Course Location
Sydney On-Campus
2018 Master of Arts Screen: Directing
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, 2018. 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.


A director is a storyteller who brings together the strengths of fellow practitioners in cinematography, screenwriting, editing, composing, sound design, animation and performance to craft a whole screen experience for an audience. In our digital world, the skills and capabilities demanded of the director are increasingly complex.

The MA Screen: Directing course, which is unique in its structure, offers you the opportunity to master your directing skill-sets through a series of intensive workshops, cross-disciplinary collaborations and mentorships. You will be challenged to interrogate and contextualise your individual process and practice, reflecting on past works, both literary and cinematic. The aim of the course is to give you the context and opportunity to resolve and evolve your voice as a professional director, and to hone your understanding of your directorial vision within collaborative environments.


Throughout your first year, you will drill deep into your craft, develop rigour and strive for excellence. Industry practitioners will contribute to the coursework program, providing insights into their practice. In small, cross-disciplinary groups, you will collaborate with your Masters colleagues to develop an adaptable, creative skill-set and a shared vocabulary for cinematic storytelling. 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.


You will be given the opportunity to develop your practice and career path as a screen director. You will gain access to world-class mentors, lecturers and practitioners, and you will enjoy first-hand insight into, and experience of the professional life of a director at a complex and sophisticated level.

You will be provided with space, time, support and resources to evolve your process and practice of your own creative work. Through collaboration, which is a fundamental and crucial part of your working life as a director, you will have the opportunity to work with other highly skilled creatives including cinematographers, writers, producers, designers and editors across several workshops and projects to realise your vision. These multiple opportunities will facilitate the development of ongoing working relationships, which are valued hallmarks of the AFTRS vision and culture.


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


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.

Last updated October 16, 2017


Timetable information will be provided shortly.

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.

Applicants 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 Original Project Online

Propose an ambitious project idea in terms of character, form, place, theme or narrative. There are no limitations to format - it may be a feature film, TV series, online web series, a VR or AR project or it may have several interconnected iterations. Please provide a 1 line statement, a 1 paragraph synopsis and a 1-2 page long synopsis (submit as PDF file) and:

2.2 Director’s Vision Statement

A 2-3 page directors’ vision statement for this project (submit as PDF file). Elements to consider include:

  • Casting: Actors, non-actors, dancers, singers, comedians etc.
  • Performance: How you might work with performers? Your rehearsal plan?
  • Space: How will space be created and understood by your audience?
  • Tone and Atmosphere: How will you sensitise your audience?
  • Point of View/Genre: How will you narrate your story?
  • Sound and Music : How will sound and music function in your film?
  • Production Strategy: How production values contribute to the meaning of the film?
  • Rhythm: How will the editing style contribute to the meaning of the film?

3. Audio-Visual Creative Statement

Make a 2 minute audio-visual work that presents who you are.

How do you express your ideas? What stories do you want to tell and why? How do you collaborate with other creative practitioners?

There is no set form here, you can record a piece to camera or make a work that expresses these ideas (submit as media file).

4. Creative Work

Your creative submission should demonstrate your best work. Be selective with your choices - we would like to see 3 examples of your work as a director that most effectively demonstrates your creative point of view and your technical and craft skills.

These works can include any format: fiction, non-fiction or a mixture; linear or nonlinear, and film, video or other digital and online forms (submit as media file).

Clearly outline your role on the work submitted in your portfolio (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

Please 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 a document.

7. Proof of Citizenship/Residency

Please 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 a document.

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. 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 two shared subjects: Research and Development and Cinematic Storytelling. Research and Development challenges you to interrogate who you are as a practitioner, the creative choices you make and how these choices 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.

The following subjects will be offered in the MA Screen: Screenwriting course:

Semester 1
1. Cinematic Storytelling A
2. Research and Development A
3. Discipline Specific - Practice A
4. Discipline Specific - Theory A

Semester 2
5. Cinematic Storytelling B
6. Research & Development B
7. Discipline Specific - Practice B
9. Discipline Specific - Theory B

Semester 3
10 Final Project

Semester 4
11. Professional Practice
12. Reflection


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.