The MA course at the NFTS provides two years in which directing students will be adding depth and understanding to their abilities whilst regularly producing work. This is an environment where they will be both challenged and supported by staff and fellow students. The tutor to student ratio is high, thus allowing the teaching to be specific to the needs of the individual director. One great advantage of having different departments within the school is not only that students gain from the practical experience of working with the other specialisations but that their thinking is informed by the various collaborative engagements that together convey an idea to the screen.
The essence of the course is the practical experience of film-making, combined with a wide-ranging series of work-shops emphasising performance, mise-en-scène and an examination of how narrative works in cinema and in television. Engagement with students of other disciplines at the NFTS is a crucial aspect of the course. The curriculum of each specialisation is designed to link with the others throughout the course, so that students work together on projects of varying scale and complexity, increasing their understanding of the various specialist roles involved in film and television programme-making. The course includes weekly sessions on film and television culture, both contemporary and historical, and opportunities to learn from the work of more established directors through masterclasses and set visits. It also involves interaction with other disciplines, ranging from visual art, literature and architecture to installation and performance art.
The Fiction department is led by Lynda Myles (The Commitments) and the senior tutor is Ian Sellar (Venus Peter, Prague). Many other leading directors teach on the programme, including, Stephen Frears (The Queen, Tamara Drew, High Fidelity), Brian Gilbert (Wilde) and Udayan Prasad (Gabriel & Me, The Yellow Handkerchief).
Directors David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, We need to talk about Kevin), Terence Davies (The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea), Michael Radford (Il Postino), Danny Cannon (Judge Dredd, Crime Scene Investigation) and Michael Caton Jones (Memphis Belle, Rob Roy) studied at the NFTS.
In the first year, Directing Fiction students take part in a series of workshops exploring all aspects of directing, acquiring a solid understanding of current practices and technology across related specialist crafts. The workshops are supported by seminars on screen language and history, as well as individual tutorial sessions; which can guide students in self-motivated research to supplement their particular learning needs. Besides the weekly Screen Arts programme of screenings and seminars, the Directing Fiction department has regular sessions of screenings, scene by scene analysis and discussion led by tutors and students.
The Directing Fiction department workshops focus on isolating and building on skills used in collaboration with other departments. Each series of workshops culminates in a practical production exercise. Production experience is considered essential because the ability to maintain clarity of ideas and their expression within the conflicting demands of script, cast, crew and practical parameters – it is the test of the learning that has come before.
The first year work is aimed not only at developing skills, but at exposing weak areas of understanding and concept. In the final term of the first year, the directors collaborate with a team to make the First Year Film. This is a project which, apart from temporal and budgetary restrictions, gives the students considerable freedom and which encourages them to take responsibility for their work. During the first year, the student will have begun work on developing second year projects and their dissertation.
The second year of the Directing Fiction course provides more of an opportunity for the self- motivated student to develop his or her own voice through two different types of production experience. The dissertation allows for examining a particular area in depth and should be complementing and informing further work. Longer form storytelling is developed through the digital production. The primary collaboration on this production is focused on director/cinematographer/actor.
Short form storytelling and collaboration with a larger crew is developed through a film production called The Summer Fiction. Both it and the Digital Film are heavily supported by individual tutorials.
The productions also include scheduled workshops/seminars/tutorial support for casting, rehearsals, shot planning, set procedures and working with the A.D., as well as intensive and continuous viewings and critiques of rushes and edits. Editing, Sound and Music tutors also provide tutorials during post-production.
Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.
- Unique specialist course
- Students of all key film-making disciplines work together on productions
- Purpose-built film and television studios
- Industry standard post- production facilities
- The MA Course in Directing Fiction is supported by the David Lean Foundation
- Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.