Our MA program is officially recognised by the German authorities and qualifies for the German Study Visa.
Our classes are delivered in English, in accordance with the school’s accreditation with the University of West London.
MA Documentary & Factual
- One-year full-time postgraduate course
- For students who are passionate about the various ways to shoot and document reality in today’s world and who want to produce content that offers new insights, promotes compassion and awareness about a specific subject
- Create a portfolio of work, including two core projects (documentary and/or factual programmes) with accompanying creative development and pitch documents, a promotional teaser trailer, an industry project for an external client, and a series of creative exercises
- Gain the valuable skills for a career in the screen industries
Today’s audiences can watch documentaries and factual programming at cinemas and art galleries, on television and iPhones, or via YouTube and Vimeo. Technological innovation and the digital revolution have changed the way we think and talk about factual content. This MA course focuses on the creative, technical and industry skills you need to develop documentaries and factual programming across the contemporary media landscape. We will teach you how to film reality from a variety of perspectives, understanding and sometimes challenging traditional interpretations of the documentary and its delivery. The course will equip you with the necessary skills, conceptual approach, and mindset for a career in the creative media industries.
- Hands-on practical experience. Gain training and production experience in producing, directing, camera operation, sound and editing
- Learn how to film reality. Through practical work explore the creative, conceptual and ethical approaches to filming reality and documenting the experiences of real people
- Working towards an Industry assignment. During the Production Practices module you will conceive, create and deliver what we refer to internally as an ‘Industry Project’. You will work within a creative team and respond to a professional brief from a commercial, public sector or charitable ‘client’, to produce a spec shot and showcase your creative talent to industry professionals.
- Industry awareness. Build your understanding of the contemporary industry landscape for documentaries and factual programming, including commissioning, financing, distribution and exhibition, festivals, and the emerging world of interactive and transmedia digital content
- Professional feedback. Pitch your projects to industry professionals and receive ‘real world’ feedback and guidance to further develop your projects
- Real-life experience. Produce a documentary/factual project in collaboration with an external industry client.
- Screen Lab. You will participate in seminars and workshops covering a range of topics, including practical filmmaking skills, creative brainstorming, a survey of concepts underpinning moving image theory, and the state of the creative industries. At the end of the module you will shoot a mini filmed project on an iPhone/Android, focusing on the primacy of content in the Say Something! exercise.
- Documentary and Factual Boot Camp. This is an immersive module which covers the conceptual and historical developments associated with traditional and contemporary modes of practice, while also teaching key creative and technical skills required by today’s media platforms. Explore and interrogate the discourse around the concept of realism as it applies to various documentary genres, complete practical exercises and develop a small project on this module.
- Authorship and Point of View. This module looks at the various conventions and methods for developing and making compelling content. Explore the theory of authorship and alternative paradigms, analyse and engage in how ‘point of view’ impacts the structure, form and genre of non-fiction storytelling. Through practical workshops, you will develop ideas for a variety of platforms, including film, TV and online.
- Production Practices. Learn and apply the core skills and principles that anchor contemporary documentary and factual production, including the importance of proposals and pitching skills, budgeting and scheduling, and what’s required of producers and directors across a variety of platforms. Through practical workshops, this module will also explore the crucial creative roles of directing, camera, editing and sound in the development of dynamic content.
- The Business of Documentary and Factual. This module turns towards the business of getting documentary and factual programmes to the audience – in cinemas, on air or via the Internet. Through case studies and seminars with industry guest speakers, students will analyse the various financing and commissioning structures and look at emerging distribution avenues, including cross-media platform development, web-based marketing, publicity and social media. Students will write and pitch project proposals, shoot a filmed trailer and begin planning their final Master’s projects.
- Research in Screen Practice. During this module, you will begin to prepare for your final Master’s Project by exploring key research methods including defining problems, identifying areas of academic enquiry, formulating hypotheses, collecting, organising and evaluating data; developing and assessing conclusions. This enquiry could be in the form of a visual portfolio with mood boards, location details, and other filmic references to demonstrate the value of preconceiving visual work.
- Master’s Project. This is a largely self-directed module during which you will work under the guidance of a faculty advisor towards the completion of a short documentary or factual project for which you assume the role of producer and/or director.
Dates & Prices
- 4 October 2021 — 28 October 2022
Course fees includes:
Tuition, production equipment and support, first aid and health & safety training, production and postproduction facilities, access to industry masterclasses and networking, and personal contact time.
How to Apply:
We accept applications and offer places on a rolling basis throughout the year. As our MA programmes are competitive we encourage you to apply as far ahead of your intended start date as possible. We are now accepting deferred entry for future intakes.
Contact our Admissions Team on +49 (0) 30 767 33 31 70 or email@example.com
To apply for the MA course you will need to be 18 years of age or older at the time the course starts. Applicants must have a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university or overseas equivalent. Applicants without this qualification, but possessing relevant work experience, are also invited to apply. Each application is considered on its individual merits.
-Voices That Matter Scholarship 2021. Find out more.
Duration: One Year
Please note all our courses are taught in English.
*Subject to annual price review
John Burgan – MA Documentary & Factual course leader
After training at the BBC and the UK’s National Film & TV School, he has worked in the German capital as a director, writer and editor, mainly in the documentary field. His first feature-length film Memory of Berlin, has been broadcasted and screened at many international film festivals, and has been selected for the Chris Marker retrospective in Paris. Full Profile
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