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MA Feature Filmmaking

Course Description


The course teaches you how modern filmmakers make feature length projects and offers practical experience of making such projects. We cannot guarantee that your project will get made and your success in academic terms will not depend upon you having completed a feature (although we are confident that many students will achieve this).

All students will graduate with a wealth of professional contacts, a stunning showreel, a fully developed feature film project and the knowledge and contacts for how to get ahead in the film business.

The aim is that at the end of the MA in Feature Filmmaking you will have received a through education in the needs and techniques of the micro -budget film business and have the skills to be able to negotiate favourable terms for your current (and future) feature projects to be distributed.


This MA is taught in an executive format of intensive workshops and seminars. You will be based at Bath Spa premises in Bristol and at the University’s Corsham Court Centre in Wiltshire. These offer studio facilities and the latest editing software, lights and video cameras including Sony F3 and Canon DSLR 5D and 7D, together with first class tutorial and lecture rooms.

You should expect to work 12-14 hour days for six days a week when filming and editing. It is expected that most productions will involve 4-6 weeks for principal photography. The projects will then go into a period of editing of 10-12 weeks to arrive at a version of the film that is suitable for screening to distributors and agencies to seek further completion funding.


Workshop modules: These are practical and creative filmmaking workshops, which will give students the techniques for feature film production for low budget film production. In workshop modules students will be taught by BSU academic staff, with experience in documentary or drama production, and/or by industry professionals.

Context modules: Context modules are offered in the belief that filmmakers will only reap the rewards of their creative skills if they have an adequate understanding of the industry, the financial and legal frameworks and the operation of these systems. These are not modules that would be covered in an MA in Film Studies as they relate entirely to the business functions of the industry although you will investigate the power and dominance of the Hollywood studio system and its impact on narrative, for example. However you will then apply this knowledge to alternative funding models and tax regimes that European countries have adopted to combat Hollywood’s dominance.

Feature development workshops: There will be two script/development workshops and up to 4 hours 1.1 mentoring during this period. Students on the part-time route will have the opportunity to collaborate on productions being filmed by full-time students during this period.

Practicum: This double module is where theory and practice come together in the production and postproduction of a feature length project.

• FM7001 From Script to Screen – low budget production techniques (Workshop): This module will introduce and explore practical and creative techniques, approaches and strategies of low budget feature documentary and fiction production. This gives an over view where key skills are developed building on students’ previous knowledge. Each student will refine their personal project during this module by learning advanced editorial, scripting, stylistic approaches to feature film production.
• FM7002 From Pitch to Production - the international film business (Context): To compete in the global film business low budget practitioners will be required to understand the historical development business systems, procedures and models that influence the contemporary global film business. This model will allow filmmakers to understand how and why the Hollywood model still dominates feature film production.
• FM7003 Planning for Success – pre-production (Workshop): This module builds on the first two modules to give students the ability to further develop/rework/alter their main project in the light of the insights into low budget cinema techniques and how the international film business operates.
• FM7004 Finding an Audience – distribution techniques (Context): This module will give the students a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of contemporary marketing theory and practice as applied to film. The module will introduce traditional marketing theories and strategies on marketing communications, consumer behaviour, direct marketing and customer relationship marketing. It will then update these approaches with a focus on digital marketing techniques that use social networks to build networks of advocates prior to release that can produce a marketing momentum that allows low budget films to compete against Hollywood’s blockbuster marketing clout.
• FM7005 Production & Postproduction (Practicum): This module is the culmination of the previous four modules. In this 16 week module students will turn their projects into a feature length production, building on the insights they have learnt over the course. The projects will normally need to be completed to an ‘off-line’ standard with a stereo mix.


Students will be assessed through continuous assessment. Assessment tasks will be varied , including group presentations, script development evaluations, industry reports, production folders, marketing reports and feature film project.
Your final mark for the production module will reflect the quality of the final submission and amount of input you have put into the combined project either as a producer or director. Your tutors will evaluate your creative and physical input to the project and your course based on your journals, tutorials, other students’ submissions and any other submissions. In this sense a well-produced project can be awarded a distinction to the producer even if the director achieves a pass for his or her work.

Visit the MA Feature Filmmaking page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants to the twelve month programme must have a script or treatment, which in the opinion of Bath Spa is at pre-production at the point of interview. If the script or treatment requires any significant extra work, or an extended filming schedule, you will be offered a place on the 24 month version of the course. It is your responsibility to work with the development manager to develop the project so it can be approved for production.

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