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Develop your creative and practical skills
Develop the skills you need to succeed in filmmaking through practical experience and classes with industry professionals and experienced filmmakers.
This BA (Hons) Digital Film Production and Screen Writing degree is 75% practical and explores a range of filmmaking and screenwriting skills. You will develop your theoretical knowledge, practical skills and industry experience as you study a course driven by storytelling and on-set practice.
You will join a four-day filmmaking residential to create a film. Throughout your studies you will discover every step in the production process as you explore writing, development and pre-production including props, casting, costumes. You will experience shooting on location, post production, marketing, and opening night as you share your film.
In your academic studies you will consider real world issues such as audience needs and effective team working while you take part in production activities that mirror professional practice. You could work with actors, pitch project ideas to a panel of tutors and filmmakers, or something else.
You will be able to contribute to production-based staff research projects and multi-camera live event filming, and have the opportunity to attend the ‘Encounters’ short film festival.
On this course you will:
- Develop your filmmaking and screenwriting skills.
- Explore storytelling and narrative.
- Gain on-set practice experience.
- Learn from professional filmmakers and experienced practitioners.
- Have opportunities to contribute to production based staff research projects.
- Have the chance to take part in multi-camera live event filming.
- Be able to to attend the ‘Encounters’ short film festival.
- Complete a major project in dissertation, screenwriting, or digital film production.
As part of the Department of Creative Industries you will benefit from our industry partnerships with companies including HyperX, DXRacer, Twitch, ARRI, and AVID, and be able to access to industry standard software such as Nuke, Maya and Houdini.
Teaching and Assessment
How you will learn
This course is 75% practical to help you develop the skills you will need in your career through on-set work, placements, and experience with industry standard software.
You can expect weekly 2-3 hour workshops in most of your modules, with typical classes up to 25 students. We will encourage you to share your thinking and explore different ideas in these sessions by engaging in group discussion with your peers.
You will be assessed through a range of assignments, including:
- Project work
- Seminar discussions
What you will study
You will study a selection of core and optional modules in each year. Each module is worth a number of credits is delivered differently, depending on its content and focus of study.
This list is indicative and subject to change.
Select a year
Skills AnalysisThis module will introduce you to the wide range of crafts involved in film production. You will learn about a variety of craft roles through film screenings and lectures presented by specialists in each field, and develop awareness and insights into each craft’s distinct creative and authorial input. You will be assessed through a group presentation.
Practice ToolkitThis module is designed to provide a foundation ‘toolkit’ of practical skills to aid understanding of current creative media industries. Students will be introduced to a range of technical and procedural skills including audio, video, photography, web and digital design. These skills will develop their understanding of the processes involved in the manufacture and delivery of audio-visual presentations within the creative industries. It aims to develop transferable skills in information technology.
Digital Film OperationsThis module is designed to provide a foundation ‘toolkit’ of practical skills to aid understanding of current creative media industries. Students will be introduced to a range of technical and procedural skills including audio, video, photography, web and digital design. These skills will develop their understanding of the processes involved in the manufacture and delivery of audio-visual presentations within the creative industries. It aims to develop transferable skills in information technology.
Foundations of StoryThis module is designed to provide a foundation ‘toolkit’ of practical skills to aid understanding of current creative media industries. Students will be introduced to a range of technical and procedural skills including audio, video, photography, web and digital design. These skills will develop their understanding of the processes involved in the manufacture and delivery of audio-visual presentations within the creative industries. It aims to develop transferable skills in information technology.
Screenwriting StructureThis module explore the importance of structure during the screenwriting process. You will consider the multitude of choices when considering how to identify, control and utilise structure when writing screenplays.
Skills – Technical and OperationsThis module will introduce you to some of the specialised skills involved in drama filmmaking, building on the earlier Skills Analysis module. You will combine theoretical learning with practical and technical exercises in a series of workshops and can choose to study three film crafts from a range of options. This could include cinematography, sound, lighting, post-production, production management, script supervision, and more. You will have the opportunity to study the craftsperson by researching an assessed case study of a filmmaker from within one of your chosen filmmaking specialisms.
