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MCH3090 : Film Practice Project

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Geetha Jayaraman
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Evripidis Karydis
  • Lecturer: Dr Ian McDonald, Ms Lucy Jolly, Dr Alastair Cole, Mr Simon Rushton, Ms Carol Lynn
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 40
ECTS Credits: 30.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module will explore the concept of practice-based research and enable students to engage in a crew-based documentary film production. The output will be in the form of an audio-visual documentary piece/film (length 15-20 mins) accompanied by a written production critique. The ambition is to equip students to produce short films that are of high technical and aesthetic quality to be submitted for exhibition at local and regional film festivals.

Building on experience from Levels 4 and 5, students have the opportunity to concentrate on the more advanced image-making capabilities of the filmmaking tool kit and will be encouraged to take audio-visual risks. Students will also be encouraged to engage with the management of more substantial and sophisticated production.

This module aims to:
- Enable students to obtain a comprehensive understanding of research techniques applicable to their own work in terms of both written, research-based and practice-based outputs.
- Develop practice-based abilities both in technical areas and in terms of production roles for documentary-making, which will be in line with professional production standards.
- Enable students to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and to act autonomously within a team, in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.
- Enable students to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively and communicate clearly through their research to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
- Enable students to work in groups and employ initiative, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.
- Enable students to work in groups (and as solo-filmmakers if circumstances dictate, eg in line with public health guidance) and employ initiative, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations.

Outline Of Syllabus

This syllabus is divided into three sections, which are developmental. The first section will reflect on the notion of the reflective practitioner, where students approach filmmaking as a practice-based form of research. The process of writing about filmmaking as a critical and creative reflective practice begins with students submitting their film project proposal. Students will also be expected to pitch their project to a tutor who will then decide which of the films will be ‘commissioned’. Students will then form production crews (or if circumstances dictate, proceed as solo-filmmakers) to work on the selected project. The proposals are formally assessed (10%) at the end of semester 1 while the Green Pitch is assessed (10%) during the pitching session.

The second section is the main period of independent study and production work with students working in their crews (or as solo filmmakers if circumstances dictate) to shoot and edit their footage. The film will be worth 70% of the total marks.

The third section involves the students individually reflecting on their work and writing up their production critique (10%).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials222:0044:00Reading List
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00On-campus lecture presentations. Can take place online if public health guidelines dictate.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials222:0044:00Viewing List
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion188:0088:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice144:0044:00Skills refreshment for the particularities of the project.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Two hours of Pre-Production Prep session and Tech session in Sem 1 followed by two hours of Production and Tech session in Sem 2 concluded by two hours of Post Production and Tech session in Sem 2.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops34:0012:00On-campus workshops - three rounds of pitching - the final the Green Pitch is the assessed pitching.
Guided Independent StudyProject work1220:00220:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity144:0044:00Crit sessions between crews
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision61:006:00On-campus supervision but can take place online if public health guidelines dictate.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study144:0044:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk122:0022:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module will begin with Lectures interspersed with workshops that are the Pitching sessions. At the end of the Green Pitch (first assessment), projects are green lit and the crews are confirmed. The projects then are allotted a supervisor each. The second assessment 'Proposal" is then completed in Sem 1. The first semester also involves the first Prep session and first Tech session that each group gets at this Pre production stage, outside of supervisory meetings. At the same time in the first semester, practical information about accessing information and its management, making contact with those involved in the research fieldwork and production skills will be delivered through formal lectures, practical sessions and group learning.

In the second semester the Prep and Tech sessions for the Production phase and Post Production phase takes place. The supervisor will at various times in the semester meet with the students both formally and informally to provide support, advice and specialist research and practice-based knowledge. Each session adopts the most appropriate format to address the particular needs of the groups.

Students will work as a 4-member-crew, and the norm is for the crew to have not less than 3 and no more than 5 members. Every student is entitled to 6 hours of supervision and therefore typically a four-member crew will get 24 hours of supervision. The sessions will involve the reading and feedback of work-in-progress, assemblies and cuts, as well as a draft of the production critique.

Note - the student will switch to individual productions if public health guidelines dictate. Lecture presentations will be on campus but can be switched to online if public health guidelines dictate.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation1M1015-20 min Presentation - The Green Pitch
Research proposal1M10The Film-Research Proposal
Design/Creative proj2A7015-20 min documentary film
Reflective log2A10Reflective log and critique
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessments enable the students to demonstrate their intellectual grasp of the aesthetics and politics of the non-fiction film production and to illustrate this through a film project - a 15-20-minute film. Given the emphasis on practice, the production of the finished film forms the major part of the assessment, but the film project proposal, the pitching sessions and the reflective production critique provide the students an opportunity to articulate the theoretical and methodological considerations that informed their practice with a confidence to present to a professional body.

Reading Lists