• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateJanuary 2019
  • Course length1 year full time (45 weeks)

MA Screen: Directing - Drama Centre London

Places available 2018/19 
This course has places available for January 2019 entry. View the 'How to apply' section on this page for more details.

This intensive course gives you a unique insight into an actors conservatoire training, giving the director the intellectual and artistic tools to better communicate and stimulate a creative performance from actors on film. Directing means working with performers and developing a methodology that balances the needs of the actor against the grinding pressure of the shooting process.

This course equips and enables the director to find their own voice whilst developing the skills needed to balancing these difficult demands. During the course you will work closely with the acting cohort developing your directors voice and vision to tell story through narrative drama, focusing on an understanding on the importance of genre, casting and story telling with the actor.

This course is part of the Drama and Performance Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • This course has produced many successful alumni including a Welsh Bafta winner and a number of feature film leads.
  • This course is unique, a film course in a drama school with visceral pathways, whilst remaining actor-oriented in the conservatoire tradition.
  • You’ll engage with industry professionals. Our Visiting Professor is Stephen Frears, the internationally acclaimed screen director, and Visiting practitioners have included the experienced screen directors Moira Armstrong and Richard Standeven, the producers Bernard Krichefski, Tony Dennis, David Collier and Greg Boardman, cinematographers Paul Bond and Zillah Bowes, Anne Henderson, Casting Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, screenwriters John Wilsher and Danny Stack and many others.
  • With good time-management, a number of students also carry out extra-curricular activities. Current student Mirin Barr won Best Actress at the Campus Moviefest Awards for her part in 'One Beautiful Day', directed by fellow student Rudina Hatipi. One Beautiful Day has also been selected for the Campus Movie Fest Wildcard Challenge. 
  • You’ll collaborate closely with MA Screen: Acting students on numerous camera based projects throughout the course. Other recent collaborations include working with London College of Fashion, Wimbledon and Trinity Laban.

A student's perspective.

Image four: Also Ran, Directed by Yorgos-Karavasilis, MA Screen: Directing or Writing, CSM, 2012.

Course detail

This postgraduate course prepares you for work in film and television and related fields by bringing together the key artistic disciplines and skills needed to make high quality filmed drama. You will explore in detail Stanilavisky's unique scene study methodology which lies at the heart of Drama Centre’s conservatoire training. From storyboard to working on the subtext with the actors on set you will be enabled to develop your own distinct artistic voice.

At the heart of MA Screen: Directing is the growth of individual creativity, achieved through constant opportunities for working on camera-based projects with colleagues from other pathways. You will work on two filmed productions, in our film studio and on location. Supported by a professional producer, director of photography and editor. You will take an active part in a Mike Leigh type devising project where you will help shape the story's stimulated by the characters that the actors develop over nine weeks of intense rehearsal. You will understand the rhythm of a working film set and develop the confidence to use your own voice on future projects, confident in the knowledge that you know how to work creatively with actors. You will be given in depth preparation for the profession including interview technics and wide range of lectures from visiting professionals, such as agents, casting directors, working producers and directors.

Distinctive features of MA Screen: Directing are:

  • An insight into actors' conservatoire training.
  • A performance-led approach to recorded drama
  • A company operating model
  • The acquisition of a deep understanding of the processes leading to the creation of high quality films
  • A quasi-professional learning model that prepares you for direct entry to the world of work
  • The realisation of new writing or adaptations through performance-led models
  • A focus on the technical aspects of production
  • A mentoring scheme connecting students with experienced professionals.

Course structure

MA Screen: Directing lasts 45 weeks over 12 months and is structured as units - class-based to begin with, but increasingly project-geared over time. This postgraduate course is intensive. You'll be expected to commit 35 hours per week to classes, rehearsals and shoots, and to your own independent preparation and learning.

Students who come to MA Screen: Directing expect a focused experience with a high level of autonomous learning. The MA course's practical elements contribute to the intensity of the experience, sharpening your professional ability to deliver on time, on budget and at an appropriate level.

