Written by Sian Hedger
Choosing to undertake a Master’s Degree is a big decision. You are investing time and money into your professional future, and if you are choosing a creative degree like me, it can also be a big risk. Becoming a professional screenwriter or any kind of artist is a huge leap, but one I am glad to be making. Before I came to Bournemouth, I worked a full time job back home. The pay was good and I got a fair amount of time off, but it was so horrendously boring. I could feel my mind turning to slush every minute I spent in that place. I had to escape and try and live my life the way I wanted to rather than the way my bills dictated I do.
As part of my escape plan to a fulfilling career, I knew I needed a jump start in the right direction. So, building on my degree in Film Studies and my own passion for writing, I chose Bournemouth University. The MA in Scriptwriting, run by Dr Helen Jacey, has been fantastic. Not only have I improved my skills as a writer tenfold, but I have also developed my artistic sensibilities in general. Every week I have learned something so valuable; in retrospect it would have been foolish of me to try writing anything without it.
One of the other great things about this course is the collaboration. The course is integrated with the other courses in the media school postgraduate framework, such as directing and cinematography, so you actually get your short films made. It’s a very satisfying process, and it has built an amazing community between all the courses, where we can be friends and all learn from each other in a mutual experience.
However as a writer, and as will many of you out there undertaking Master’s degrees, creative or not, you will spend a lot of time looking at this:
Although it is very satisfying when you see your project finished, the work can be hard and mentally gruelling. It is important to take time out. Go out with friends, watch the latest Game of Thrones or catch up on Eastenders. You need to keep your mind healthy to be productive, and when it does come down to crunch time, it is essential to recharge your batteries.
From my Master’s degree I have gained so much knowledge and experience, it has made taking that big leap into the scary professional world that much easier, and made me feel that much more confident about it. I’ve made some good films, worked with a lot of people and made some lifelong friends, some with whom I am already pursuing professional projects with after the course has ended. Above all, my MA has turned me from an aspiring writer into a writer. Even if I don’t quite have the pay cheques to back it up yet, I can feel it within myself. Undertaking a Master’s is a big decision, but it is one I would urge you all to take.