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 producers 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 Masters 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.
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 producers 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.