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Masters film courses in Australia or UK (directing)


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#1 jacob thomas

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:07 PM

I'm thinking of going back to school next year after three years working in the industry as 2nd AC and Director's Assistant (and making music promos in my spare time).

I've looked at the courses offered NZ and would rather find somewhere in either Australia or the UK.

Does anyone have any recommendations for masters programs in these countries?

At the moment I'm most interested in Victoria College of Arts, but I haven't really looked at schools in the UK.
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#2 Fred Neilsen

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 07:05 AM

A quick summary up of the top 3 film courses on offer in sydney, the first two are great because the cinematography is mainly on film, as apposed to 90% digital with film as an extra special treat.

AFTRS (australian film television and radio school)
-Australias biggest film school
-Post graduate courses are offered to industry professionals in cinematography
-selective school with entry based on merit
-amazing facilities
-located in the center of australia's film district next to where star wars, australia, moulin rouge ect where shot
-other locations in Melbourne and hobart (I think)

Short courses and undergraduate courses also available

SFS (sydney film school)
-Practical based learning
-good balance between practicle and theory
-major part of the course is completing a 45min 16mm mini feature shot with an SRII


NIDA (national institute of dramatic arts)
-Similar in course struture (and brochour design) to AFTRS
-Teach different things, NIDA is more focused on drama/directing

*I did however once see a great program in sound design, at the end of the course, the students put on a show by recreating the entire score, foley and ADR to famouse movie clips, live in a theater.


I hope this helps

Fred
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#3 Ben J

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 01:06 AM

I know this is from last year. But just in case you or anybody else is wondering -

AFTRS (http://www.aftrs.edu.au/) and VCA (http://www.vca.unimelb.edu.au/) seem like the go, especially if your looking at post-graduate study. Both places have produced notable alumni. One thing about VCA - I believe it's courses are undergoing significant reconstruction beginning this year or next and there seems to be a lot of protest over it. See http://savevca.org/
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#4 James Brown

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:56 AM

Does anyone have any recommendations for masters programs in these countries?


AFTRS is great but the MASTERS has been cut. It's now a 1 year grad dip and less selective. Well worth a look in still. The Directing course which i believe you are looking at went from accepting 4 students to 18 last year but has produced some exceptional talent.

NIDA - Purely theatre based. If you want to get into film dont go to NIDA.

VCA has been completly restructured (as discussed) merged and funding cut.

Australia post grad courses have taking a hefty slice in the last 2 years. AFTRS is still the only recommendation i have.

Regards, James .
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#5 Ben J

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:52 AM

AFTRS is great but the MASTERS has been cut. It's now a 1 year grad dip and less selective. Well worth a look in still. The Directing course which i believe you are looking at went from accepting 4 students to 18 last year but has produced some exceptional talent.

NIDA - Purely theatre based. If you want to get into film dont go to NIDA.

VCA has been completly restructured (as discussed) merged and funding cut.

Australia post grad courses have taking a hefty slice in the last 2 years. AFTRS is still the only recommendation i have.

Regards, James .


I only just noticed that. I wonder if it's got anything to do with all the major universities restructuring their undergraduate courses to provide a more liberal arts training (like in the US) with post-graduate training for professions like medicine, law, architecture etc.

Edited by Ben Herbertson, 09 February 2010 - 07:52 AM.

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#6 James Brown

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 06:59 AM

I only just noticed that. I wonder if it's got anything to do with all the major universities restructuring their undergraduate courses to provide a more liberal arts training (like in the US) with post-graduate training for professions like medicine, law, architecture etc.


The Major difference is with Australia and the US is that our courses are HEAVILY subsided. The Post grad course was $5,000AU per year with an acceptance of only 4 students per discipline. The Government / some heads of media divisions got upset with the "elite" attitude of our film education and broadened the intake and increased the fees.

AFTRS still has resources that rival US film courses and is a great deal if you can get in. I wouldn't bother studying any practical film courses in Australia at a post grad level besides this one, they are only getting worse.

