Course Location
Sydney On-Campus
2018 Master of Arts Screen: Animation
Postgraduate (AQF Level 9)
Delivery Mode
2 year course - 4 semesters (64 weeks). Per year 2 semesters (32 weeks). Semester starts week commencing February 26, 2018
Course Fee
$24,720 per annum ($49,440 course fee)
Compulsory on campus Orientation week commencing Monday February 19. Further details will be provided post-enrolment.
Attendance Pattern
Full-time - 3 days face-to-face teaching with 2 days free to pursue individual projects or work.
As Australia’s national film, television and radio school, AFTRS offers a unique individualised industry based training program where animation students are able to focus on high-end digital storytelling skills whilst working in partnership with producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, production designers, editors, sound designers and musicians to create world-class graduate films. AFTRS’ internationally acclaimed animation graduates include:
  • Patrick Clair - Emmy award-winning titles designer for Man in The High Castle (2016) and True Detective (2014).
  • Sandy Widyanata, Feature film director, Monument 14 (in development).
  • Ben Wright, Layout Artist, Animal Logic (Happy Feet 2), Flying Bark Animation (Maya the Bee).
  • Sejong Park, Oscar nominee for short animation Birthday Boy.

Throughout your first year, you will drill deep into storytelling through animation and the inverted production process typical of animation and visual effects productions. You will collaborate with cinematography, directing and production design departments. Industry practitioners will provide workshops throughout each collaboration, providing up-to-date professional training. The research component is designed to future-proof your career by developing an adaptable, creative skill-set exploring storytelling through emerging technologies and processes.

In your second year, you will embark upon a funded creative project using AFTRS’ extensive production facilities to realise your vision. You will learn to document and analyse your process through research workshops leading to a four-week professional placement at the end of your degree.

Through an intensive program of practical exercises and reflective seminars, you will be challenged to work across a variety of forms, briefs and projects to hone the skill-set that will allow you to master this art: problem solving in real-world situations; storytelling; respectful and constructive collaboration to achieve a shared creative brief; knowledge of the other departments and the iterative workflow that defines the animation development process.

You will be supported to consider and reflect on who you are as creative practitioners, understanding how you have been informed by innovations and processes of the past, and how your practice engages with contemporary screen culture and its emerging trends and technologies.


This course is for applicants who wish to develop cinematic storytelling skills through animation and hybrid live-action and animation productions. Applicants should have experience and/or training in a related discipline (design, visual arts, media arts, etc) or already be working in the field and wish to transition into larger-scale interdisciplinary team-based productions.

You will be situated in the heart of the entertainment production district where you will conceptualise and lead a creative project using state-of-the art facilities. Through intensive collaboration workshops, you will develop exceptional networking and team-building skills, as well as opportunities to experiment with the broad spectrum of disciplinary specialisations across the cinematic arts. You will follow in the footsteps of former AFTRS graduates who have become successful professionals in feature film, broadcast sectors and creative technology industries as art directors, animators, layout artists, compositors, motion designers, directors and researchers.


The Master of Arts Screen is a hands-on transformative learning experience. The two year, full-time degree is designed to enable the future creative leaders of the industry and fast-track screen professionals into head of department positions.

Our rapidly changing, globalised screen industry demands that graduates can combine excellence in craft skills with a deep understanding of their voice. This course, available in 10 disciplines, offers shared subjects, deep discipline learning and cross-disciplinary projects to allow you develop this dynamic and multi-faceted skill-set. An ongoing cycle of practical collaborations enables you to hone your skills, apply creative thinking to real-world scenarios and develop life-long partnerships. The course culminates in a funded, major creative work.

The MA Screen is a unique program of professional development, training and mentorship.

Key features include:

  • taught by the Heads of Discipline, award winning Australian practitioners
  • industry-led collaborative exercises
  • facilities and funds to develop a portfolio of high level work
  • one-to-one mentorships with screen leaders
  • masterclasses with award-winning international guest speakers
  • unrivalled world-class production facilities
  • four week professional placement tailored to your goals
  • dedicated Masters collaborative working space
  • small class size - maximum of 6 places per discipline
  • three days face-to-face teaching with two days free to pursue individual projects or work
  • scholarships available
  • FEE-HELP approved

FEE-HELP APPROVED For details of help to pay for your fees, please refer to the Study Assist website. ​​
Contact our Student Centre or call 1300 131 461 or (02) 9805 6444 with any questions or to learn more about your study options. You can also contact the Indigenous Unit. Changes in circumstances may impact upon the accuracy or currency of information. While AFTRS takes all due care to ensure that the information is accurate, it reserves the right to vary any information described here without notice.

Still from Birthday Boy by AFTRS Alumni Sejong Park, Academy Award Nominee 2005. Last updated October 16, 2017

Course Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and apply advanced knowledge of theory and practice as a professional and creative leader in their discipline.

  2. Critically evaluate and apply a deep understanding of cinematic storytelling to create audience-engaged work for the screen.

  3. Justify and implement a reflective creative practice that synthesises specialist knowledge, research and an understanding of personal process.

  4. Apply an adaptable skill set.

  5. Demonstrate an ability to lead, inspire and collaborate across diverse projects with a confidence in their creative voice and core value.

Admission Requirements

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection.

Candidates are required to submit the following:

1. Prerequisites

Applicants to postgraduate programs are required to hold a relevant undergraduate degree at bachelor level, or to have completed equivalent work experience and/or training.

