Producing Your First Feature
Duration Weekly evening class for 6 months
Next intake January 2019
Application deadline Contact Registry
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 in central London 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.
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.
How to apply
Application deadline: Contact Registry
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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.)