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Production Desgin

Course Description

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

Quick Facts

- 2 Year Course
- Full-time
- Course runs Jan-Dec each year
- Next intake: January 2017
- NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students

- Study in a collaborative filmmaking environment
- Design for live action shoots
- Use traditional and digital design techniques
- Work in fully-equipped design studios
- Work on both fiction and animation films
- Have opportunities and facilities for set builds
- Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.

Visit the website https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/production-design



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 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.

All staff, permanent and visiting, are Industry practitioners and students develop close links with the film and television industry while they train.


Central to the philosophy of the course is the recognition of the production designer’s role as a key player in film & television production while embracing the Creative impact of computer generated imagery and digital design

The fundamental strategy in the first year is to provide all students on the course with an intensive foundation in language and grammar for the moving image, including computer skills. The intention is also to include some practical film and video projects and workshops to be realised on screen. The notion of independent learning and research is established, as is that of collaboration and commitment.

- Take One Painting: set build and green screen workshop with Cinematography and Digital Post Production students
- Visualisation and model-making
- Character of Place – pixillation workshop with Animation and Cinematography students
- Sci-fi and Fantasy - paper design project
- Construction budgeting
- First Year Film - design, possible set build, set dressing and location work
- CAD, Photoshop, MAYA Foundation
- Measured drawing

In the second year the 'scaffolding' or 'water wings' are removed and students, now equipped with the necessary skills, are able to undertake work of originality and individuality. The work has to be seen to be showing a progression with an increase in quality and ambition. Students must be able to generate their own briefs and identify the design challenges they pose. Since film is a ‘‘deadline’’ business, time management becomes an essential part of the learning.

- Film Architecture - paper project with a foreign setting and in a particular period
- Design for animaiton
- Final Year Film - design, possible set build, set dressing and location work
- Personal projects - negotiated subject matter and scope
- CAD workshop
- MA Dissertation

Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.


The head of the production design department is Caroline Amies (In The Name Of The Father, Ladies in Lavender, Miss Julie). Other key tutors include Moira Tait (a design background with the BBC, working with Stephen Frears, Alan Bennett and Brian Tufano), John Fenner (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Shining, Return of the Jedi), and Jamie Leonard (Mona Lisa, Lorenzo's Oil, Tom & Viv).


Production Designers Tom Conroy (Legend, Vikings, West is West, Breakfast on Pluto), Paul Kirby (Untitled Bourne Sequel, Bastille Day, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Captain Phillips), and Art Director Steven Lawrence (Jungle Book, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Paddington, The Dark Knight) studied at the NFTS.


- 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)


You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

APPLY FOR PRODUCTION DESIGN COURSE - https://nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/apply-now/?nid=1

You can apply online, or download a word document of the application form to submit via email
When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.


We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline. That said, there is no particular advantage to submitting your application very early. The important thing is that your application shows us your latest work and tell us about your most recent filmmaking experiences.

Visit the Production Desgin page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Paul Kirby

Production Designer - Captain Phillips, Bastille Day, Kingsman: The Secret Service

"The NFTS remains one of the richest seams of creative talent and ideas under one roof"

(Student Profile)

Marco Anton Restivo

Production Design Graduate. Art Director credits include: Macbeth, Legend, The Imitation Game


NFTS Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

All long term resident UK students, once they are offered a place on the MA programme, are invited to apply for an NFTS funding award. Awards may consist of either a bursary or a scholarship or a combination of both. NFTS Scholarships are donated by individuals or organisations with a direct involvement in the film, games and television industries. They often include a mentorship and an individual donor may take in interest in your work. Therefore they have an added prestige.The NFTS funding awards contribute directly to tuition fees and may be between £1,000 and £10,000. They are not re-payable by the student. They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Value of Scholarship(s)



They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Application Procedure

Students are invited to apply in both of the two years of the course. Some scholarships are intended to be for a particular specialisation, for female students, or awarded on ethnicity or according to the UK region of an applicant.

Further Information



The Toledo Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Applications are treated confidentially and are means tested. The school reserves the right to ask an applicant to provide proof of his/her financial circumstances and of possible family support. The Assistant Registrar must be notified immediately of any change in an applicant’s financial circumstances. Careful consideration is given by the Scholarship Panel with a view to responding to demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited and students are asked to estimate responsibly how much assistance they think they will need as this affects the School’s ability to accommodate students in serious need.Unfortunately, we are unable to open this scheme to EU or International students, or to students on the Diploma programmes. There are some course specific scholarship opportunities available to Diploma students. Please check the latest situation on the NFTS website course pages. There may not be enough scholarships available to allow the school to give one to all applicants. Therefore it may be necessary for you to make alternative arrangements for your tuition fees and maintenance. All students offered a place are provided with guidelines for applying for independent funding. This information is distributed during the summer. NFTS funding applications are received in September and the Scholarship Panel meets in October to decide the awards for the following year. Decisions are announced shortly afterwards.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See the website


The Toledo Scholarship is an NFTS scholarship specifically intended to enable talented newcomers from the UK’s ethnic minorities to fast-track their ambitions and join the British film industry.

Application Procedure

Application is made in the same way as all other NFTS scholarships but candidates will need to identify themselves as an UK ethnic minority candidate in order to be considered automatically.

Further Information



BAFTA Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

The BAFTA Scholarship Programme assists talented individuals in need of financial support. A BAFTA scholarship can help you afford an NFTS course in 2016 or 2017. Recipients will receive:
- Up to £10,000 to cover their course fees
- An Industry mentor
- Free access to BAFTA events around the UKUK students who have worked in the industry for at least two years may qualify for assistance from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. Students with relevant experience who have been offered a place on a course should apply direct to the CTBF. There is also an opportunity to apply early and directly for a BAFTA scholarship before your application has been completed. UK applicants should look out for the BAFTA scholarship announcement on their website.Some of the remaining UK Regional Screen Agencies offer scholarships to students from within their region. Some are arranged through the School as NFTS Scholarships, while others must be applied for direct, in competition with students at other institutions.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £10,000


Eligible courses are listed on the website.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 June 2016. You can apply to BAFTA before you are offered an NFTS place.

Further Information


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. 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.

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Recipient: National Film & Television School
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