Script to ScreenThis module expands on your work in the Digital Film Operations and Foundations of Story modules, progressing from small production projects into collaborative engagement with a large-scale drama production and associated marketing. You will explore the link between screenwriting and the processes and practices of collaborative production. This module covers screenplay drafting, production development & planning, location filming, post production and exhibition. You will be assessed through a portfolio.
Writing the Short FilmThis module aims to develop creative skills in audio visual storytelling through an exploratory approach to the methods, processes, styles and structures involved in the writing of a short (6-7 minute) narrative film. It will concentrate mainly on conventional, rather than avant-garde, approaches. It aims to develop transferable skills in pitching.
Writing TV DramaThe module aims to introduce you to the process of creating a long form TV Drama series or serial. You will contribute to the creation of a Drama TV “Bible”, a package of materials used to inform writers, producers and directors of a show’s particular production criteria. In addition, you will explore the industrial context of such documents and how to generate story ideas and scripts for such shows.
Writing The Feature FilmThe module aims to introduce you to the process of research and development when creating a Feature Film concept for cinema release. You will explore the opportunities available to UK based writers when developing feature films ideas. The constraints and issues faced by screenwriters in this highly competitive market, and the need to be imaginative, original and distinctive in their work will also be a constant theme.
Drama CraftThis module builds on the Script to Screen module and explores the drama techniques that apply primarily to drama production. You will investigate topics including teamwork, cinematography, art direction and set construction, directing and sound design. This module will develop your awareness in audio visual technology and production health and safety. You will be assessed through continuous individual assessment and individual reflective portfolio.
Directing Actors (Optional)This module is an opportunity to explore the craft of directing actors. You will focus on the relationship and communication established between director and actor, and be expected to engage with analysis and practice. You will consider the different styles and approaches used in the forms of cinema and TV drama, and learn to apply this to your own work. You will be assessed through a portfolio. You will choose to study two modules from Directing Actors, Production Operations, and Cinematography.
Production Operations (Options)In this module you will study the roles of assistant director, production manager and film script supervisor. You will focus on one role for three weeks before moving on to the next. This module will deepen your specialist theoretical knowledge and skills in craft areas vital to successful drama filmmaking. You will be introduced to the knowledge and skills required for the pre-production phase of filmmaking and be assessed through two script breakdowns. You will choose to study two modules from Directing Actors, Production Operations, and Cinematography..
Cinematography (Optional)In this module you will expand on your work from previous modules by exploring the key concepts and practices of digital cinematography. You will define the role and responsibilities of the cinematographer within the production team and the investigate relationships between cinematic content and visual forms. You will choose to study two modules from Directing Actors, Production Operations, and Cinematography..
Short DramaThis module builds on your knowledge from the Drama Craft module and explores recent technical developments in the fast-changing landscape of the media and creative industries. You will be introduced to advanced filmmaking techniques as you adapt scripts from Writing the Short Film. You will be assessed through a journal and a 15 minute group presentation.
Production DesignThis module will give you a solid foundation to the main areas of Production Design from concept initiation to realisation. You will investigate elements of art direction, mood boards, props and make-up (including prosthetics) and explore how to decipher aspects such as design metaphor, colour scheming, and spatial awareness. This module will explain the aesthetic, narrative, and technical facets of the craft. You will be assessed through a portfolio of work.
Multi-Camera Live Events (Optional)This module will expand on your work in the Film in Performance module by exploring the use of multi-camera recording techniques and the management of various events. You will learn through a range of technical experiences and increase your knowledge of events practice as you develop transferable skills in creating material to meet the needs of clients. You will be assessed through a portfolio of work. You will choose to study two modules from Multi-Camera Live Events, Post Production, and Writing the Feature Film.
Post Production (Optional)In this module you will have the opportunity to investigate the editors’ craft in more depth. You will engage with non-linear media manipulation as an essential part of the film production process, with an emphasis on the construction of meaning. You will investigate the effect of editing on programme structure, pace, content and form, and on the relationship between sound and image in cinema. You will be assessed through a portfolio of work. You will choose to study two modules from Multi-Camera Live Events, Post Production, and Writing the Feature Film.
Creative PortfolioThis module builds on your creative work done throughout the course. You will enhance your career prospects by producing creative artefacts that align their skills with their commercial and professional objectives. It aims to develop transferable skills in balancing creative and strategic career objectives.