The typical duration of a bachelor degree is 3-4 years, and candidates applying by degree equivalence are required to demonstrate they have achieved corresponding learning outcomes by completing a similar volume of relevant work experience and/or training. If you wish to apply for admission to a postgraduate program by degree equivalence, please contact the Student Centre.

2. Application Tasks

2.1 Reflective Task

Ed Catmull is President and co-founder of Pixar, which is arguably one of the most successful creative companies in the world. In his book, Creativity Inc., Catmull reflects upon the approach to management and creativity at Pixar, saying that:

“We believe that ideas only become great when they are challenged and tested.” Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.

Respond to this quote by describing your own creative process using one of your projects as a case-study (max.1000 words. Images can be used to support your written response (submit as PDF file).

2.2 Storyboard/Comic strip Task

Animators begin their training by animating a ‘bouncing ball’ using 12 principles of animation:

1. Squash and Stretch
2. Anticipation
3. Staging
4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
6. Slow In and Slow Out
7. Arc
8. Secondary Action
9. Timing
10. Exaggeration
11. Solid Drawing
12. Appeal

These principles enable us to empathise with animated characters. Create a 9-12 panel storyboard or comic strip to tell a visual story that anthropomorphises a bouncing ball character to tell a short story. You can use a range of techniques including collage, drawings and digital media (submit as PDF file or media file).

3. Audio-Visual Creative Statement

Make a 2 minute audio-visual work that presents who you are, as a creator; why you want to complete the MA Screen: Animation; and what you hope to get out of your time at AFTRS.

4. Creative Work

Your creative submission should demonstrate your best work. Be selective with your choices. We would like to see:

  • Examples of previous creative work that showcases your understanding storytelling and design (submit as media file via the Dropbox link provided).. Credits must be fully attributed including details about your specific role within the project (submit as PDF file).

5. Uploading your Documents and Media File

You will be able to upload your written documents and media file/s as part of the application process. Ensure you conform to the required file type and size specified as follows:

  • Written documents can be uploaded to the application portal and have a maximum of 10MB in size;
  • Media files under 50MB can be uploaded to the application portal;

When you are uploading your application in the AFTRS portal you will be able to upload PDF documents and some media files directly into the portal. Any media files larger than 50MB must be uploaded as follows:

  • Creative work must be uploaded to a dedicated, secure AFTRS Dropbox folder online. A hyperlink will be provided to you in an email when you complete the online application process.
  • Once you have uploaded your creative work to the Dropbox folder it will automatically be transferred into our database leaving the Dropbox empty. Do not upload the files again. Student Centre staff check all applications and will contact you if there are any files missing.

Go to this link if you need information on how to compress a media file.

6. Resume and Educational Qualifications

Provide a one-page list of your achievements, educational qualifications and work experience.

You must also provide a certified copy​ of your highest education level as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

7. Proof of Citizenship/Residency

Ensure you submit a certified copy​ of your birth certificate or passport as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

Selection Criteria

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection. The selection criteria are:

  • Demonstrated experience or skills relevant to discipline.

  • A distinct creative perspective.

  • A proven capacity for leadership and collaboration.

  • A willingness and capacity to engage in critical thinking, reflection and research.


This program is delivered over four semesters. Semesters 1 and 2 have four subjects. In Semester 3 students complete a major project. In Semester 4, students complete two subjects - Reflection, Professional Practice and a four week professional attachment.

Each semester is designed to lead you through a complete cycle of the creative process:

Semester 1 – Testing
Semester 2 – Developing
Semester 3 – Realising
Semester 4 – Reflecting

In Semester 1 and 2, you divide your time equally between specialist subjects and shared subjects to develop a skill-set that balances advanced specialist knowledge with creatively bold and conceptual approaches to practice.

The shared subjects are Creative Practice and Cinematic Storytelling. Creative Practice will challenge you to interrogate who you are as a practitioner, the creative choices you make and how these values, choices and processes sit in a wider cultural context. You will develop and articulate a practice-based area of creative enquiry that will drive and focus your produced work over the MAS. In Cinematic Storytelling, you will hone your mastery of cinematic language, critically evaluating cinematic story ideas and techniques through seminars, screenings and practical exercises.

In Semester 3, you will bring together your course learning in Final Project. In making a single or collaborative work, you will address and explore your area of creative enquiry and synthesise your knowledge of cinematic storytelling and specialist craft skills. You will also refine your skill-set in collaboration, creative leadership, problem-solving and entrepreneurialism.

In Semester 4, you will participate in Reflection and Professional Practice. Reflection supports you to evaluate and present your course experience and new knowledge. In Professional Practice, you look outwards to industry, evaluating the adaptability of your skill-set in contemporary and emerging media landscapes.
The course concludes with you participating in a four-week industry attachment in your discipline.
Graduates will be well equipped to serve as animator and visual effects practitioners forging careers in both current and future media landscapes.

The following subjects will be offered in the MA Screen – Animation and Visual Effects course.

Semester 1
Cinematic Storytelling A
Creative Practice A
Discipline Specific – Practice A
Discipline Specific – Theory A

Semester 2
Cinematic Storytelling B
Creative Practice B
Discipline Specific – Practice B
Discipline Specific – Theory B

Semester 3
Final Project

Semester 4
Professional Practice


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.