I am in my final year at the University of Derby and so have been looking at MA’s in Screenwriting. My lecturer recommended Manchester, saying that it had a good reputation for a new degree. I looked at other universities besides Derby and Manchester but didn’t find the others as interesting so I decided to go on a Master’s open day for Manchester and Derby.

Manchester’s was this Wednesday. Dad and I travelled by train from Birmingham and the journey was complete in no time. We registered for the reception and booked an accommodation tour.

The accommodation was worth £7000 for the year and had the same standard I am used to seeing at the cheaper £4500 halls at Derby. Although, the disabled rooms are a little bigger at manchester. The flat is shared amongst four-six students, there is no washing machine in the flat so I’d have to go back to lugging my clothes to the laundrette, the kitchen is shared and there is no living room. The closest thing to a recreation room was a room that could just about fit a pool table. The place also had a clinical atmosphere rather than the homely atmosphere I have at my current halls.

The university itself wasn’t bad. The food area reminded me of the food court that my college had – almost like a school dining hall, but it was a little cheaper than the food at Derby which I found interesting considering Manchester’s living costs is usually at a higher rate.

The room that my course would have been run in felt like it was more suited to a doctor’s chair or a small office in a simial profession rather than a classroom.

The course sounded interesting. They had links with Hollyoaks, an intern with Hollyoaks and I’d only have had to be in lectures for one day. Good except that one day would be a long one day and would render my halls as pointless. I thought the modules sounded interesting and I could see myself enjoying them until he said we’d have to keep up-to-date with live TV, especially soaps and we would also have to write soaps.

If it is a requirement to watch live TV, I would expect the course to include the cost of the TV licence, especially as the tuition fees are £9000, which would be all my loan gone. Nope. They record some shows for you, but you are expected to pay for the TV licence, which would eat into the money overflowing already.

Add up the £9000 and the £7000 for accommodation and I’d be £6000 over my loan without including food, let alone tuition.

I also don’t like being told to write in a specific genre. The lecturer said that they tell students not to write in specific genres because they are not made in Britain. I mean, yes, we don’t have much of a film industry, yes the big films tend to be filmed in Hollywood, but there are other ways to get your story out and you can sell your script across seas. It’ll be harder, but at least it’s your own story.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate needing to know and experiment with different genres. I do. I’ve learned so much from my Genre module at the University of Derby that I can see how being aware of different genres can help improve writing, but at the end of the day, I want the story and its genre to be the one that I chose.

So while I can now 100% say I am not going to Manchester, but am going to Derby, my dad and I did have a lovely day.

We went to pizza express. I had a chicken and cheese pizza and dad had something from the Roma section. It was a lovely meal, especially their dough balls with garlic butter dip. We also played some games on the iPad when we were on the train and still managed to return to Birmingham with enough time to relax.

So now I know where I am going to study, I just need a place to stay.

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