Final Major Project: Film or ScreenplayIn this dissertation level project you will build on your practical skills and subject knowledge from earlier in the course. You will have the opportunity to work as an autonomous writer, deepening and enhancing knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject. You are expected to work professionally to produce a script with high standards of content, presentation, and development. You will be assessed through coursework.
Advanced Cinematography (Optional)This module supports students who require a deeper knowledge of Digital Cinematography. You will cover key concepts of camera and lighting as you explore theory and practice with an emphasis on applied techniques. You will be assessed through a 3 minute live action film. You will choose three modules from Advanced Cinematography, Industry Engagement and Film Festivals, Documentary Project, and Film Composition.
Industry Engagement and Film Festivals (Optional)In this module you will learn about the dynamic and rapidly changing ways that films are consumed in the public arena. Festivals are a key element of the filmmaking market place, where films are sold by independent producers and bought by distributors, but they also offer audiences the opportunity to experience a rich variety of cinema, such as animation, shorts and documentaries. You will be encouraged to engage with the world of the film festival and the industry networking opportunities they offer. and to apply analysis to both audio-visual content and Festival management. You will be assessed with a portfolio. You will choose three modules from Advanced Cinematography, Industry Engagement and Film Festivals, Documentary Project, and Film Composition.
Documentary Project (Optional)During this module you will create a short documentary from concept to completion. You will receive guidance on pre-production including advice on narrative structure, ethical consideration, risk assessment, research techniques and scheduling. You will then train in practical production and camera skills for documenting reality and the experiences of real people. In post production you will navigate editing disciplines including modifying and refining narrative structure in the light of coverage acquired in the production phase and awareness of technical processes and standards. You will be assessed through a portfolio. You will choose three modules from Advanced Cinematography, Industry Engagement and Film Festivals, Documentary Project, and Film Composition.
Film Composition (Optional)This practical module will build on the skills and techniques you develop in the Drama Craft and Short Drama modules, introducing you to a range of advanced techniques to help you work with music and effectively collaborate with film, GTV and Games composers on your projects. You will learn how to analyse, describe and convey musical ideas, and acquire key skills to enable you to select, adapt, edit and synchronise music effectively to picture. You will be assessed through a complete edit of a short film and a written composer brief. You will choose three modules from Advanced Cinematography, Industry Engagement and Film Festivals, Documentary Project, and Film Composition.
Resilience in the FreelancerThis module introduces you to the range of skills you need to excel in modern creative and media industries. This module will prepare you for a freelance career and provide a toolkit to help you develop competencies in three key freelance-focused areas. You will be assessed through a written assignment and a written action plan. You will choose to study two modules from Creative Portfolio, Resilience in the Freelancer and Business of Production.
Business of ProductionThis technical, creative business skills module will introduce you to modes of business practise in the ever evolving film and TV industry. The module will prepare you for professional life in the creative screen industries with a focus on how to establish and run a film/TV/digital production company. You will develop a professionally focused toolkit to support your development and be assessed through continuous individual assessment and an individual reflective portfolio. You will choose to study two modules from Creative Portfolio, Resilience in the Freelancer and Business of Production.
Gain practical experience
Gaining work experience during your degree will help boost your CV and show future employers that you have experienced the industry. You will have the opportunity to to gain experience during your degree through work placements and specific placement modules.
Your work placement could be volunteering, completing on-set training with professional filmmakers, or undertaking paid filming work for external and internal clients. Recent students have crewed for award winning short drama productions, live concert filming and international conferences.
Industrial Placement Year
You could complete a one-year industry placement during your degree.
Placements years usually take place between your second and third years of study. You will spend one year working with a company in industry before returning to the University to complete your final year. This effectively extends your studies by a year. The placement will be a paid position, with pay at or above the national minimum wage.
Placement years are competitive. We will support you in finding and applying for a suitable placement, but we are unable to guarantee placements.
You may complete an international or European exchange as part of your studies. You may choose to undertake an exchange for one semester or a whole year at one of our partnership institutions.
Frequently asked questions
How do I apply?
Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.
What are UCAS tariff points?
Many qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value. The score depends on the qualification, and the grade you achieved.
How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?
Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.
When does this course start?
This course starts in September 2022.