MA Screen: Directing has a small intake. It collaborates closely with MA Screen: Acting to give you a broader understanding of the needs of the actor. Because we believe empathy with acting and actors is an integral part of directing, the early part of the MA course in particular engages with the discipline of acting.

Traditionally, screen director training fails to address the challenges of working with performers. Our Directing Pathway confronts that challenge while developing your individual approach and creative voice. The pathway features a programme of acting skills, an extended programme of directing skills, two filmed drama projects, a devised project, and an extended programme of professional preparation.

The MA course culminates in a series of short film projects produced in collaboration with the student actors. Projects are screened for an invited industry audience that includes agents and casting directors.

Assessment

Assessment is practical, based on performance and class work. There is no formal written examination, though you will be expected to carry out and present extensive research, as well as deliver practice-informed reflective journal summaries.

MA Screen Directing Programme Specification 2017/18 (PDF, 322KB)

Industry links

Industry directly informs our training through lectures from professionals, either as full-time teachers or as visiting lecturers or directors. Towards the end of the MA course, representatives of film production companies, casting directors, producers and agents are invited to attend screenings. All students are linked through a mentoring scheme to experienced professionals who advise, support and guide them in the early stages of their careers. An Advisory Board that includes senior representatives of the profession actively assists Drama Centre London. Current board members include Declan Donnellan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Adrian Noble and Max Stafford-Clark.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit the Student Jobs and Careers section.

  • Costume

    Find out more about the Costume facilities at Archway.

  • Post-production

    Find out more about our post-production workshop.

  • Digital media

    Find out more about our digital media facility at King's Cross

Staff

Course Leader: Michael Bray
Acting and Directing for Camera Tutor: Bill Britten
Writing Tutor: Keith Temple 

Acting Tutor: John Beschizza
Arts & Business and Professional Preparation Advisor: Gary Davy
Character Analysis Tutor: Tim Robins

How to apply

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of July at the very latest to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application and submitted required documents.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form: 

General information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. (Write between 300-500 words)

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • Do you have any relevant experience?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Please note: If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and audition.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form. 

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

You will be contacted by UAL to book and pay for an audition/interview online. The non-refundable audition/interview fee is £50.00.

Auditions/interviews normally take place between March and October. Drama Centre London seeks to audition and interview all applicants. We recommend you choose an early audition date. For more details about our audition procedure visit the auditions and interviews page

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder) and your account on the UAL Applicant Portal. These emails will contain important information about your application.

Stage one

You are interviewed and will discuss aspects of a film and its screenplay for which the candidate has been asked to prepare.  The interview focuses on the candidate's understanding and knowledge of the profession

The first stage of the interview process focuses on either Rashomon (1950, directed by Akira Kurosawa) or The Servant (1963, directed by Joseph Losey) – candidate chooses which.

If you are successful you will be invited to a recall.

Stage two - (Recall)

Recalls normally take place on the Thursday after the Stage 1 audition.  If you are recalled the process includes:

  • Preparation of a scene from ‘In Bruges’ (2008, directed by Martin McDonagh)
  • Work with two acting students and presentation of the prepared scene. 

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept applications for deferred entry.

When to apply

We recommend you apply by the end of July at the very latest to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application and submitted the required documents.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. (Write between 300-500 words)

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • Do you have any relevant experience?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Please note: If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and audition.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form. 

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and audition.

What happens next

You will be contacted by UAL to book and pay for an audition/interview online. The non-refundable audition/interview fee is £50.00.

Auditions/interviews normally take place between March and October. Drama Centre London seeks to audition and interview all applicants. We recommend you choose an early audition date. For more details about our audition procedure visit the auditions and interviews page.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder) and your account on the UAL Applicant Portal. These emails will contain important information about your application.

Stage one

You are interviewed and will discuss aspects of a film and its screenplay for which the candidate has been asked to prepare.  The interview focuses on the candidate's understanding and knowledge of the profession

The first stage of the interview process focuses on either Rashomon (1950, directed by Akira Kurosawa) or The Servant (1963, directed by Joseph Losey) – candidate chooses which.

