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Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries

University of Cambridge via edX Micromasters

Overview

Writing for stage, screen, you-tube and digital platforms, video games, performance poetry, stand-up comedy, installation and performance art, has never been more popular. The golden age of television has diversified to become the golden age of streaming, with Netflix and Amazon creating exceptional opportunities for new writers to enter the industry.

The MicroMasters® in Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries offers both an experimental and industry-relevant opportunity to hone your skills as a dramatist or performance artist across many genres, as well as preparing you practically for engaging successfully with the film/TV /theatre/digital media and industries.

You will receive world-class teaching from academics from the University of Cambridge as well as expert advice from writers and directors who have navigated highly successful careers. We will delve into themes across all performance genres, including: dialogue, narrative structure/story-telling, and character psychology. You will learn how to write outlines and story-bibles, how to pitch an idea to a producer, and how to present your work to the industry of your choice.

We want to build innovative writers who disrupt traditional performance practices and are professionally resilient in the market-place. This creative writing program will help you build your entrepreneurial confidence by our engagement with audience theory, performance theory, and anti-fragility theory. This course would suit those already working as professional dramatists/writers who wish to broaden their portfolio, as well as those involved in associated creative industries. Literary agents, editors, you- tubers, stand-up comics, performance artists and poets, and those involved in managing writers in the entertainment and media industries would all benefit from insights gained in this course.

The courses within the MicroMasters can be studied independently, but to gain the most from the course, we recommend following them in sequence. In particular Writing successfully for the stage: structure, plot and dialogue follows on from Finding your voice as a playwright: scenes, themes and characters.

For those interested in continuing onto a full Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, this graduate level MicroMasters® offers the chance to experience the expertise of our dynamic world-class tutors, led by published playwrights Abigail Docherty and Fraser Grace, at a time and place to suit you. If accepted to the full program, following our normal application procedures, those who have studied the MicroMasters® in Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries will have completed 30 credits (15 ECTS) of the full 180 credit program.

The University of Cambridge has long produced famous performers such as Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson. Our recent alumni includes Sara Collins and her award-winning novel, The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

Syllabus

Courses under this program:
Course 1: Finding your voice as a playwright

Learn to deepen your creative practice as a playwright, as well as develop professionally transferable writing skills and communication expertise. This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a professional dramatist, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.



Course 2: Writing successfully for the Stage

Learn to structure your dramatic writing to a professional standard, as well as develop professionally transferable communication skills. This course will broaden your understanding of how to write engaging and interesting stories in order to attract producers and directors to your work. You will understand how to write effective dialogue, and how to edit your work.



Course 3: Building your Screenplay

Learn to strengthen you skills as a screenwriter, while diversifying your knowledge and understanding of the demands of global film and TV production. Find out how to become a powerful visual story-teller; understand how to build effective structure within your screenplay; develop professionally transferable writing skills and communication expertise.

This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a professional screenwriter, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.



Course 4: Business Success in the Screen Industries

Learn how to network in the creative industries, how pitch your film to a producer, and how to hold your own in a TV writers’ room. Acquire the basic skills for setting up your own production company and learn how to transform creative ideas into work of commercial value.

This course will broaden your understanding of how to maintain a career successfully as a professional screenwriter, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.



Course 5: Digital Platforms in Performance

Advance your digital story-telling prowess and learn how to create interactive gameplay scripts for video games, radio drama scripts for radio and/or podcasting, as well as content for your YouTube channel. Learn to transfer your skill as a dramatist into these innovative mediums.

This course will broaden your understanding of how to start a career successfully as a digital storyteller, as well as offer you insights in how to maximise and enjoy the processes of your personal creativity.



Course 6: Reconceiving Space: Installation and Performance Art

Learn to deepen your dramaturgical practice in the experimental world of installation and performance art, as well as continue to develop professionally transferable writing skills and communication expertise. This course will broaden your understanding of how to engage in creating innovative art work with a performative basis.



Course 7: Stand Up!; Comedy Writing and Performance Poetry

Prepare to perform your comic writing and/or poetry to a live audience, as well as develop transferable writing skills and communication expertise that will be relevant in any profession. This course will broaden your understanding how to structure a stand-up comedy set, as well as allow you to understand how to use narrative form in your performance poetry texts. You will also reflect on the ways in which you might enhance the quality of your writing practice by being a performer yourself.



Course 8: Capstone: Bringing it all together

Having completed the seven other courses in the MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries, this course gives you the opportunity to put it all together. Refine your favourite piece of work and, for those on the verified track, receive feedback from tutors.

Passing this course is a pre-requisite for those wishing use credit from MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and Entertainment industries as part of their application to the MSt in Writing for Performance at the University of Cambridge.



Courses

Taught by

Abigail Docherty

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