Masters

Overview

The production designer plays a vital role in creating real or imagined worlds on the screen. This course develops individual creativity and teaches technical skills essential for a career in film and television.

“The NFTS remains one of the richest seams of creative talent and ideas under one roof.” Paul Kirby, production designer on Captain Phillips, Bastille Day and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The NFTS Production Design department is a fully equipped design studio, with students designing for live action shoots, using traditional and digital design techniques. They will collaborate with those in other specialisms to make several films and practical projects  – with all production costs met by the School.

All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Rick Carter (Star Wars - The Force Awakens).

​This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Recent credits and successes

Graduate Max Berman's credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Wonder Woman and Game of Thrones

Graduate Stephen Swain's credits include Solo: A Star Wars Story, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Harry Potter series 

NFTS Production Design MA alumni are working across a multitude of genres from superhero blockbusters movies like Avengers: Endgame to historical dramas like Mary Queen of Scots, comedies such as Fighting with My Family, animation such as Disney’s Dumbo and smash hit TV Series like Killing Eve and Chernobyl. Full story here.

Yasmin Al-Naib graduated from the NFTS Production Design MA in 2010 and is now working as a set decorator on Hollywood films including Robert Zemekis’ forthcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches which stars Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci. Read her story here.

What you will study

Uniquely in the UK, our MA Production Design students study alongside students of other filmmaking disciplines, engaging in a series of productions where working methods replicate professional practice.

The advent of digital technology has brought in new design tools and ways of working and this course promotes a lively interface between old and new methods. 3D and 2D computer techniques and Concept Art are taught alongside traditional skills such as set sketching, orthographic draughting, design geometry and model-making.

The course offers the opportunity to specialise in Concept Art, particularly in the second year. Design students apply their skills to live action and animation films, television programmes, games and commercials, in the studio and on location, using built sets and green screen. Relevant business and management skills are also taught, equipping students to manage a small art department, its budget, personnel and logistical schedules, studio procedures and set decorating. Studio visits and placements familiarise students with a working art department and inspire them with actual film sets.

 

Download programme specification (PDF)

Download course outline (PDF)


Head of Department

The Head of the Production Design is Caroline Amies (In The Name of The FatherLadies in Lavender, Land Girls).

Current or Recent Tutors

Senior tutor is Moira Tait (design credits range widely across film and TV, and she has led and taught in major institutions across Europe).

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £14,800 per year (for January 2021 intake)

Overseas £31,000 per year (for January 2021 intake)

We also welcome EU/EEA students on the same rate as our UK students – and those enrolling onto a two-year MA in January 2021 will continue to pay home fees for the second year of their MA. 

The NFTS has £900,000 of scholarships and bursaries available.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £60 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. 

Production costs are included in the course fees, including the use of School facilities and equipment. Students are expected to provide their own laptops and to pay for their travel for occasional off-campus events and, if required, for specialised materials and drawing equipment.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK.

At the NFTS you will get far more time learning directly from tutors, in real production facilities and on real projects, than in the vast majority of film schools or universities – and we won’t charge you extra for the cost of productions or materials. The specialist nature of our courses mean that our students gain the relevant skills and experience they need to go straight into the industry.

Showcase

Every year, our students make a number of short films.

Entry requirements

Production Design students come from a wide variety of visual backgrounds, including theatre, architecture, illustration, fine art, digital design, interior design and 3D design. Your portfolio submission must demonstrate a strong visual imagination, an aptitude for spatial and 3D design, an awareness of architecture and design for the moving image and exhibit a personal visual language. Please refer to our guidance notes here for more information.

Experience of film/TV work is not essential but a willingness to work collaboratively and an ability to motivate and lead a team are essential.

While many applicants will have a degree from a British or overseas university, we will consider applicants who do not have a degree if they have an impressive portfolio, a creative track record or an alternative qualification.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page. 

If you have any questions, please email info@nfts.co.uk.

How to apply

Application deadline: Contact Registry

 

Applicants should apply with the following:

  • A comprehensive portfolio of work which demonstrates an aptitude for spatial and 3D design, awareness of architecture, design for the moving image and a personal visual language. Please submit a hard copy portfolio, which can be A4, A3, A2, A1. If you have any questions regarding the content, format or amount of work to submit, please contact the Production Design department at the NFTS or Registry.
  • CAD work – printouts (optional extra submission)

Your portfolio should be posted to the NFTS Beaconsfield, for the attention of the Registry Department. It should arrive by the application deadline. 

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