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Feature Film Development - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

MA Feature Film Development will help you to understand what is required to make sure a major film is ready to be pitched to investors. You’ll learn all about the extensive pre-production activities all big-budget movies currently go through before they are green-lit. You’ll be taken through each stage of pre-production development to navigate, understand and avoid common problems....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

MA Feature Film Development will help you to understand what is required to make sure a major film is ready to be pitched to investors. You’ll learn all about the extensive pre-production activities all big-budget movies currently go through before they are green-lit. You’ll be taken through each stage of pre-production development to navigate, understand and avoid common problems.

MA Feature Film Development is suitable for Directors, Producers, Editors, Film Makers, Screenwriters, Directors of Photography, Concept Artists, Production Designers, Art Directors, Animators, Technical Directors, Story Artists, & Pre-Visualisation Artists looking to start or further a career in feature film.

This course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film Futures suite, designed with industry to reflect the growing need for highly skilled film graduates who can fulfil roles within the international film industry. Focusing on film development, pre-production, story art and pre-visualisation, you’ll become part of a vibrant and multidisciplinary film community.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will create, as part of a team, a full feature film story and pre-visualisation reel, demonstrating all the film's narrative and action elements. You will learn how to workshop the essential narrative from a screenplay in order to create a believable, immersive animatic that plays out the core story in full, including all key performance and action components.

How you will learn

You will take part in story workshops, extracting key structural elements from a narrative structure and iteratively develop action and performance staging through a multi layered story process. This will help you gain an understanding of character arcs and resistances essential to immersive believability.

You will learn how to make a story and pre-visualisation reel that grabs an audience and takes them on a believable journey. You will gain experience working within a pre-production team, obtaining a unique perspective of feature film development pipelines - how it is project managed and implemented within milestone scheduling.

Practical Application

During the course your contribution to the pipeline will become your ‘portfolio of practice’ showcasing your specialism and team skills, therefore proving your professionalism.

The assignments reflect real world pre-production practices and are designed to develop the key skills that are necessary to work in the international film industries.

You’ll have access to industry standard software, utilised by major film studios.

Why Choose Us?

  • A cutting edge, one of a kind course, unique to Birmingham City University.
  • Opportunity to secure an MA whilst working with world leaders in film development.
  • The course has been developed with industry to ensure it provides the skills and knowledge you’ll need to work in the film industry, here in the UK and overseas.
  • Teaching is delivered by industry practitioners and experienced academics.
  • No exams! Coursework assignments that reflect industry practice.

OPEN DAY

Join us on campus where you'll be able to find out more about your course, learn about postgraduate finance and get an insight into studying at BCU. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: 29 June 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements 
Essential

MA Feature Film Development is open to all applicants who meet one of the following criteria:

  • A background in film-making alongside a portfolio and showreel demonstrating your best work.
  • Core Art skills. Including drawing, anatomy, composition, value and colour theory.
  • Skills within 2D and 3D software.
  • Animation skills, focused on performance.
Desirable

A degree in art, design, graphic, visual communications, animation or related discipline is desired but not essential

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £10,500 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £11,550 in 2024/25

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £17,710 in 2024/25
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £19,485 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

You’ll need to submit a personal statement as part of your application for this course. This will need to highlight your passion for postgraduate study – and your chosen course – as well as your personal skills and experience, academic success, and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Not sure what to include? We’re here to help – take a look at our top tips for writing personal statements and download our free postgraduate personal statement guide for further advice and examples from real students.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 60 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

Download course specification

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Course Structure

During the year, you will study five taught modules over 3 semesters, culminating in a final group module.

Teaching methods may include practical sessions, lectures and group debates, featuring input from both University staff and guest lecturers from industry, providing you with a wide range of practical knowledge and insight. 

On the course, you'll be taught by established industry professionals with a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm, who are experienced at recognising and responding to the rapidly changing demands within the industry.

Classroom activities

During your studies where appropriate, there may be practice-based opportunities to engage with a regional film festival such as Cine-Excess - an annual international film festival and conference on global cult film cultures and Flatpack Film Festival, a Birmingham-wide experimental film festival celebrating cinematic and audio-visual invention as well as other global film festivals such as Cannes, AFM and Annecy.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

Courses within the School of Games, Film and Animation are built upon workplace simulation and industry-standard work, ensuring you behave less like a student and more as a professional, gaining the workplace experience and attributes you need. The aim is to produce confident, work-ready graduates.

At the end of your studies you’ll complete a Major Project. This project may lead you to working directly with a client depending on individual aspirations. This direct contact will give you the experience, confidence and freedom to put into action all you’ve learned on your studies. Aligned with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Placements

Semester Three, which is the Major Project, is a live studio activity, where all MA Feature Film development students combine into a team to create a full story and pre-visualisation reel, including a scene slice or teaser.

You will have feedback on your work from major studio partners helping you to guide your contribution towards the Major Project and ready it for a live pitch process to international studios, Producers and Distributor.

The experience achieved within this in-house placement is a demonstration of a live development and is valued by industry partners.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Curzon with Millennium Point and Parkside
Games, Film and Animation facilities
Games, Film and Animation facilities
Games, Film and Animation facilities

Our School of Games, Film and Animation is based in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus.

We help you learn a specific discipline such as digital marketing, programming or art and put that discipline into practice by offering flexible teaching space, dedicated development studios and open access work areas for group projects, as well as course-specific facilities.

Our staff

Shaun Magher

Course Director BA (Hons) Digital Animation, BA (Hons) Video Game Digital Art and MA Feature Film Development

Shaun has spent 30 years working as a Director, Creative Director and Animation Director within the UK and International Film and Television industries. A graduate from St Martins school of Art (1985) and the National Film and Television school (1989).

More about Shaun