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Producing Film and Television (MA)

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Course overview

From start to finish, producers are the driving force behind the film and television industry; they generate new projects and ideas, secure finance, manage production and strategically market the project. The producer’s role has been transformed by the advent of globalization, digital technology and the multi-channel environment. 

This course offers aspiring producers an opportunity to acquire the creative entrepreneurial skills required to enter a rapidly changing film and television universe. The course concentrates on developing creative, managerial, financial and legal capabilities for a successful career in production. 

This Master’s degree reflects the global nature of the contemporary media marketplace but its main focus is UK film and television fiction, rather than factual production. It is targeted at those who want to follow a career path as producers, rather than as directors.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Arts
Duration 1 year full-time
Department and Faculty Media Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Partner institution(s) --
Course director

Gillian Gordon

gillian.gordonrhul.ac.uk|

+44(0)1784 443734

Contact for more information Angela Godden
Angela.Goddenrhul.ac.uk
|+44(0)1784 414629

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding| pages for the latest information about tuition fees| and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for this course for 2013 entry

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online|.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days| pages.

 

Entry requirements

Typical offers

Typical offers
First degree

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

Alternative entry requirements

Students with relevant professional or creative experience in the media will be considered.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with 7 in writing, TOEFL (iBT) 88 with 26 in writing, or equivalent, for non-native English speaking applicants.

This course is very popular and therefore highly selective; we are looking for students who have demonstrated their commitment to the area of producing film and television.

Students from overseas should visit the International| pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway International offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 

Additional requirements:

  • Personal references are required and will be followed up.
  • Applicants may be asked to submit an original essay and/or an example of previous academic writing in English.
  • Selected applicants will be interviewed to establish their suitability for the course. For applicants who are unable to attend, such as overseas students, the interview will be conducted by telephone.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • a high level of motivation, and the right mix of abilities for future professional success
  • a high level of English to handle the creative, financial and legal aspects of the course material. 

Why choose this course?

  • The course benefits enormously from close links with the film and television industry. Tony Garnett (producer of Cathy Come Home and This Life), whose company World Productions has built up a reputation for challenging and innovative drama, was a guiding force in designing the course and has played a great part in the course's success.
  • Professor Jonathan Powell (former Controller of BBC 1, Head of Drama for the BBC and Controller of Drama at Carlton TV), one of this country's most respected and experienced drama producers, now delivers the 'Role of the Producer' and ‘Script Development’ lectures as well as providing you with support and advice.
  • You will normally undertake a full-time internship in a production company. In most cases this internship lasts about four weeks. You will be offered guidance and assistance in an effort to obtain industry internships.
  • Students who have graduated from the course are working successfully in independent television and film production, for broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV, and for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.
  • Regular networking events are arranged where former alumni can make contact with each other and with the current group of students.

Department research and industry highlights

  • TRENT is an exciting and innovative collaborative project between the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) and Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Led by John Ellis the project brings together the nine existing online databases hosted and curated by the BUFVC which provide important film, radio and television material along with accompanying metadata and contextual information for academics, students, teachers and researchers. This project brings together all the material contained in these databases, yet Trent is not simply a master database. Instead it foregrounds creative searching through a common interactive interface using real-time ‘intelligent’ filtering to bringing disparate databases into a single search and discovery environment whilst maintaining the integrity and individual provenance of each.
  • The EUscreen project is major funded EU project which aims to digitise and provide access to European’s audio-visual heritage. This innovative and ambitious three year project began in October 2009 and the project consortium is made up of 28 partners from 19 European countries and is a best practice network within the eContentplus programme of the European Commission. The Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway’s is responsible for the content selection policy for EUscreen and those involved include John Ellis, Rob Turnock and Sian Barber.
  • Video Active is a major EU-funded project aiming to create access to digitised television programme content from archives around Europe. It involves collaboration between the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway and Utrecht University, and eleven European archives including the BBC, to provide access to content and supporting contextual materials via a specially designed web portal. The team from the Department of Media Arts, who are John Ellis, Cathy Johnson and Rob Turnock, are responsible for developing content selection strategy and policy for the project.
  • Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe is an AHRC-funded international Research Network, led by Daniela Berghahn, which brings together researchers from ten UK and European universities, filmmakers, policy makers and representatives from the cultural sector. The Research Network explores how the films of migrant and diasporic filmmakers have redefined our understanding of European identity as constructed and narrated in European cinema. The project seeks to identify the numerous ways in which multi-cultural and multi-ethnic presences and themes have revitalised contemporary European cinema by introducing an eclectic mix of non-Western traditions and new genres.
  • Lina Khatib was awarded an AHRC Research Leave Grant to complete a book on the representation of Lebanese politics and society in Lebanese cinema over the last thirty years. The study focuses on cinema’s relationship with national identity in the context of the Civil War and the post-war period in Lebanon.
  • Gideon Koppel was awarded an AHRC Research Leave Grant to complete his feature-length documentary portrait of a rural community in Wales, The Library Van, which has been partly funded by the Arts Council of Wales.

