NFTS Scotland Certificate: Producing Your First Feature
Duration Weekly evening class for 6 months
Next intake March 2021
Application deadline 28 Jan 2021
Begin your application
What does it take to be a great producer?
We can all learn to draft a simple budget or to hire a small group of technicians, but the best producers know how to start the right projects in the right way, with a strong creative sense and commercial purpose – long before they ever get to that point in the process. The key to becoming a producer who is attractive to creative collaborators and financiers alike is an understanding of the whole process. An understanding, in short, of the market, the business – and of yourself.
All producers must have a wide range of skills, from creative and organisational intelligence to financial prowess and marketing insight. The aim of this new six-month Certificate course is to develop your skills and judgement across the entire cycle of a feature film’s life.
This course, meeting weekly (initially online due to COVID-19 restrictions with a view to face-to-face delivery in Glasgow if/when possible) in an evening class format, aims to help participants develop discover their own producing strengths by teaching technical producing skills and using real case histories.
What you will study
This course is designed to help new producers enter the world of professional filmmaking. Over 24 weeks, and across four modules, we explore the key components of development, finance, production/post-production, sales & distribution, seen from a producer’s perspective, whilst developing the individual strengths of each participant.
During the course you will develop an understanding of which projects have the potential to entice and excite audiences; hone your ability to work with writers to achieve a screenplay that can attract director, cast, finance, and distribution; develop the ability to package those creative and financial elements to an industry standard; acquire an understanding of how to run cast and crew; and learn how to manage the expectations of finance and distribution partners as you take the film through post production and delivery – all while keeping a firm grip on the sales, distribution and marketing opportunities to ensure the film can reach the widest audience possible.
The six months culminate in the presentation of a market-ready proposal for your own feature film, including an outline of the film’s talent, finance, and sales/distribution package.
Module 1 – Development
Why do you want to be a producer? How do you choose the right projects? What films work in the current marketplace? What stories are you passionate about? How do you source the best stories? How do you secure or option rights? (We work with an industry lawyer to make sure you understand how to do that contractually, to industry standard).
How do you develop those stories into saleable screenplays? How do you write effective loglines for your projects and hone your pitching skills? How do you develop your network and manage your relationships? How do you source development finance?
Module 2 – Packaging and Financing
The director’s engagement. Creating an overall proposal. Key questions to ask before proceeding. Attaching cast and working with a casting director. Sales agents – researching them and finding out who is right for a project, and why. Distributors – the cornerstone of your financing? Which companies fit which projects and what are their criteria? We explore funding sources and finance plans, working our way through the spreadsheets in order to understand and be able to construct recoupment schedules and waterfalls, and understand collection agreements and contracts.
Module 3 – Production and post-production
Closing your finance plan and achieving greenlight. Essential agreements, rights and liabilities. What are your rights and responsibilities as producer? Crewing up; scheduling and budgeting. The pre-production countdown. How to manage production and ensure a smooth-running, efficient and enjoyable shoot. Editing and maintaining the vision of the film throughout post-production. We explore the key steps in this process, including technical post, music, and deliverables.
Module 4 – Distribution, Sales and Marketing
How to execute a distribution plan across all platforms and windows. How to develop a film festival strategy. You may have a distributor on board, but how do you ensure the best marketing and PR campaign for your film? And if you don’t have a distributor or sales agent on board, how do you achieve this? Social media campaigns, artwork, awards. Managing the release, and maximising the audience. How to move on to the next film.
Carolynn Sinclair Kidd - Producer
Graduating from radio, Carolynne began her screen career as a production manager on entertainment shows for TV such as BBC Scotland’s BIG COUNTRY and Channel 4’s RIDE ON.
Her first move into producing was also her first attempt at scripted content, with the Irvine Welsh penned trilogy feature film for Film 4 THE ACID HOUSE, adapted from the book of the same name and directed by Paul McGuigan.
After the sheer terror and utter trauma of jumping into a feature film with no prior experience or knowledge, Carolynne spent the next few years making short films to learn the ropes. In this time, she made many shorts and concurrently line produced several low and micro-budget feature films. Recently she line produced visual artist Rachel Maclean’s feature length dystopian feminist sci-fi MAKE ME UP, which played at numerous festivals including London and Rotterdam, before being broadcast on BBC4 and taking over the Zabludowicz Gallery in London.
Carolynne has produced three TV drama series and several scripted singles for TV, including two series of comedy drama HIGH TIMES, which was nominated for the Golden Rose of Montreux, and won the Scottish BAFTA and The Celtic Media Award for best TV drama series.
Her role as Executive Producer with the Scottish Film Talent Network recently ended, after 6 very rewarding years. In this role, she was involved in the production of over 40 short films, and the commissioning of over 30 feature scripts. Many of the shorts played at international festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Tampere and Cork, with two of the most recent productions KINGDOM COME and THE SHIFT being invited to Venice. The first of the feature films to be supported through the SFTN development process and to make the journey into production, LIMBO, was officially selected for Cannes 2020, and premiered at Toronto Film Festival, before travelling to London and San Sebastien. It was financed by Film 4 and Screen Scotland.
With colleagues at the National Theatre of Scotland, Carolynne is currently producing a screen re-invention of the NTS play ADAM, for BBC Scotland and BBC Arts; has a comedy series in development with Channel 4; and is building up a slate of new comedy projects for the indie which she’s heading up in Scotland, CHANNEL X HOPSCOTCH. She has three feature film projects on her slate, in various stages of development.
We’re looking for people who are passionate about filmmaking and eager to pursue a career in producing. You should have a good general education, but no other specific educational requirements or producing experience are needed for this course. Application to the course is competitive.
Successful completion of this course will lead to a guaranteed interview for those who may be interested in applying to the 2-year full-time MA Course in Producing at the NFTS.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to apply
Application deadline: 28 Jan 2021
In addition to completing the online application form, applicants must submit the following:
- Please tell us about any relevant experience you may already have, if any, in theatre/film/TV. (300 words max.)
- What characteristics do you have that you think make you a good producer? (300 words max.)
- Summarise a story idea that you want to make. (300 words max.)