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Unit information: Making Short Fiction Film in 2020/21

Unit name Making Short Fiction Film
Unit code FATVM0025
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. Milner
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit is based on making short fiction films for public exhibition. Teaching and learning cover:

  • Preparations for scripting, crewing and making short fiction films
  • The nature and purposes of fiction and the short-film audience for fiction
  • The function of design
  • Film music
  • Cinematography, lighting and the construction of mood
  • Screen performance and working with actors
  • The film development process  with a review of scripts and shooting plans

Students will work in small teams to make short fiction films on a defined theme and within clearly set objectives, leading to an analytical screening and review prior to distribution.

The key element of the unit is the opportunity for students to make a short fiction film. This affords the opportunity for engaging in the characteristic processes of creative work in this field, and to engage in individual and collective creative expression under appropriate guidance and within a supportive critical framework.
The unit will develop skills and awareness in the realisation of short-form fiction, and cover a range of areas, as appropriate to the projects produced in any one year.
These elements may include some or all of :

  • The pre-production process and the way it relates to the demands of particular productions
  • Sound recording
  • Screen performance
  • Production design and its relationship with the other expressive elements of film realisation
  • Cinematography
  • Editing and Sound Design

Intended learning outcomes

Students will have solid experiential awareness of key issues in the making of short fiction films, and practical skills enabling them to work at a professional level.
These will be supported by understandings of the wider context for short film, and generic issues in the making of fiction films.
Transferable skills cover research, planning, group work to deadline, and articulation and presentation of ideas in written, verbal, and audio-visual forms.

Teaching details

Bi-weekly lectures, seminar, screening, and workshops, supported by self-directed tasks where appropriate.

Assessment Details

Assessment: #1: Pre-production portfolio (40%) end of TB1

Assessment; #2: Final film and/or portfolio (60%) end of TB2

Reading and References

Bailey, Cameron (2010) Take 100: the future of film: 100 new Directors (Phaidon)

Stump, David (2014) Digital Cinematography: Fundamentals, Tools, Techniques and Workflows (Focal Press)

Mackendrick, Alexander (2006) On Film-making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director (Faber & Faber)

Mercado, Gustavo (2010) The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition (Focal Press)

Figgis, Mike. (2007) Digital Filmmaking (Faber & Faber)

Dmytryk, Edward (1988) Cinema: concept and practice (Focal Press)

Tarkovsky, Andrei (1989) Sculpting in Time (new edition – University of Texas Press)