MEDIAPRO will train the next generation of fiction creators in Spain through its new Master’s in Screenwriting to be launched this coming October in association with the Universidad Complutense. The objective of this new Master’s is to bring to light new talent and provide candidates with the training to face the current audiovisual revolution. The entire Group, including its audiovisual productions, will be made available to the Master’s in both academic and practical terms.
We spoke to screenwriter and executive producer, Iván Escobar (“Locked Up”), one of the individuals behind the design of the Master’s.
Why a Master’s in Screenwriting?
The main objective of a Master’s in Screenwriting is to find talent: companies need talent; the script teams need talent; stories don’t get written without talent. A Master’s in Screenwriting is a vehicle, a way to bring students with creative concerns together in one place and give them the tools to explore their creative talents. In an increasingly homogenous world, we want to detect creative minds with “lateral perspectives”. What the hell is this? Men and women who think differently, feel different and have stories to tell.
What qualities should a screenwriter possess?
I’m often asked what it takes to be a screenwriter. Writer and screenplay theorist Linda Seger summed it up in a very poignant quote: “All around us, wonderful things are constantly happening, only some people see them, and others do not“. There you have it. To be a screenwriter you need perspective that transforms everyday life into something extraordinary. Stories arise from unhappiness, conflict, emotional change and the need to be loved. A Master’s degree cannot teach you all this, but it can open a door for us to stick our heads around if we are curious. That already would be a great deal.
“The academic programme needs to adapt to this new pace, influences and changes. The format that was fresh two years ago is outdated today”
What do you think is the most important thing to consider in a Master’s?
Giving voice to the student. Many Master’s or screenwriting courses base their programme on a series of talks by professionals who pass through the classroom and share their experience. “Lecturer paratroopers” who don’t hang around the classroom long enough to meet the students or listen to them. They tell their war stories, hand out their exercises and leave students with a good impression. But that’s not enough.
“Our goal is to provide students with a voice, to listen to and empower them”
What else is necessary to encourage a candidate to becoming a screenwriter?
The only way to enhance a student’s creativity is to place them in front of their own voice; develop an academic programme to monitor and evaluate their work so that throughout the Master’s candidates are facing their creativity and exploring it; thinking, discussing, writing and rewriting. Many Master’s programmes are creating great “viewers” of series, but not series “writers”. Our mission is to reverse this treacherous tendency. And the only way to do that is to confront the student with the blank page, which in this digital age would be a blank Word document…
“The distinguishing features of the MEDIAPRO Master’s is that having professionals of the most prestigious academic and professional level, affords students the chance to do internships in series and broadcast programmes, that and its relevance internationally”
What differentiates this Master’s from others that already exist?
Mainly three things: firstly, it is composed of a number of professionals of the most prestigious academic and professional level; secondly, it affords students the chance to take an internships in series, programmes and products which are already being broadcast. In other words, it’s not only a theoretical Master’s, but a practical one. And thirdly, MEDIAPRO has an international vocation. In an increasingly transnational world, MEDIAPRO’s global perspective provides students with the entire composition of the global market. Productions are no longer restricted to local markets, but have an international perspective, and MEDIAPRO also have this viewpoint.
“Many Master’s programmes are creating great “viewers” of series, but not series “writers””
Does the change in consumer habits of fiction and programmes (when you want, how you want it and where you want it) also influence when training a screenwriter?
If we were going to propose a Master’s that already existed, we simply wouldn’t do it. In an increasingly fast and polymorphic world, we believe that students and academic programmes need to adapt to this new pace, influences and changes. But not only that. A format that was fresh two years ago is outdated today. It’s impossible to project a vision for this new liquid society. The students of the Master’s in Screenwriting are the spearhead of the creativity coming our way. We want to listen to it and empower the bearers.