MA Film

Postgraduate, Full-time

Film MA



Prepare for a career in film and scripted drama on this ScreenSkills accredited course

Overview

With emphasis on collaboration, this course has been designed to help you embark on a career as a professional fiction filmmaker in one of the following disciplines:

  • producing
  • directing
  • cinematography
  • editing
  • location sound recording and design

Teaching is through a combination of collaborative shared modules and modules that focus on individual disciplines.  The two core practice-based modules complement each other, concentrating on professional practice within the framework of the industry crew structure.

Coursework consists of a large number of practical exercises, workshops and short film projects that allow students to deepen their own technical, creative and professional filmmaking skills. The course also includes a degree of research in your chosen discipline, and a theoretical module on critical film study.

The year's work and study culminates in a major project module in which students continue to work collaboratively, in their chosen disciplines, on one or more short scripted dramas.

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries and carries the ScreenSkills Select endorsement which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

The course is studied at the Screen Academy Scotland, a ScreenSkills recognised Film Academy.

The deadline for submissions to this course is Friday 31st July 2020. This course is highly competitive so, if we receive enough applications to fill our places for each specialism, applications may close early.

Film students with camera

Mode of Study:

Full-time

 

Duration:

1 year

Start date:

Sep


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Screen Academy Scotland

Course details

Screen Academy Scotland is an active filmmaking hub in the culturally vibrant city of Edinburgh. It offers great scope for collaboration, with some 200 or so students at undergraduate and postgraduate level engaged in diverse film activities. Students can also draw on support from tutors who themselves have significant experience in the industry.

The Screen Academy is a professionally-equipped facility and we expect student work to aspire to a level that is close to industry standard. As it's one of only three film academies in the UK accredited by ScreenSkills, the film industry’s skills body, it gives our graduates significant credibility in the industry.

In addition, Screen Academy students can buy an industry pass at a heavily-discounted rate to attend screenings, master classes and networking events at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June.

This course will advance your knowledge of your chosen specialist area as well as giving you a rounded understanding of other film making disciplines. The emphasis on professional skills will help maximise your chance of success.

Previous graduates have had their films screened at festivals around the world, including Venice, Beijing, Kolkata and Edinburgh. Many have gone on to win awards and commissions for TV and feature film projects.

Subjects include:

Trimester 1 

  • Creative Practice for Film and TV 
  • Collaborative Techniques for Film 1

Trimester 1 (optional) 

  • The Business of Screen Project Development 
  • Script Workshop 1
  • Writing and Screen Project Development 
  • Motion Graphics (editors only) 

Trimester 2 

  • Creative Practice for Cinema 
  • Collaborative Techniques for Film 2 
  • Critical Film Study 

Trimester 3 

  • Masters Film Project 

Graduate film screening at Edinburgh Filmhouse in late autumn

Lead academics

MA Film is taught by a range of professionals from a number of specialisms.
  • Susie Brown is an experienced Line Producer/Production Manager in drama, documentary and television features. With over 30 years in the industry, Susie has worked in the production of film and television for BBC, C4, ITV, Polygram, Sky, Working Title and many others. Susie has taught production staff throughout her career, within the industry and in academia.
  • David Lumsden is an award winning fiction & commercials Director based in Scotland. His work has been screened to audiences at film festivals around the world. Alongside his fiction and commercial projects he has also directed broadcast documentaries and behind the scenes content for feature films. His work has received awards from Scottish BAFTA New Talent, Roses Creative Awards & The Christopher Johnson Movie Viral Award. 
  • David Byrne has over 25 years experience in the TV and film industry in every role in the camera department; on feature films, TV drama, commercials, documentaries and industrial / corporate projects for BBC, ITV,  Channel 4, Sky and other non-UK channels. Previous teaching includes courses for Kodak and Technicolor staff.
  • Kieran Gosney is an editor with 8 years experience in documentary and drama. He edited the award-winning feature documentary Time Trial, as well as The Guardian and The Atlantic Selects short Crannog.
  • Gary Hall is a skilled cinematography tutor with many years of teaching experience.
We also engage a range of professional practitioners as visiting lecturers on the programme.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a one-year full-time course starting in September and is split into three trimesters. Coursework consists of a large number of practical exercises, production of short scripted drama films, lectures, workshops and seminars.

    Delivery of practical film-making skills is undertaken with an industry focus, and by academics and visiting lecturers who specialise in relevant professional practices.

  • note and pen Assessments

    Assessment is continuous throughout the year and is predominantly based upon submission of creative practical work, documentation of research and critical reflection, essay assignments, and oral presentations. Students being assessed as heads of department on the creative practice module films are expected to share production costs.  

