Feature Filmmaking

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How to Apply

An industry-focused education in the low-budget feature filmmaking for documentary or fiction.

  • A unique chance to make a feature film as part of a Master’s degree.
  • Taught by active industry professionals with feature film experience.
  • Learn about traditional and emerging routes to distributing your film.

“Doing the MA in Feature Filmmaking at Bath Spa University gave me the right tools to kickstart my professional career in filmmaking with the constant support of my tutor, lecturers from the university, plus very well chosen industry mentors."
– Gustavo Contreras, Feature Filmmaking graduate

Why study Feature Filmmaking?

This Feature Filmmaking course will give you an industry-focused education in the business and practice of modern, low budget feature film production.

Modern filmmaking is collaborative; we’ve tailored the course for aspiring writers, directors and producers. We’ll help you develop your skills for a career working on feature length documentaries or fiction.

The course is taught by several of the team behind award winning feature film 'Sixteen' including Writer/Director, Rob Brown (Course Leader).

Course structure

We teach you how modern filmmakers make feature length projects, while offering you practical experience of trying to make them yourself.

You should graduate with:

  • a range of professional contacts;
  • a showreel;
  • a fully developed feature film project; and
  • the knowledge to get ahead in the film business.

We cannot guarantee that your feature film project will get made, although we are confident that many students will achieve this. Your success in academic terms will not depend on your project’s completion.

This is an industry facing course; you’ll build and develop your creative and associated business skills. We believe filmmakers need a clear understanding of business and financial issues to achieve their full creative potential.

Modules

  • Development
    This module will introduce and explore practical and creative approaches to low budget feature production. It gives an overview of the issues and challenges, and develops key skills. Each student will refine their project during this module by learning and applying various strategies and techniques of feature film production. This module will offer you a clear and imaginative approach to low budget filmmaking, including writing low budget and script development as well as introductions to budgeting/ scheduling, casting and low budget film financing.
  • Finance
    To compete in the global film business low budget practitioners must understand the historical development of business systems, procedures and models that influence the contemporary global film business. This module will also include contemporary analysis of the film funding policies and structures of European nations as well as distribution strategies and mechanisms. Students will be able to navigate the different systems for both low budget, commercial and cultural film production so that they are able to understand and adapt to the future demands and needs of the industry.
  • Pre-Production
    This module gives 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. Industry standard software such as Final Draft and Movie Magic will be taught during this module.
  • Audience
    The British Film Institute has identified distribution and marketing (the process of finding audiences) as the key issues for UK feature films. It is these areas that determine whether they will make a return on investment. This module will give students a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of contemporary marketing as applied to film. The module will introduce traditional marketing theories and strategies regarding communications, consumer behaviour, direct and customer relations marketing. It will then update these approaches with a focus on digital marketing techniques. Crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter will be explored, enabling filmmakers to engage with audiences while the film is yet to be made.
  • Production
    In this module students will turn greenlit 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. It is expected that most productions will involve a maximum 18 days 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. Students whose projects were not greenlit must continue to develop their project by working on their script, shooting a trailer and casting actors, whilst also developing their skills by working on a greenlit project.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, including scriptwriting, production folders, audience building strategies and a feature film project.

You’ll need to demonstrate, through coursework, a detailed understanding of how micro budget features are made. You’ll also submit a portfolio of project work that shows a creative mastery which matches your grasp of the film business. Your final mark for the feature component of the assessment will depend on the creativity of your work, your commitment to the project and demonstrated ability in your role.

Artswork Media

This Master’s degree in Feature Filmmaking is hosted by Artswork Media, Bath Spa University’s media production business that offers experiential learning opportunities and professional development.

Work placements, industry links and internships

Previous visiting lecturers have included:

  • Producer Elizabeth Carlsen (Carol, Palm D’Or nominee 2015)
  • Producer Rebecca O’Brien (Sweet Sixteen, The Wind That Shakes The Barley)
  • BAFTA and Sundance prize winning documentary director Kim Longinotto (Dreamcatcher)
  • Producer Michelle Eastwood (In Our Name, BAFTA winning short film Hesitation)
  • Writer/Director Brian Welsh (In Our Name, Black Mirror, Mayday, The Escape Artist)
  • Film London Senior Executive and Producer Olivier Kaempfer (Appropriate Behaviour, Borrowed Time)
  • Producer Farah Abushwesha (Founder of BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum, author of Rocliffe Notes)

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught through a combination of intensive workshops and seminars. You’ll build on the your previous filmmaking experience and current professional practice.

Application method

Application forms are available online and should be completed and returned to us either electronically or through the post. If you have any queries please contact the admissions department:

Telephone: (01225) 875624.

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For all enquiries about the course, please contact Rob Brown, Course Leader of MA Feature Filmmaking.

Telephone: (0)117 971 9292

Entry requirements

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

Career opportunities

We assume you’re committed to working in the film industry as a creative filmmaker. Through this course, you’ll use low budget feature film to prove your skills as a long form filmmaker.

This experience may lead some producers and directors into work on other films, TV drama or drama documentaries. Producers will build up a series of skills, contacts, and experience that will allow them to develop subsequent projects with greater industry support.

Other students may wish to pursue academic work as lecturers or practitioners. Another potential career route open to graduates will be to use their subsequent project as part of a creative PhD at Bath Spa. Other careers can involve working with arts organisations like the BFI, Creative England or regional screen agencies such as Film London.

What students say...

"The course has many opportunities for learning practical skills in creative and technical disciplines which attracted me to the course. I'm enjoying it very much so far and looking forward to continuing to expand my knowledge in film production" (Feng Qian)

"Personally, I learn by doing and have previously found that writing essays doesn't give me long term knowledge on the subject so I welcome the focus on scriptwriting, honing our pitching skills and creating industry standard production folders" (Gabby Hawes)

“The MA has allowed me to travel to Sheffield Doc Fest with my project and be mentored by industry professionals including BAFTA winning director Kim Longinotto” (Gustavo Contreras)