Course details

Applications for 2020 are now open!

Course dates: 22 June – 17 July 2020

Course code: FTVMS 317

Course structure: Full-time Monday to Friday (approx. 40 hours per week). Structured classes Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Eight to ten hours studio time per week. Other time is spent in script production, casting, on-location filming, post-production, editing and field trips.

Credit weighting: 15 NZ points (approximately 3-5 US credits). International students may be able to cross-credit back to your home institution.

Programme fee: NZ$7,187.50 GST inclusive (US$4,561.62*). Fee includes tuition, accommodation, and field trips to Hobbiton Movie Set and Weta Workshop.

Perfect for: International students and graduates aiming for a career in filmmaking, or looking for a study abroad experience over the northern summer.

Eligibility: This course is designed for students with two years’ undergraduate experience. A background in film or media production, drama, or creative writing is preferred, but not essential. Students with only one year of undergraduate experience and a strong creative portfolio are also eligible for entry.

Contact: Mai AlSharaf, Screen Tools Coordinator

*Based on exchange rate at time of publication (September 2019).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
Applications are now open for Screen Tools 2020.

For detailed instructions about the online application process, please follow this step-by-step application guide.
When selecting your programme on the online application, choose the following options for Screen Tools:
Programme type: Certificate
Programme name: Cert of Proficiency Short Prog (COPSP)
Major or specialisation: Media, Film and Television
Start term: 2020 Quarter Three
Campus: City

When is the deadline to apply?
30 March 2020

How is the course structured?
You will be one of a maximum of 16 students on the course, all working to create the pilot episode of a serial drama. Everyone on the course has a specific role such as director, producer or writer. Actors will be cast from the University’s drama programmes.

Following an industry-style production schedule, the course is designed to give you practical experience and an understanding of the collaborative and co-operative nature of the making of drama for film, television and digital platforms, within strict time limits.

As well as developing technical skills in multi-camera television production, single camera location shooting and digital editing, you will be introduced to the processes of script breakdowns, casting and directing actors.

Screen Tools places a special focus on digital and new media as the method of distribution for your production. Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and pod-casting open up opportunities for emerging filmmakers to release their work, and are increasingly becoming the media of choice for consumers.

You will be encouraged to identify and understand the target demographic for your chosen distribution platform, to ensure that the format and content of your production meet commercial imperatives.

This intensive course requires a full-time commitment. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with an additional eight to ten hours studio time required per week. Additional time will be spent in script production, casting, on-location filming, post-production, editing and on field trips to the Hobbiton movie set and Weta Workshop.

What role will I play in the production team?
Production team roles will be allocated in the first week of the course. The role you get will depend on your preference as well as your own skills and experience and the mix of skills and experience across the group.

  • Executive Producer (EP)
    • The EP oversees all phases of the process and ensures everyone and everything is up to standard. The role encompasses planning of post-production editing and delivery, quality control of product and personnel, final decision-maker on casting, style of shooting and script elements.
  • Producer
    • Producers must decide on the mode of broadcast delivery and identify and understand the target demographic, keeping in mind commercial imperatives. Producers will oversee script meetings, scripts, casting, planning, scheduling, and must take an active creative role in the development of allocated scenes and the overall film.
  • Director
    • Directors work the writer and actors to take a scene from script to screen; to contribute to script elements; to cast roles in collaboration with other directors and the producer and to ensure a high standard of interpretation and performance.
  • Writer
    • Writers will work in a collaborative atmosphere to create a script for their episode that contributes to the whole story. Writers must follow developments of the script into rehearsal to iron out any deficiencies that may be brought up by the actors or directors. In the studio writers will assume the role of vision switcher, and may also be required to assist in other areas.
  • Line Producer
    • The Line Producers’ role is to oversee the management of funds and personnel, to ensure the steady flow of information, to appoint and manage shooting crews in collaboration with the producer and the director. The Line Producer must find locations, make-up and unit persons, organise product issues and possibly call shots in the studio for the vision switcher. The Line Producer also acts as DA/Continuity person on all shoots.
  • First Assistant Director (1stAD)/Designer
    • The 1stAD organises production meetings, and devises schedules and callsheets for rehearsals and shoots. They control and direct all operations during shooting, and ensure all settings, props and costumes are appropriate for each episode and each location.
  • Editing
    • The focus of this course is on collaboration in pre-production and production; good editing is essential to create a good end product but is a small component of the course. Your group will select an editor who is already capable in this area.

How is the course assessed?
This course is a practical production process based on professional television industry practice. You will be assessed on your creative, technical and organisational skills individually and collectively with your production team.

Assessment is broken down into three individual and group assignments:

  1. Written analysis
  2. Completed episode
  3. Completed overall drama

How can I transfer the credit back to my home university?
Talk to your department advisor and/or the study abroad office at your home institution to discuss transfer of credits. The official Screen Tools (course code 'FTVMS 317') syllabus is available below for download.

Screen Tools is worth 15 University of Auckland credits. This equals approximately 3-5 US credits – the exact conversion is at the discretion of your home institution.

On successful completion of the course you will receive an official University of Auckland transcript.

Where will I live?
You will stay in student accommodation near campus, with a private bedroom (single), and shared living spaces.

The University campus is located in the centre of Auckland city, close to shops, restaurants, entertainment, public transport and the harbour.

What exactly is included in the programme fee?

The programme fee for the course is NZ$7,187.50 (US$4,561.62*).

What’s included:

GST (Goods and Services tax)
Tuition fees
Travel insurance (see Health and travel insurance)
Field trips including transport/flights and activities
What’s not included:

Flights to and from New Zealand
Personal expenses
*Exchange rate as of September 2019.

What are the entry requirements?
This course is designed for students with two years’ undergraduate experience. A background in film or media production, drama, or creative writing, is preferred, but not essential. Students with only one year of undergraduate experience and a strong creative portfolio are also eligible for entry. Applicants need to have a strong academic record (equivalent to at least a University of Auckland B average).

What are the English language entry requirements?
If English is not your first language, and English is not the medium of instruction at your home university, then you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in the English language.

In IELTS or TOEFL you will need the following scores:

IELTS (academic), total of 6.0, no band less than 5.5
TOEFL (internet), total 80 with a writing score of 21
TOEFL (paper), total of 550 with a TWE of 4.5
We also accept other English language tests as proof of English proficiency. For more information see English language requirements.