If you are successful you will be invited to a recall.

Stage two - (Recall)

Recalls normally take place on the Thursday after the Stage 1 audition.  If you are recalled the process includes:

  • Preparation of a scene from ‘In Bruges’ (2008, directed by Martin McDonagh)
  • Work with two acting students and presentation of the prepared scene.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Can’t attend the audition?

International applicants (or EU applicants in exceptional circumstances) unable to attend the audition at college may submit a digital recording of their performance of the two speeches via UAL’s online video upload system.  However, you must attend the recall day in person if successful in the first stage assessment. 

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept applications for deferred entry.

Entry requirements

An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree. 

A candidate’s qualification for the course may be demonstrated by:

  • An Honours degree in acting, drama, directing, theatre studies, dance, or a relevant art and design discipline; or
  • A Level 3 Diploma from a recognised professional drama or dance school (e.g. a member of Drama UK or The Council for Dance Education and Training); or
  • An Honours degree in a discipline other than those listed above plus demonstrable performance-related experience, either professionally or within an amateur or student context; or
  • At least three years' appropriate professional experience as a performer, director or writer.

Applicants will normally hold an honours level qualification or equivalent professional recognition or significant and relevant prior experience. However, the possession of entry qualifications alone does not entitle a candidate to be admitted to the Course. Evidence of ability is demonstrated by the applicant’s application and the audition / interview.

Advanced entry: applicants may be considered for admitted at a point later than the start of the Course, provided that they have fulfilled, in a way judged to be equivalent, the requirements of the Course prior to the proposed point of entry. 

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

IELTS Academic 7.0.

For further information visit the English Language requirements page. 

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. 

What we look for

The course welcome applicants representing a wide range of ages and life experiences, educational and working backgrounds, cultural roots and nationalities.

We're looking for students ready to take on an extremely demanding profession, who are mature and self-confident, and who are willing to take criticism and turn it to their advantage while preserving a sense of humour. You'll need to be resourceful and committed to following a postgraduate programme of study that's screen-oriented, exploratory and geared to the needs of the profession. We interview all applicants

MA Screen: Directing is aimed primarily at graduates and mature students who can apply a high degree of independence to their learning. Successful candidates bring to the course an understanding of drama in its various contexts plus an ability to work autonomously for sustained periods with the necessary focus and resilience. As MA Screen: Directing puts a strong emphasis on collaboration within an ensemble, you’re expected to show openness, flexibility and generosity in the context of a creative group.

The vocational nature of MA Screen: Directing implies a high degree of proficiency at entry. We do, however, balance this against perceived potential, especially where we identify a clear understanding of the profession and a realistic view of career development and employment prospects.

Selection criteria

Your application, audition and interview will be assessed for: 

Essential criteria:

  • High level of intellectual engagement
  • High interactive awareness and adaptability
  • Confident, sensitive and flexible collaboration
  • High awareness of and interest in screen
  • Personal creative vision
  • Basic technological awareness

Desirable criteria:

  • Basic experience of screen

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2019: £16,800. Please note that these prices are subject to change.

£1,000 discount for students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ 

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2019: £21,840. Please note that these prices are subject to change.

£1,000 discount for students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Our training equips you to work in drama realised on film, television and radio. Some MA Screen: Directing, Writing graduates have gone on to work on the stage. An impressive list of performers and a number of world-famous directors have emerged from courses at the Drama Centre London.

Alumni include Paul Bettany, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Callow, Frances de la Tour, Paola Dionisotti, Colin Firth, Tara Fitzgerald, Anastasia Hille, Geraldine James, Helen McCrory, Jack Shepherd, John Simm, Colin Tierney, Lambert Wilson, Penelope Wilton and many more.

Adrian Noble (for ten years Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company); film writer and director David Leland; novelist Esther Freud, television director Jan Sargent and BAFTA winners Rungano Nyoni are among our graduates.