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Film and Television Directing MA

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  • Objectives
    Aimed at promoting professional practice and developing critical judgement.
  • Entry requirements
    For future film and television directors and includes taught modules on script development, camera, sound and editing, finance and marketing, and a performance workshop to explore working with actors and agents.
  • Academic Title
    Film and Television Directing MA
  • Course description
    The MA Film and Television Degrees are aimed at those with a professional interest in Directing, Producing and Screenwriting.

    The course is made up as follows:

    Taught Modules:

    You undertake a series of lectures and seminars on script development, actors and performance, film business and technology. These courses are shared by directors, producers and screenwriters because it is more and more common to swap or combine these roles to meet the demands of different projects. The taught courses generate a better understanding of the production process before you embark on your film project.

    Film Project:

    You undertake a film project of your choice. As a director you develop, shoot and edit your single film. To support you with your chosen project, you receive tailored workshops, tutorials and master-classes.

    Research Project:

    As an alternative to the film project, you can seek a work placement with a media company and write a research project or dissertation on a topic of your choice. In this case you are supported by seminars on research and individual tutorials. The course takes place over one year from January to December. It is designed in an innovative format that allows you to undertake the major film project or research project, while managing your other commitments. The course offers a blended learning approach, combining lectures and seminars taught in time-efficient, intensive residential units, alongside work-based learning and distance learning, to meet diverse student needs in a global marketplace. The taught elements shared by directors, producers and screenwriters are a valuable chance for networking and collaboration. These prepare you for your major film project, which is supported by specialized master-classes, workshops and tutorials to enhance your directing skills. The schedule allows you to gain the most from time spent on campus and to complete your coursework assignments off-site, while developing your major project. Your major project can be filmed either in the UK or abroad, depending on its requirements. You are offered tutorial support along the way at the stages of pre-production, shooting and editing. The film industry depends on teamwork so we encourage you to help other students with their projects and to draw upon their help in return.

    Work placement

    Placements are a valuable means of establishing industrial contacts and gaining an insight into the commercial reality of a chosen discipline. We have a long history of students working with industry supplementing the taught university curriculum with real life on the job experience.

    This has seen students working right across the creative industries sector: in graphic, product and interior design consultancies, working as artist in residence in galleries, producing props and sets for the film & TV industry, shadowing teachers in education, working with commercial photographers through to students working right across the Music industry.

    We expect students interested in obtaining a work placement; to be proactive, to self-initiate this interest and to communicate and work with programme staff in their identification of companies and organisations that are able to provide the appropriate range of experiences and opportunities.

    We value the opportunity and benefits of the placement experience highly and as such, we encourage all students to consider obtaining a placement as part of their course. However, we recognise that this may not be a viable option for a number of reasons. In addition, we are not able to guarantee that all students will undertake a work placement as part of their studies.

    Teaching methods

    Taught Modules

    The taught element is delivered in intensive one week courses which take place between January and May. You undertake a series of lectures and seminars about script development, working with actors, film business and technology. These provide directors with a better understanding of the production process so you can operate more effectively in future work settings. The modules are as follows:

    Script & Project Development (30 credits)

    Script Development

    This explores the process of script development through the analysis of story structure, character and genre. You review different approaches to screenwriting and prepare script reports to analyse how best to develop a project constructively.

    Planning, Budgeting & Scheduling

    You review the process of production from start to finish and learn how to budget and schedule a fiction project.

    Film Business (30 credits)

    Finance, Marketing & Distribution

    You examine the options for financing a project, from soft funding, distribution advances, tax breaks and co-production. You go on to make a business presentation with a finance plan. Media Law, Contract & Copyright You learn media law regarding copyright and contract and the acquisition of rights in music and archive material. You study production and distribution agreements and draft standard form contracts.

    Actors and Performance (30 credits)

    Performance Workshop

    You explore techniques for working with actors by testing sections of your script in a performance workshop. Studio Workshop You test out scenes from your project on camera in the TV studio to re-assess and develop your work more effectively.

    Technology (30 credits)

    Cinematography & Lighting

    You explore camera and lighting skills, including the use of lenses, camera movement and grip equipment. 

    Sound & Editing

    You learn about location sound recording and the contribution of sound post-production through ADR, foley, sound effects and music. You develop your editing skills, as appropriate, with workshops on colour correction, visual effects and digital cinema.

    Major Project (60 Credits)

    Major Project

    You have the chance to direct a major project of your own choosing, by planning, shooting and editing a single film in collaboration with a producer.

    Project Seminars

    You can attend tailored workshops, tutorials and master-classes to enhance your directing skills and support you in your project.

    Phase One - April to June

    You cast, budget and prepare their project for filming.

    Phase Two - June to September

    You film your project using our HDV equipment or in the TV studio.

    Phase Three - September to November

    You edit and post-produce your project using our editing equipment. Assessment - December You finalize your work for assessment. There is a day of screenings, readings and workshops to mark the completion of projects.

    Research Project (60 Credits)

    As an alternative to undertaking a major film project, you can complete a 10,000 word research project or dissertation on a subject of your choosing, to be agreed with your tutor. You receive tutorial support in planning and developing the project. If you complete your research outside the UK you receive online and/or telephone support. If you wish, your research project can be based on a specific work placement. These provide a useful introduction to the industry, which may lead to long-term employment.

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