Course content and structure

You will study six core units and complete a dissertation.

Core course units:

The Role of the Producer
This series of seminars provides an overview and makes the connections between technical and theoretical elements taught throughout the course. These seminars examine the history and theory of producing and discuss what it means to be a creative entrepreneur in film and television. You will examine possible definitions of the producer’s role, attend workshops that draw upon the content of the lectures and be provided with additional practical knowledge of production processes, budgeting and scheduling. Assessment is by an essay or treatment of 3,500 to 4,000 words.

Script Development
This unit examines how best to find, evaluate and develop scripts. Through seminars, you will explore different approaches to working with writers and look at ways to help improve scripts. The unit teaches techniques for writing script reports and looks critically at the major theoretical works on scriptwriting. There is input from professional screenwriters, producers and script development executives. The unit is assessed by a portfolio of three script reports of 1,500 words each.

The Management of Talent
This unit examines the talents required to develop and pitch an original fiction treatment and a dramatic scene based on the treatment. You will explore the work of the director and his/her relationship to the producer. You will practise, through role play and team work, creative skills required in film and television production, from development through to post production. Some of these scenes are selected for studio production at Royal Holloway. The overall aim of the unit is to sensitize prospective producers to the creative challenges that may arise in working with a film or TV production team. The unit is assessed by a treatment (30%), pitching exercise (20%), studio exercise (10%) and production paper (40%) which summarizes the experience gained from the unit.

Business Planning
This unit introduces you to a range of issues that arise in planning and managing small and medium sized enterprises. You will develop a basic understanding of the critical issues affecting the success or failure of film and television businesses. The seminars examine the topics arising in planning business presentations to secure financing, and give special attention to the problems of business start-ups. The unit is assessed by a written business plan (70%) and an oral presentation of the plan (30%).

Film Finance and Accounting
You will be introduced to basic accounting skills and will explore the role of financial planning in the life-cycle of film and television projects. You will learn basic double-entry accounting and prepare key financial statements (profit & loss, balance sheet, and cash flow). The unit explores the wider context of financial planning in the development, financing, marketing and distribution of film and television. The unit is assessed by class tests in accountancy (50%) and a written Film Finance Plan (50%).

Marketing and Media Law
This unit explores aspects of media marketing and promotion in film and television distribution and exhibition. You will also be introduced to the fundamental principles of media law, including contract and intellectual property law, as well as issues of content and regulation. The unit is assessed by a 2,000 word essay on law and a 2,000 word essay on marketing and distribution.

Dissertation
You will undertake a 10,000 word assessed dissertation or media research project on a chosen topic to be agreed with the supervisor; this is intended to provide an opportunity for you to investigate your chosen area in real depth. The dissertation will have a clearly defined aim of study and arrive at a carefully argued set of conclusions derived from original research. It is expected to reflect wide research, investigating print, internet and first hand interview sources.
 

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • a broad and detailed understanding of the nature of film and television production; how the role of the producer impacts on the production as the creative and managerial driving force, and how the producer communicates meaning to the writer, director, film crew and to the audience
  • advanced understanding of the process of producing a film and/or TV programme, from initial concept through distribution and sales
  • advanced understanding of script development
  • advanced understanding of the various stages of the production process and how to write a pitch, a treatment, business plan, make a deal, write a financial plan, re-coupment schedule and budget as well as all relevant production contracts and documents
  • critical knowledge of the current genres and trends in film and television and how they have evolved in recent years
  • an understanding of the UK film and television industries, including their structure, institutions and working practices
  • a broad understanding of the group nature of film and television production and how the roles played by the key players shape and influence the creative as well as business outcomes of a project
  • a clear understanding of management structure within the production company and film crew, hands-on experience of production in a professionally equipped television studio working with industry professionals as well as fellow students
  • a broad understanding of health and safety, industry codes of ethics, best practice and legal undertakings
  • an introduction to high quality industry software for budgeting and scheduling, and post production editing
  • an understanding of film and television history
  • an understanding of what creative and business skills are needed to be successful in the media industries.

View the full course specification for Producing Film and Television (MA) in the Programme Specification Repository

Assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays, script reports, treatments, pitching exercises, studio exercises, production papers, business reports and presentations.

Employability & career opportunities

Students who have graduated from the course are working successfully in independent television and film production, for broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV, and for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.

 
 
 

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