Regards, James
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#7 Ben J

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:16 AM

AFTRS still has resources that rival US film courses and is a great deal if you can get in. I wouldn't bother studying any practical film courses in Australia at a post grad level besides this one, they are only getting worse.

Regards, James


I feel the same way about some of the undergraduate courses I have been looking at here (Curtin, ECU, Murdoch). I would love to do the foundation diploma at AFTRS (which they just introduced) but I'm on the other side of the country.

Edited by Ben Herbertson, 10 February 2010 - 07:16 AM.

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#8 James Brown

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:22 AM

I feel the same way about some of the undergraduate courses I have been looking at here (Curtin, ECU, Murdoch). I would love to do the foundation diploma at AFTRS (which they just introduced) but I'm on the other side of the country.


The new courses are the best undergrad in the country (doesn't say too much) but they have amazing resources with a never ending library and great teachers. You can always move to Sydney to study - i did.

Regards, James
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#9 John Brawley

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 09:46 PM

I only just noticed that. I wonder if it's got anything to do with all the major universities restructuring their undergraduate courses to provide a more liberal arts training (like in the US) with post-graduate training for professions like medicine, law, architecture etc.



It's so unfortunate that they have butchered the AFTRS course, mainly over money. I was one of the last few to go through as an MA student.

As mentioned the selection criteria was very competitive and the course was essentially highly subsidised by the Australian government.

Now it's user pays.

They loved to tell us when I was there that we were more expensive to train than FA 18 Hornet pilots, the next most expensive students that the Australian government trains. It averaged out to $186 000 per student per year i think.

And that's what made it great. The fact that there were few students in an intimate and high tempo immersive level of course work. With only 4 cinematography students and a 8-6 scheduled work day EVERY day there was no slacking.

For those that may not know, AFTRS was modelled somewhat on the AIS, the Australian institute of sport. A place where elite athletes go to train together in their respective disciplines but benefiting from shared resources like nutritionalists , fitness and physiology experts. ATRS was the same, the idea being to take away the costs and focus on practical courses operating at an elite level.

Now, to reduce costs, you PAY to go whereas before you were paid TO GO, essentially a scholarship that meant you could focus 100% on the course without trying to work at the same time.

They greatly increased the intake of students across the board and seemingly dumbed down the course. Now it seems to me that AFTRS isn't doing much more than a regular TAFE course and is just like every other course in the country. At least before there was a point of difference. At least there was something to aim for. Even getting into AFTRS could be considered an achievement.

Here was a course that had amazing access to resources, PAID you to attend and at a skill level that is was far above every other course offered in Australia, and was the envoy of the world. It was one of the only courses that placed a high emphasis on PRACTICAL training. 80-90% of the course had you in a studio or lcoation shooting something and honing your practical skills.

But economic rationalism means that there's no justification for that kind of cost with so few students. Never mind that 4 directors trained to a higher level probably have more chance of achieving and getting work than 22 directors trained to a lesser level that's the equivalent of 15 other tertiary institutions in Australia which also have 20+ students graduatiing each year.

John Brawley
MA Film And Television (Cinematography)
AFTRS
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#10 Matt Leaf

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:51 PM

It's so unfortunate that they have butchered the AFTRS course, mainly over money. I was one of the last few to go through as an MA student.

As mentioned the selection criteria was very competitive and the course was essentially highly subsidised by the Australian government.

Now it's user pays.

They loved to tell us when I was there that we were more expensive to train than FA 18 Hornet pilots, the next most expensive students that the Australian government trains. It averaged out to $186 000 per student per year i think.

And that's what made it great. The fact that there were few students in an intimate and high tempo immersive level of course work. With only 4 cinematography students and a 8-6 scheduled work day EVERY day there was no slacking.

For those that may not know, AFTRS was modelled somewhat on the AIS, the Australian institute of sport. A place where elite athletes go to train together in their respective disciplines but benefiting from shared resources like nutritionalists , fitness and physiology experts. ATRS was the same, the idea being to take away the costs and focus on practical courses operating at an elite level.

