The course is designed to give students an industry-focused education in the business and practice of modern low budget feature film production. The collaborative nature of modern film making means that this is a course for students with aspirations as writers, directors and producers who want to develop their 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).
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.
FM7001 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 is designed to offer the cohort 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.
FM7002 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 at the end of this module 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.
FM7003 Pre-Production: 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. Industry standard software such as Final Draft and Movie Magic will be taught during this module.
FM7004 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.
FM7005 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.
Our assumption is that students taking this programme are committed to the working in the feature film industry as creative filmmakers who understand that a detailed knowledge of the film business will be central to their future success as is a strong sense of story telling. The structure and aims of the course provide a route to exploiting film assets in global markets as well as using a low budget feature to prove your skills as a long- form filmmaker.
This experience will lead some producers and directors into contracts 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 support.
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