  • library Facilities

    Students at the Screen Academy have access to a complete range of professional production and post-production equipment and industry software including Arri Alexa, Black Magic cameras, Super 16 mm; 16 Avid Media Composer suites, Avid Symphony Online and Black Magic Resolve Online, Pro-Tools, a fully equipped dubbing facility, along with Movie Magic Scheduling and Budgeting, and Final Draft.

    We are an Avid Learning Partner and have staff trained as ACIs (Avid Certified Instructor).

Modules

Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Collaborative Techniques in Film 1 ( SCA11118 )

On this module you will gain an understanding of the methods used for the hour-by-hour production management of a crew, the interaction between producer, director, camera, lighting and sound personnel, and the particular issues of working with actors on a professional set. This highly practical work will be underpinned by a series of lectures and workshops which will equip you with the ability to solve the aesthetic, practical and technical problems that the shooting of complex dramatic scenes presents.

Further information

Collaborative Techniques in Film 2 ( SCA11122 )

On this module you will be introduced to the particular collaborative problems of shooting on film, particularly with regard to focus, use of prime lenses, and tracking, and the logistical problems faced by a professional crew filming on location. This work will be underpinned by classroom based work which will help you to understand and solve the aesthetic, practical and technical problems that the shooting of complex dramatic scenes principally on film presents.

Further information

Creative Practice for Cinema ( SCA11129 )

In a series of lectures, workshops and tutorials, you will acquire the skills and prepare for advanced exercises in your chosen discipline, as well as an ambitious short fiction film project. More detailed understanding of the creative possibilities of the image and its juxtaposition will be explored. You will also have the opportunity to work with advanced professional production and post-production formats in the realisation of your projects.

Further information

Creative Practice for Film and TV ( SCA11130 )

Through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops, you will learn the technical skills and processes involved in your chosen discipline. You will acquire a grasp of the principles of storytelling through action and events, the way in which a cinematic world arises out of character and interpretation, and of the meaning of images through composition and cutting. You will prepare and undertake exercises utilising the skills being investigated to explore your own developing creative practice. These exercises include short film dramas.

Further information

Critical Film Study ( SCA11123 )

This module will help you explore some of the many possible areas you may wish to study. Depending
on your specialism, this may include performance, script, production, cinematography, production design, editing, sound, composition, or special effects. Over the course of the module you will learn how to develop your research skills and a range of research tools which will underpin and enhance your cinematographic practice.

Further information

Masters Film Project ( SCA11127 )

This module will provide you with an overview of the production and post production of a short fiction film as it applies to producing, directing, cinematography, sound or editing. You will be given tutorial support in pre-production, production and post-production stages of your projects, as appropriate. The focus of the module is determined by your own project(s) and specialism(s) as they have developed over the entire programme.

Further information

Moving Image Design ( DES11140 )

This module explores concept generation using moving image and motion graphic software, together with an appropriate understanding of script/storyboard development and production methods. You will critically and contextually analyse precedents, and use visualisation, detailing and specification to relevant industry standards in order to communicate and realise your ideas.

Further information

Script workshop 1 ( SCA11102 )

In this module, using the short film as a model, students are guided through a professional development process from idea to a polished first draft script.

In weekly workshops students follow a process which mirrors that of a professional screenwriter as they generate ideas and develop their projects producing a series of documents – premise, synopsis, outline, step outline or treatment and various drafts of a short 10 minute film script.

This written work is regularly circulated and work-shopped in small groups: If you are studying in blended form this will be achieved online, this process develops and enhances the projects, stimulates team-working and collaboration and helps develop the student’s own writing but also their story-, script-editing and inter-personal skills.

There is a research element in which students are encouraged to engage in original research (to generate material for their scripts) but also to critically appraise and assess the various types of research that a writer might undertake as part of their process.

This module encourages students to work collaboratively with other students on courses within Edinburgh Napier University, Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art, the wider Screen Academy network and, beyond that, to experience direct contact with professionals from the film, television and interactive/new media industries.
In weekly workshops students follow a process which mirrors that of a professional screenwriter as they generate ideas and develop their projects producing a series of documents - premise, synopsis, outline, step outline or treatment and various drafts of a short 10-15 minute film script.

This written work is regularly circulated and work-shopped in small groups: this process develops and enhances the projects, stimulates team-working and collaboration and helps develop the student's own writing but also their story-, script-editing and inter-personal skills.

There is a research element in which students are encouraged to engage in original research (to generate material for their scripts) but also to critically appraise and assess the various types of research that a writer might undertake as part of their process.

Occasionally, the workshop sessions are interspersed with visits from guest speakers - professional writers, producers and script developers - who will sometimes work alongside the students in set exercises or work-shops to develop specific aspects of the craft, e.g. character, dialogue or pitching. These events may occur out with the timetabled class.

