Masters degrees in Film Directing offer advanced training in the skills to manage the logistics of film production, including management of staff and equipment.
Taught MA and MFA courses are typical for this subject, though research oriented MRes and MPhil programmes may be available at some institutions. Entry requirements normally include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Film Studies.
Courses in this field provide you with a deep understanding of the significant role a director has in relation to other crew members on a given production. Through applied practise, you will develop your skills and technical abilities, advancing your knowledge in the operations and logistics of Film Directing.
Adaptation and collaboration are key components of these courses. You will work with a range of writers, producer, actors, designers and technicians on project for various kinds of film. This could include science and natural history documentaries, feature films, television commercials and television programmes, and even journalism.
Your expertise will cover a range skills, and will therefore make you suitable for other careers such as cinematography, stage management, set management and exhibition curation.
This programme takes a project-led, practice-based approach to studying for an MA in Film Directing (Documentary) which integrates practical film making with analysis of contemporary film practice. Students choose to make a creative documentary or a non -fiction film which defies genre definition and pushes the boundaries of narrative. We develop these through workshops and tutorials. Our students work within an integrated framework that helps them question the form of their films and enables them to find the right language for their storytelling.
The programme encourages ways of working as a film community that foster the important exchange of ideas, with inspiration from international visiting film makers through Scottish Documentary Institute and support from our team of documentary practicioners. All tutors are top professionals currently working within the industry as directors, producers, editors, cinematographers or sound designers. A newly built Avid edit teaching space, and a new screening space helps us encourage a fresh approach to emerging technologies.
Graduate films do well internationally regularly winning BAFTAs, RTS Awards and awards at international festivals. Over the last five years students have received an Oscar nomination for an MA film made here and an Oscar shortlist for a film made by a recent graduate. We work closely with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the University’s internationally-acclaimed research centre in documentary film making.
The aim of the Film Directing programmes at ECA is to:
This programme is project-led and delivered through workshops and regular individual tutorials. It integrates practical studio work with theoretical and written studies from the Screen cultures course (see separate description) which is run independently from the Film Department.
The first semester, Design Studio is organised round a series of micro-films which lead to a growing awareness of film language and enhancement of technical skills to creatively support filmic vision. Cinematography and sound workshops are delivered by visiting lecturers. Directorial voice is built up also through tutorials in which an idea for a graduating film is developed and evolved. Awareness of current international documentary practice is built through regular seminars and screenings, collaborations with Film Festivals such as Take One Action and also supported by Scottish Documentary Institute. This is also to inspire students to push boundaries in their approach to narrative structure and visual language and not to get locked in conventional approaches. We want to encourage bold work that takes risks. At the end of the first semester all students pitch their films using a trailer or short excerpt from their research material. They also develop a treatment with feedback from tutorials.
Semester two is spent preparing and shooting the graduate film and is backed up with edit tutorials as well as project support from weekly meetings with a tutor. Students also receive seminars in production process including contracts.
Semester three is when the film is edited and finished with input from group crits, tutorials. Students also attend or often volunteer with Edinburgh Film Festival and the Edinburgh Pitch in order to observe and engage with key players from the international documentary world through hearing feedback from commissioning editors.
Alongside the ECA learning structure, students also have a pool of potential collaborators from Screen Academy Napier including the possibility of working with cinematographers, editors and producers.
Our students go on to a wide range of roles, including producer, director, writer, production or location manager, researcher, editor, assistant director, cinematographer, or journalist. Graduates have found work directing for the BBC and making work internationally for top broadcasters and film funds. Related fields include advertising, community films, academia or film development agencies.
MA/MFA Film Directing has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry. Screen Academy Scotland is one of only 3 Screen Academies in the UK along with National Film School and London Film School.
This postgraduate course prepares you for work in film and television and related fields by bringing together the key artistic disciplines and skills needed to make high quality filmed drama. You will explore in detail Stanilavisky's unique scene study methodology which lies at the heart of Drama Centre’s conservatoire training. From storyboard to working on the subtext with the actors on set you will be enabled to develop your own distinct artistic voice.
At the heart of MA Screen: Directing is the growth of individual creativity, achieved through constant opportunities for working on camera-based projects with colleagues from other pathways. You will work on two filmed productions, in our film studio and on location. Supported by a professional producer, director of photography and editor. You will take an active part in a Mike Leigh type devising project where you will help shape the story's stimulated by the characters that the actors develop over nine weeks of intense rehearsal. You will understand the rhythm of a working film set and develop the confidence to use your own voice on future projects, confident in the knowledge that you know how to work creatively with actors. You will be given in depth preparation for the profession including interview technics and wide range of lectures from visiting professionals, such as agents, casting directors, working producers and directors.
MA Screen: Directing lasts 45 weeks over 12 months and is structured as units - class-based to begin with, but increasingly project-geared over time. This postgraduate course is intensive. You'll be expected to commit 35 hours per week to classes, rehearsals and shoots, and to your own independent preparation and learning.
Students who come to MA Screen: Directing expect a focused experience with a high level of autonomous learning. The MA course's practical elements contribute to the intensity of the experience, sharpening your professional ability to deliver on time, on budget and at an appropriate level.
MA Screen: Directing has a small intake. It collaborates closely with MA Screen: Acting to give you a broader understanding of the needs of the actor. Because we believe empathy with acting and actors is an integral part of directing, the early part of the MA course in particular engages with the discipline of acting.
Traditionally, screen director training fails to address the challenges of working with performers. Our Directing Pathway confronts that challenge while developing your individual approach and creative voice. The pathway features a programme of acting skills, an extended programme of directing skills, two filmed drama projects, a devised project, and an extended programme of professional preparation.
The MA course culminates in a series of short film projects produced in collaboration with the student actors. Projects are screened for an invited industry audience that includes agents and casting directors
The Director is central to the creative process in media production and this course has been designed to build and develop your knowledge of the industry, enabling you to step up to the challenge of delivering winning productions. This hands-on course provides many opportunities for practical production across platforms and genres. It will enhance your storytelling skills and build your technical understanding of film, television and transmedia production, developing advanced skills as a director in line with current industry practice.
The Faculty of Media & Communication encourage dynamic collaborations between students across courses. Working with the producing, scriptwriting, cinematography, sound and editing students you will create a showcase of your skills as a visual, creative storyteller. Many of these collaborations have continued beyond the course as students set up their own production companies. This comprehensive course will equip you with the skills to understand and manage the entire production process, from effective planning and pre-visualisation to overseeing creative post-production work alongside our editing students.
Under the guidance of experienced media professionals, you will develop your own directorial flair and style, and will gain a sound theoretical grounding of the social, cultural and intellectual context for media production work. The final production project will allow you to use the technical and directorial skills you have developed to mastermind your own portfolio of work in collaboration with other students within The Faculty of Media & Communication. As an alternative, you can choose a research-based option to undertake a detailed study of an aspect of directing.
You may have an undergraduate qualification in a related subject or may be able to show your suitability for this programme of study through associated work-experience or evidence of and outputs from other related activities.