MA Screen: Directing - Drama Centre London

Applications for January 2017 entry are now closed. 

For further information about applying, please contact csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk.

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 & Performance Programme

Scholarships, Awards and Funding available:

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International
Jane Rapley Scholarships

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

A student's perspective.

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

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. 

Facts

Course Leader

Michael Bray

Course Location

King's Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year full time (45 weeks; 40 hours per week)
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2016: £15,350.

£1,000 discount for Home/EU 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. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for course that starts in January 2016: £19,440.

£1,000 discount for Home/EU 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. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start Date3 January 2017
Autumn Term DatesCourse starts in January 2017
Spring Term DatesTERM ONE: Tuesday 3 January – Thursday 13 April 2017 (No teaching Good Friday 14/04/17)
Summer Term DatesTERM TWO: Tuesday 2 May – Saturday 2 Sept 2017
Term DatesTERM THREE: Monday 18 September – Saturday 9 December 2017
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

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.

About the course

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 40 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.

 

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
Critical Studies Tutor: Pamela Woods
Movement and Movement Psychology Tutor: Lydia Baksh
Speech Tutor: Caryll Ziegler
Visual Awareness Tutor: Dylan Stone
Voice Tutor: Alex Bingley

Careers

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.

To read alumni profiles visit the Drama Centre London alumni section.

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.

 

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements

MA Screen: Directing entry requirements are: Degree 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); an Honours degree in a discipline outside performance plus demonstrable performance-related experience, either professionally or within an amateur or student context; or at least three years' professional experience as performer or director.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us an English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the External English Tests page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

International applicants

The International Office at Central Saint Martins is your first point of contact for any questions you may have regarding courses, programmes, admissions, or who to contact in other parts of the University of the Arts London. Feel free to contact us if you're in London - we offer a special service to advise you on your chosen course. To make an appointment, please email us at least two weeks before your visit.

International Office
Central Saint Martins
Granary Building
1 Granary Square
London N1C 4AA
tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7027
fax: +44 (0)20 7514 8013
email: international@csm.arts.ac.uk

UAL has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to international (non-EU) students. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

What we look for

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 the 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 and process

Your application, interview, film discussion and directing exercise 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

Admission to the Masters is by interview and presentation of prepared material.

Stage I

  • An interview discussing aspects of a film and its screenplay for which the candidate has been asked to prepare
  • An interview focusing on the candidate's understanding and knowledge of the profession

Stage II 

Following the initial interview we use a recall system, normally on the same day. The second phase of the process includes:

  • Preparation of a scene from a second film (indicated in advance)
  • Work with two acting students and presentation of the prepared scene
  • Discussion of the scene presented with the possibility of revisiting Stage I text in the light of Stage II experience
  • Some candidates may also be asked to act in simple improvisations and devising exercises alongside their peers or fellow candidates

Interviews, auditions, application advice

Drama Centre London interviews or auditions all applicants. Once we've received your application form you'll be sent an audition/interview pack. You must complete the form contained in the pack and return it with the fee of £45. We recommend you choose as early an audition date as possible. From November onwards, updates on the availability of audition dates (between March and November) and application deadlines will be shown on our website.

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?

Once we've received your application we'll tell you which screenplays to prepare for interview.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide. 

Required information for all postgraduate course applications: 

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form: 

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two, at least one should be an academic or professional reference) 

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form. 

Please note, the course team will not be able to consider your application until you have submitted the extra required elements. 

Extra information required for applications to this course: 

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process: 

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? 

Start your application now:

Applications can be submitted throughout the academic year. However, places are limited so it is advisable for you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Late applications will be considered by the course team in consultation with the Course Leader.

Deferred entry: 

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry. 

Apply now for the full-time study mode of this course 

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t 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. 

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Please note, the course team will not be able to consider your application until you have submitted the extra required elements.

What happens next? 

Admission to the Masters is by interview and presentation of prepared material. 

Stage I 

  • An interview discussing aspects of a film and its screenplay for which the candidate has been asked to prepare
  • An interview focusing on the candidate's understanding and knowledge of the profession 

Stage II  

Following the initial interview we use a recall system, normally on the same day. The second phase of the process includes:

  • Preparation of a scene from a second film (indicated in advance)
  • Work with two acting students and presentation of the prepared scene
  • Discussion of the scene presented with the possibility of revisiting Stage I text in the light of Stage II experience
  • Some candidates may also be asked to act in simple improvisations and devising exercises alongside their peers or fellow candidates 

Once we've received your application we'll tell you which screenplays to prepare for interview. 

Open days 

View the latest information under news and events on Drama Centre's website. Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find courses, teaching and student life. Visit the open day section for dates to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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