Course Location
Sydney On-Campus
2018 Master of Arts Screen: Production Design
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.


The MA Screen: Production Design offers you the opportunity to collaborate as a creative practitioner and storyteller with your colleagues in directing, producing, cinematography, editing, screenwriting, composing, sound design, animation and interactive media. You will be a member of a creative team and pursue your own artistic identity against the backdrop of the best of the global industry.

You will explore new platforms and technologies involving production design concepts, practices and skills. You will engage in meaningful, creative collaborations and you will encounter opportunities within the discipline of screen design and the screen culture community at large.


The MA Screen: Production Design requires you to create a design framework and approach for a screen project, collaborating with peers to tell stories in visual and spatial terms. The program advances skills of interpretation, awareness and observation that support creative storytelling, and pairs this learning with the logistical thinking necessary for a career designing and art directing for screen.

We encourage you to completely immerse yourself in the world of production design, fully utilising the program to develop your own individual artistic interests and passions. You practise formulating ideas, interpreting texts and originating stories, and collaborating with students in other disciplines. You are supported to collaborate on screen projects, develop a strong creative practice and advance your research skills.

Industry practitioners will contribute to the coursework program, providing insights to their practice. In small, cross-disciplinary groups, you will collaborate with your fellow students 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.


This intensive course offers production designers, art directors and artists the opportunity to be immersed in the study of screen design and the forces that are inspiring the generation of ideas in this transforming creative medium. Digital visualisation technology is opening up new and exciting methods for screen designers to communicate and express their ideas, supporting screen stories in ever-increasing ways. You will be given a chance to expand your practice and develop your capacity to contribute creatively to the screen design industry and screen 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 available 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.

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 Visual Interpretation of Text
  • Read text provided here Wonder Inc. by Sarah-Jane McAllen, based on Chris Womersley’s A Lovely and Terrible Thing.

  • Interpret story, themes and meaning.

  • Develop visual approach to story.

Provide the following to communicate your visual approach:

  • A Concept illustration

  • The concept illustration can be created using digital painting, such as Photoshop, photomontage, traditional painting or drawing or a combination of any of these techniques:
  • A colour script indicating the use and transition of colour throughout the story (maximum 3 to 5 pages - submit as PDF file).

2.2 Production Design Analysis

Watch The Bronze Mirror film here.

In 500 words (maximum), describe the importance of the bronze mirror object to the telling of the story and to the visual approach of the film.

Provide 3 existing images of the object in context either a still from the film, or image from your own research (submit as PDF 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 Production Design; and what you hope to get out of your time at AFTRS (submit as media file).

4. Creative Work

Your creative submission should demonstrate your best work. Please be selective with your choices; 2 to 3 examples of the work that most effectively demonstrates your creative point of view and your technical and craft skills (submit as media file).

This includes fiction, non-fiction or a mixture; linear or nonlinear, and film, video or other digital and online forms. 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 documents.

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 documents.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Demonstrated experience or related 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 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.