This module also allows space for and encourages students to work collaboratively with other students on courses within Napier University, Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art, the wider Screen Academy network and, beyond that, to experience direct contact with professionals from the film, television and interactive/new media industries.

Further information

The Business of Screen Project Development ( SCA11101 )

The module is delivered as a series of weekly sessions combining lectures, seminars and visits from industry guests. Introductory lectures provide students with a broad contextual overview of the various institutions, structures and key personnel in the film and television industries. You will examine the make-up of the film industry in the UK and internationally and critically explore how films are financed.

In television, you will examine the make-up of the industry and the relationship between broadcasters and independent production companies.

There will be sessions on legal affairs relevant to screenwriters and producers in development, examining copyright, option and assignment agreements.

Seminars and sessions with industry guests then provide students with case studies of current industry practice across a range of key areas – screenwriting in various contexts, script editing and development, the various producer roles, the legal framework in which development takes place. These will give you insight into how the industry works and will also inform your own professional development.

The assessments for the module require a high level of independent learning and are designed to help students develop a strong sense of the various contexts for their own creative and professional development. A Market Analysis encourages strategic research into the potential markets for their own work or skillset. Students also undertake either a Case Study or a Script Development Proposal, which informs their own personal, creative and professional development.

This module may be taken as an option by MA Film students.

Further information

Writing and Screen Project Development ( SCA11100 )

A series of lectures and seminars introduce students to the language, concepts and skills commonly used in the development of projects for the screen whether in film or television, drama or documentary, or any of the various new media and interactive forms.

You will examine the key elements, skills and terminology of dramatic screenwriting (premise, pitch, character, structure, theme, visual style, genre, dialogue, etc) and review the key documents generated in the development and commissioning process (idea, concept, premise, outline, proposal, detailed proposal, treatment, first draft, revised draft, etc.).

There is a critical exploration of the role and importance of research in screen project development – research as it relates to the project content of the project (e.g documentary, adaptation, historical drama) but also research relating to the market potential of the project itself.

The module aims to develop the critical and practical abilities needed in screen project development: an understanding of the language and terminology; personal and interpersonal skills; a critical understanding of the various roles in the creative and industrial process; a sense of the market place across the various forms and formats.

Crucially, the critical, analytical and inter-personal skills required key personnel in the development process (writers, producers, script-editors, developers, and financiers) are examined and then developed and tested in a series of exercises, including the module’s major pieces of assessment – the Story Report and Script Report.

Students also develop an understanding of the various jobs, roles and career opportunities across the film, television and interactive/new media industries. Subject to available resources, students across the Screen Academy programmes may attend a series of talks and seminars given by visiting speakers as part of the Professional Practice programme, e.g. composers, editors, writers, producers, distributors, games developers, literary and casting agents, etc.

Lecture content is interwoven with seminars, workshops, screenings and exercises which encourage students to reflect on how they might practice and apply these tools, concepts and skills to their own work and live projects: this work is carried across into the more practical Script Workshop and Project Workshop modules.

This module is a core element of the MA Screenwriting programme and is offered as an option to MA Film students, encouraging the development of collaborative skills across the creative disciplines and providing an opportunity to form creative teams.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

ACCREDITED BY

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries and carries the ScreenSkills quality-mark for the purposes of indicating courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Disclaimer

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

I've learnt so much from my tutors, fellow students and guest lecturers. I'm inspired by the work we are creating and know I've made the right decision.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above in any degree subject. We look for applicants to have a background in their chosen specialism in order to be considered for the programme. Applicants are also required to submit a portfolio alongside their application. 

Please make it clear in your application which of the five specialisms you are applying for: directing, producing, cinematography, editing or location sound recording and design.

Note on Portfolio

On your application form please include links to your film portfolio. As well as applicants whose BA or BSc is in film, we are also interested in graduates from related disciplines. 

We may consider applications for producing without a portfolio provided you have a relevant background in arts administration, business or finance. We will not consider any other applications without a portfolio.

As we are recruiting in five different specialisms, the number of students we are able to take in each pathway will be limited due to the need to ensure a balance of expertise within the programme.

English Language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test. The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with 6.0 with no individual component score less than 6.0. For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

The course has been exciting, extremely challenging and has advanced my skills immensely. In terms of editing, my knowledge of technology and the art of cutting has expanded.

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2020/21 2021/22
Home/EU £6,330 tba
Overseas £14,062 tba

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

The University offers a 10% discount on MSc Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.


Careers

  • Director
  • Assistant Director
  • Producer/Production Management
  • Location Manager
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Assistant Editor
  • Location Sound Mixer
  • Sound designer
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