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Develop as a producer/director of factual programmes and extend your creative skills and technical knowledge. With talks by industry professionals, and access to a broad range of equipment, you’ll create a portfolio of work that will help you stand out from the crowd.
- Study with award-winning lecturers and film and television professionals who have worked with the BBC, Discovery, Channel 4 and Channel 5, among others.
- Show your work to industry professionals at our end-of-course degree show.
- Receive ongoing dedicated support to find placements and work experience.
- Make the most of Cambridge with its annual Film Festival and both arts and mainstream cinemas
No matter what experience you have of filmmaking, our course will develop your knowledge of factual UK TV and digital media content production, and your creative skills, to an advanced level. Along the way, you’ll make seven films of different lengths and write a dissertation on a media subject that excites and interests you.
Focusing on two key roles, the director and the producer (which in current factual programming are merged into one), you’ll explore the dynamics of this ever-changing industry, and what it takes to succeed. You’ll learn to become a visual storyteller, a communicator, a collaborator, a motivator and a problem solver. You’ll also develop skills in scheduling, production managing, budgeting and marketing programmes. Although the emphasis is on factual programming, there is scope and flexibility to develop more creative films.
With specialist technical workshops on camera operation, sound, lighting and editing, you’ll develop professional skills in screen-based production. This will be supported by tutorials, diary work, and independent research, giving you a strong critical and contextual grounding for your practical work.
You’ll be encouraged to collaborate with other students on this course and others, becoming a flexible media professional who can produce and deliver high-quality video content for many different clients.
All our teaching staff have backgrounds in the film and television industries, and they’re supported by industry specialists and visiting lecturers.
Our course will prepare you for a career in TV or in the broader media, and help you to decide which areas of the industry attract you the most. Although the emphasis is on directing and producing, you might choose to move into cinematography, production management or even television programme sales once you graduate. You might also develop a particular interest in observational documentary, natural history films or science programming, and decide to follow a career in these fields.
Here at Cambridge School of Art, you’ll gain specialist skills that will be useful for traditional, experimental and creative documentary making, or films for education, training, public relations, current affairs, marketing and campaigning. Our course will prepare you to forge a portfolio or freelance career, and give you the ability to make high-quality content for broadcast, web, film festivals or cinema.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Film and Television Research and ContextOn this module you will explore the relationship between research and filmmaking, including key methods of research in filmmaking, both academic and industrial. These methods will include: research methodologies and techniques (how to ask productive research questions; where to go and how to find materials relevant to your studies); identification and research of a suitable subject for a film; an understanding of context in the media world textual analysis of form and style in a variety of factual films and TV programmes; critical analysis of the arguments offered by a range of texts. As a focus around which to organize the development of your skills, you will also analyse the work and methods of several well-known factual filmmakers. Alongside the lectures, you will make two versions of a film that explores a subject of your choosing. You will be encouraged to experiment and push yourself beyond your usual practice. Your filmmaking will be a journey of self-discovery and reflection. For the research design process, you will write a pitch, identify key research milestones, deliver one version of the film and evaluate it, before producing a final version. Group critiques and peer reviews will allow you to discuss the ongoing progress of your projects. You will be assessed by a portfolio of work including a written pitch, a developmental workbook, both versions of the film and a written reflective commentary (2,000 – 2,500 words).
Visual StorytellingThis module will help you better understand visual storytelling and develop skills essential to successful contemporary factual programming. You will employ documentary and film language to write programme treatments and storyboard ideas, culminating in pitches. You will also explore basic technical skills, enhanced through additional workshops and masterclasses, to facilitate practical film making. You will make two short productions (under ten minutes), learning to effectively plan and prepare, find and develop ideas, and ultimately film subjects and locations. You’ll operate as an individual practitioner to develop directorial experience, technical filming skills and to carry out the post production process. You’ll learn to reconcile a number of potentially conflicting pragmatic and conceptual issues. Formative assessment will include collective film reviews, peer assessment, pitching sessions and tutorials. Summative assessment will be formed of 2 films, accompanying paperwork and a reflective commentary; and submission of a record of budget and schedule for a programme series.
Understanding the AudienceThis practical and theoretical module will introduce you to the critical role of the audience in the conception and design of factual programming. You’ll develop and apply an understanding of the ways in which knowledge of specified audiences influences programme content and style. You’ll explore qualitative and quantitative audience research, and examine audience antecedents. You’ll also analyse the different ways in which audiences watch programmes and how the programmes in turn affect the viewers, the audience being understood to be one of the principal variables at the root of programme making. Scheduling will be used as a key to understanding how the television industry works and current developments in viewing habits will also be assessed. You will explore successful models of programming and work towards an analysis of the ways in which the content, narrative structure and creative elements of such programmes achieve their address. In teams you will pitch for and produce two programmes in accordance with two briefs: first in the TV studio and then on location. Your summative assessment will comprise: (i) the production of your two programmes and your reflective commentary of the process; (ii) an essay comparing two factual television programmes in terms of the nature of their intended audience, the intended effects of the programmes on that audience and the ways in which aspects of the programmes’ design achieve their address.
Master’s Dissertation Art and DesignThis module forms the major written element of the MA programme. On it, you will be invited to choose a topic related to your area of study, as the basis for a research essay of up to 6,000 words. The essay should demonstrate an awareness of current critical debate in the subject, through appropriate reference to relevant examples both from visual practice and critical writing. Your subjects may be thematic and issue-based, or may focus upon the critical analysis of a particular body of work. It is expected that you will use the module to investigate the use of critical writing as an aspect of your own creative development, by investigating issues and preoccupations for which you feel a particular affinity or concern, and that you will use the dissertation as an instrument of enquiry into the debates, conventions and values which define your own field of practice. In group tutorials you will explore the use of different modes of critical method and conventions of art and design research, and the production of critical writing as an aspect of an individual’s creative and professional practice.
Master’s Project: Art and DesignThe Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, giving you the opportunity to develop and resolve a major area of enquiry. This is a self-directed visual project negotiated with the staff team and peers. You’ll need to negotiate, manage, co-ordinate and bring to successful conclusion a complex, practice-based project within your field of art, media or design. You’ll start by formally presenting your research proposal to staff and peers, and will be expected to build on your previous modules to identify a complex area for investigation and enquiry, as well as research methods appropriate to the project. Following negotiation with staff, peers and, where appropriate, outside agencies, you’ll then submit a written research proposal. Your project may involve external engagement alongside a personal exploration of themes and concepts in your specialist field. You’ll need to show your ability to innovate, think strategically and be sensitive to changing cultural and social climates. You’ll be assessed by portfolio (a body of work comprising a written project proposal, and developmental and final visual work) and a 1200-word reflective commentary. This commentary will specifically outline the methodological and ethical considerations relevant to your portfolio work, and evaluate your final visual work.
You’ll demonstrate your learning, and ensure you’re developing the knowledge and skills to complete the course, through:
- producing and directing films of different lengths and styles
- working in a team on a TV studio production
- written production analyses and reflective commentaries
- filming schedules and budgets
- film pitches
- your final Masters Project: this film is your ‚calling card’ for the industry
Your assignments are usually submitted at the end of each term. You’ll also be assessed informally and given feedback during the term to help you achieve to the highest level. Feedback could be on a film, a presentation or group participation; it will be given by your tutor and your fellow students.