Writing Masterclass with Universal Pictures UK and Author Naomi Wood


I was delighted to be invited to attend a fiction workshop at the Faber Academy in London on 1 August, arranged by Universal Pictures UK to celebrate the upcoming release of The Huntsman: Winter’s War starring Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron.

Whilst I’m a big reader, I had never previously thought about writing. I assumed that I lacked the imagination to produce an entire story from start to finish. However, the invitation sparked some interest and I decided to give it a go.

The masterclass was hosted at the Faber Academy and we were hugely privileged to have Naomi Wood, author of Mrs Hemmingway and creative writing teacher at Goldsmith College, to lead the class. If you want to take your first few steps into the world of writing, Naomi is a fantastic teacher – supportive, knowledgeable and non-judgmental!

There were 8 people in attendance at the masterclass in total, including Juliana from Premier Comms (who arranged the class) and Lydia from Universal Pictures UK. The other participants were writers and fellow bloggers, like myself.

I have to admit that when I arrived at the Faber Academy, I was SCARED! What do I know about writing? What if I have to read out loud? What if everyone dismisses my ideas as juvenile and lacking in imagination? Walking through that door was certainly a nerve-wracking moment!

I’m happy to report that I really shouldn’t have worried. Julianna was hugely welcoming and the rest of the class arrived quickly after me. The table was laden with crisps and Haribo, to sustain us, and there were some bottles of wine waiting to mellow the mood.


Naomi is a fantastic teacher. Whilst giving us interesting exercises to undertake, we were assured that we were not required to read out loud in front of the rest of the class. However, despite being quite shy, I found myself so absorbed in the class that I did actually speak out once or twice!

The class focused on fairy tales. I was interested in this topic as my husband has recently read Grimm’s’ Fairy tales and we had been discussing how short and dark those tales are in comparison to the more popular Disney retellings.

We first discussed what makes a fairy tale and the structure of this specific genre, including typical characters, obstacles, repeating motives, magic, morals and resolutions. We explored the repeating themes and the importance of progression and regression in the tales. We also analysed how the author imparts information to the reader without simply telling them the information. Fairy tales are a truly fascinating genre as the author has to impart so much information in such a few short words.

As a class, we read a couple of passages from Snow White and Rapunzel in order to analyse those ancient tales. It was interesting to read tales from so many years previously and to consider what problems we would have with those stories if written in today’s world. From a feminist point of view, the characterisation of the female protagonists as weak and in need of rescue, is somewhat of a sticking point.

We also watched scenes from The Huntsman: Winter’s War(released on DVD on 15 August) in order to analyse the settings used in those scenes.

We were given exercises to do, both alone and in a group, including:  providing a physical description of a typical fairy tale characters (i.e. prince, heroine, witches, evil sisters, the old crone/hag etc…), reviewing a fairy tales for signs of repetition and describing a scene to evoke the emotions of heartbreak. I found it hugely interesting to learn how the other the participants chose to interpret these tasks. For example, when describing a character, I modernised my description whilst some people changed gender roles, used animals etc… Similarly, with the heartbreak scene, I described a barren desert with no clear direction and almost a sense of sensory deprivation – being too alone with your own thoughts and feelings. Most of the other participants described scenes with too much sensory deprivation – rain, forests, cliffs etc… It was interesting to understand people’s reasoning behind their choices.

I left the masterclass feeling inspired. The class had left my brain spinning with new ideas for retellings of those ancient stories and, indeed, made me feel for the first time as though I may be able to find the creativity needed to actually start writing.

I also left the event excited to watch The Huntsman: Winter’s War, as I know that I will look at it through different eyes since the masterclass.

Huge thanks to Juliana, Naomi Wood and Universal Pictures UK for a truly memorable, thought-provoking and inspiring evening.

Further information….


If it’s the Snow White tale you’re looking for, discover the story that came before in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, arriving to Digital on 1 st August and Blu-ray ™ and DVD on 15 th August, 2016, from Universal Pictures (UK). The Huntsman: Winter’s War on Blu-ray ™ and DVD includes an all-new extended edition of the epic action-adventure, plus exclusive bonus features that reveal the film’s behind-the- scenes secrets.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War stars Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Monster) as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her good sister Freya (Emily Blunt: Sicario, Edge of Tomorrow) with an unforgivable act, freezing Freya’s heart to love and unleashing in her an icy power she never knew she possessed. Retreating to a kingdom far to the north, Freya raises an army of Huntsmen as her protectors, with the only rule that no two of them should ever fall in love. As a war for domination escalates between the two queens, the hero standing between good and evil is Freya’s most elite Huntsman, Eric (Chris Hemsworth: Thor, Star Trek Into Darkness). Alongside fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain: The Martian, The Help) — the only woman who has ever captured his heart — Eric must help Freya vanquish her sister or Ravenna’s wickedness will rule for eternity.


Release Date: Digital 1 st August, DVD & Blu-ray ™ 15 th August
Certificate: PG
Run Time: 113 Minutes / 120 Minutes (extended)


 Extended Edition
 Deleted Scenes – Freya says goodbye to Ravenna, Young Eric and Sara fight, Eric finds passage to hidden forest, Freya beats in Ravenna in chess
 Featurettes – Winter’s vistas: The making of The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Love Conquers All
 Gag reel
 Trailers


 Extended Edition
 Deleted Scenes – Freya says goodbye to Ravenna, Young Eric and Sara fight, Eric finds passage to hidden forest, Freya beats in Ravenna in chess
 Featurettes – Meet the Dwarves, Magic All Around, Winter’s Vistas: The making of The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Love Conquers All
 Deleted scenes commentary
 Film commentary with Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
 Extended edition commentary with Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
 Trailers


Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Sam Claflin, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon,
Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach
Directed By: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Written By: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin
Characters By: Evan Daughert
Produced By: Joe Roth
Executive Produced By: Sarah Bradshaw, Palak Patel
Director of Photography: Phedon Papamichael
Production Designer: Dominic Watkins
Edited By: Conrad Buff IV
Composer: James Newton Howard
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2-_OQL9fBk
Website: http://www.huntsmanmovie.co.uk/
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TheHuntsmanUK
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/universaluk
Instagram https: www.instagram.com/universalpicturesuk
Hashtag: #TheHuntsman #WintersWar
For further press information, interview requests and DVD review copies
Emily Levy / emilylevy@premiercomms.com / 0207 292 7340
Pete Connell / pete.connell@premiercomms.com / 0207 292 7320

Please contact:

For online PR enquiries please contact:
Juliana Fenton – 020 7292 8351 – Juliana.Fenton@premiercomms.com

About Universal Pictures (UK)
Universal Pictures (UK) is a division of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, which is part of NBCUniversal – one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier

motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world- renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.

© 2016 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved

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