MA Film: a week in the life

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Chris from the United States of America gives you a peek into the life of a Master of Arts (MA) in Film student at Screen Academy Scotland.

The month of February was a whirlwind of activity for students on the MA Film course at Screen Academy Scotland. We were busy with traditional course work—meeting with tutors, writing essays, giving presentations— all the while working on films.

Auditioning actors

As director, one of my assignments this trimester is to direct a three-minute short film. Starting with a story idea I developed with another writer, I wrote a three-page comedy screenplay about a couple going shopping for burial plots. My producer, another student on the course, sent out a casting call, and we auditioned actors for two days.

It was amazing to see the script acted out over those two days. Each actor had their own way of making the characters come to life in ways I didn’t expect!

Students auditioning for film.

The cast bringing the characters to life

Students auditioning for film.

Collaborative practice

Students studying on the MA Film course can choose from five specialisms: cinematography, directing, editing, producing, and sound. I think that this split between the different specialisms is one of the best things about the MA Film course. After all, film production is a team effort! On Wednesdays, we work together on short films to get more practice working as a unit.

Filming on film

Most film production these days is actually video production, so it was really cool to be able to shoot a few practice films on actual, you know, film.

The film we shot will go off to the lab for processing. The developed film will be scanned at the lab, and our editors will get a digital file back. Then we'll finally see how we did!

Image of film camera.

The Arriflex 16SRII, a 16mm film camera.

Film crew working on set.

The cinematographer checks the camera operator's image.

Director looking at video monitor during filming.

Even when shooting on film, the director uses a video monitor to see roughly what the camera operator is capturing.

Chris signature
The sound supervisor and boom operator prepping their equipment.

The sound supervisor and boom operator prepping their equipment.

Exposed film with images on it.

Exposed film (with images on it) needs to be handled very carefully.

Get in touch with Chris or our helpful International Team to find out about student life, our courses or how to apply.

Chris is from the United States of America and is studying the MFA in Film at Edinburgh Napier University.

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