning how to work in a Writers’ Room environment.
  • Engaging critically with films, series and all types of audiovisual storytelling.
  • Understanding how narratives, show scripts and characters are created.
  • The creative process behind audiovisual productions.
  • Feeling positively challenged and inspired through creative project briefs in which you learn by doing.
  • Connecting professionally with the filmmaking and media industries. 
  • Building a career in the international film, media, gaming and wider creative industries.
  • Living and working in Berlin, one of the world's most exciting epicentres for international filmmaking.
  • Collaborating with a community of like-minded people from over 75 different countries.

Progression

Career opportunities

As well as leaving Catalyst with a brimming network of peers able to fill any role needed to progress your projects, you’ll leave with a portfolio of work that will equip you for writing jobs in the film industry. Completing the one-year HE Certificate course will put you in a position to work as a freelance screenwriter. Completing the full three-year BA (Hons) course will set you up for a huge range of career possibilities. 

As well as the role of a screenwriter, you’ll be ready to take up various positions within film and TV. You could find work at entry level as a staff writer. Find a role at the early stages of a production as a story editor or later within the process as a script consultant. You could eventually work your way towards becoming a showrunner in a Writers’ Room, controlling finances as an executive producer or leading a production as a creative director for TV series and feature films. You could choose to flex your critical skills and awareness of the zeitgeist by working as a film or TV critic. 

You’ll be well equipped to work in different media. You could work as a creator or writer in the world of gaming – a rapidly expanding industry with writing roles that range in size, from narrative and characters through to scenes and small interactions. Writing for audio formats, such as podcasts or radio shows, will be an option for you too. Or you may opt to explore the role of a writer for comic books and novels.

Self-development and creative leadership

However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve, from successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience. 

There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional Self-Development & Creative Leadership course is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.

Gain an understanding of how to take decisive action and communicate powerfully with others, and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Develop the leadership skills needed to complete your creative project, bring your work into the external world and attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work. 

Find out more

Our tutors are industry-acclaimed experts in their field, with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others. 

Admissions

Entry requirements

All applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a portfolio, and a personal introduction (which can be submitted as a written statement of motivation or a video/audio clip). Visit our How To Apply page for more detail.

MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

- Standard entry: graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained. This would be A-Levels in the UK and the Abitur in Germany, for example.

- Non-standard entry: We recognise that not all education happens in the classroom and it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. If you do not possess the required formal qualification, but have acquired relevant professional or life experience, please contact our Admissions team.

- Language: The language of instruction in all our courses is English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials.

For more information, please contact our Admissions team and we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities to come study with us.

Admissions FAQ
Course dates and application deadlines

Course start: mid-September 2024

Applications for entry to our courses in 2024 will open on Friday 1 December 2023.

Our application deadlines for entry to our courses in 2024 are as follows:

  • Deadline for applicants requiring student visa: Friday 29 March 2024
  • Priority deadline: Friday 5 April 2024
  • Final deadline: Friday 31 May 2024
  • Late applications: From June 2024 onwards

All international students requiring a visa to study in Germany should apply by Friday 29 March 2024.

If you do not need a student visa, we strongly recommend that you apply by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course. 

We only accept late applications from those who do not need a student visa. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list. 

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Tuition fees (2024 entry)

We offer two ways to pay:

  • Single Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* 895€ + Tuition Fee 10,855€ = 11,750€ per year**
  • Instalment Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* 895€ + Tuition Fee 10 instalments x 1,185.50€ = 12,750€ per year**

* Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.
** BA degree = 3 years x total annual fee.

If you decide to enrol in both a Summer Short Course and an undergraduate course (HE Certificate or BA) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

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Open days, Q&As and taster workshops

Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop. 

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Behind the scenes

Stories from our creative community

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