Now, to reduce costs, you PAY to go whereas before you were paid TO GO, essentially a scholarship that meant you could focus 100% on the course without trying to work at the same time.

They greatly increased the intake of students across the board and seemingly dumbed down the course. Now it seems to me that AFTRS isn't doing much more than a regular TAFE course and is just like every other course in the country. At least before there was a point of difference. At least there was something to aim for. Even getting into AFTRS could be considered an achievement.

Here was a course that had amazing access to resources, PAID you to attend and at a skill level that is was far above every other course offered in Australia, and was the envoy of the world. It was one of the only courses that placed a high emphasis on PRACTICAL training. 80-90% of the course had you in a studio or lcoation shooting something and honing your practical skills.

But economic rationalism means that there's no justification for that kind of cost with so few students. Never mind that 4 directors trained to a higher level probably have more chance of achieving and getting work than 22 directors trained to a lesser level that's the equivalent of 15 other tertiary institutions in Australia which also have 20+ students graduatiing each year.

John Brawley
MA Film And Television (Cinematography)
AFTRS



It's such a shame to hear that John. Like the topic starter I too am looking for some advanced training in Australia. But now what are we left with, where can we go? I feel as if I'm being forced to study overseas in the US or perhaps Canada, where the fees are astronomical for the international student.

I've found some short courses, one at OpenChannel in Melbourne and the other a Summer intensive offered by the Uni of Melbourne. But outside of that, the general current rep of where VCA is at isn't too comforting. I had been considering AFTRS but if the level of quality and standard has dropped it really leaves one begging.

Are there any suggestions out there for Aussies at the moment? Certainly seems like spending your hard earned cash on creating a film is much more appropriate for Australians at this time, though one does attend a masters/film school for more than just filmmaking (ie networking, mentors, expert education)...
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#11 John Brawley

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:58 PM

I've found some short courses, one at OpenChannel in Melbourne and the other a Summer intensive offered by the Uni of Melbourne. But outside of that, the general current rep of where VCA is at isn't too comforting. I had been considering AFTRS but if the level of quality and standard has dropped it really leaves one begging.



I doubt the Open Channel / Summer School course will be on a par with VCA or AFTRS. I'm sure actually that AFTRS still has a lot to offer, it's just that they've dumbed it down from such a high benchmark in practical skills based education. I went after I'd already worked as a freelancer for 5 years, with 5 years full time at an equipment rental company prior to that. In other words, 10 years in industry before i went *to school*

I guess it depends on where you are with your career and skills. If you haven't done a lot of production and are just starting out I wouldn't discount them as a starting point. Plus you'll get to meet 22 new aspiring directors who might even be able to give you work one day !

jb
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#12 Matt Leaf

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 10:25 PM

Yeah, good advice.

I am just starting out. I mean I've worked with video as an artist for many years but I'm looking to get more in depth. I reckon I'll do these short courses in Melbourne, and see where I end up after that.

I've already completed a BFA in Fine Art, so its more then a question of whether to do a Post Grad Dip at Aftrs, or get a decent enough folio together for VCA.

Are there benefits to each school?

Edited by Matt Tierney, 03 March 2010 - 10:26 PM.

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#13 John Brawley

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 10:29 PM

Yeah, good advice.

I am just starting out. I mean I've worked with video as an artist for many years but I'm looking to get more in depth. I reckon I'll do these short courses in Melbourne, and see where I end up after that.

I've already completed a BFA in Fine Art, so its more then a question of whether to do a Post Grad Dip at Aftrs, or get a decent enough folio together for VCA.



I think VCA is great if you want to write or Direct, especially if you alrady live in Melbourne. Im not sure it's as suitable for other craft disciplines. If you want to shoot, then AFTRS still is probably going to be the best place to go for cinematography specific training and support.

jb
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rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Metropolis Post