Skip to main content

Unit information: How Films and Television Programmes Work in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name How Films and Television Programmes Work
Unit code DRAMM0009
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mr. Metelerkamp
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Aimed at aspiring professional practitioners, the unit explores the techniques used in fiction film and documentary to make meaning, convey ideas, and create emotional responses. Among the areas covered are:

  • Short form structure and classical narrative
  • Alternative structures in short form films
  • How to analyse film sequences and structures
  • Sound and editing and their place in narrative
  • The frame and the shot  images and meanings
  • Genre and adaptation, and their uses and value to film-makers
  • Ways directors transform the script
  • Screen Dialogue on the page and in performance
  • Classic openings and endings in fiction film and documentary
  • Techniques in the realisation of screen pursuits and screen conflicts

The key aim of the unit is to offer students the tools to closely examining films as makers rather than as passive viewers, with a view to their being able to become self-directed learners, and to acquire the skills and undersandings available. This requires developing understandings in several overlapping areas:

  • The many and varied ways that the camera has been used to create a sense of the plausible and verifiable.
  • The function and uses of film sound, including music
  • Screen performance
  • Production design and its relationship with the other expressive elements of film realisation
  • Editing and Sound Design
  • Narrative conventions in fiction and documentary, and in short and long form
  • Close sequence analysis as a learning tool

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop useful practical skills in analysing screen material
  • Enrich their historical and cultural understanding
  • Develop understandings of tools in analysing films as practitioners
  • Develop understanding of key techniques in film craft and expression
  • Develop skills in critical reading and in relating reading to detailed observation and discussion
  • Understand key conventions in screen narrative and develop the analytical tools to apply them in their own work
  • Develop writing skills through the creation of a sequence analysis
  • Develop a deeper awareness of the connection between cultural production and social and cultural forces

Teaching Information

Lectures and seminars, student exercises.

Assessment Information

Tabulated and Annotated analytical timeline of feature film or feature-length TV documentary of the students choice (50%)
Tabulated and annotated sequence analysis of a single scene from a film or TV production of the students choice (50%)

Reading and References

Bergman, Ingmar (1989) The Magic Lantern (Penguin)
Leyda, Jay (1984), Film Makers Speak: Voices of Film Experience (Da Capo, New York)
Mackendrick, Alexander ( 2004) On film-making :an introduction to the craft of the director. (London : Faber, 2004
Mamet, David. (1992): On directing film. (New York ; London : Penguin)
McBride, Joseph (ed). c1983 Filmmakers on filmmaking :the American Film Institute seminars on motion pictures and television (Los Angeles : J.P. Tarcher ; Boston : Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Co)
Powell, Michael (1992) A Life in Movies (Mandarin)