Programme overview

The Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Screen Arts), is a three year, full-time programme of study in which you will engage in a combination of creative, academic and practice-based courses designed to develop skills and qualities vital to the creative screen sector.

In Year One you will learn about the filmmaking process and industry as a whole, and the relationship between specialist skills, creative and critical thinking, and storytelling. From Year Two you will start to specialize, gaining depth in a particular area of the industry.

If you have done a short course or diploma at another institution and are considering further study, contact us about the possibility of cross-crediting into the BPSA.

Highlights

  • Participate in hands-on learning through film, television and small screen projects designed to emulate the real world.
  • Experience different crew models such as working in small, tight teams, as well as in full industrial crews, as you would on a television or film set.
  • The real world of performing and screen arts: work collaboratively with acting, dance, art department and costume students to gain real-world, on-set experience when working in the studio and on location.
  • Lecturers are experienced film and television practitioners.
  • Small class sizes in specialist areas allow for lecturers to mentor students.
  • Access to our equipment and facilities for 12 months after you graduate so you can continue to develop your projects and career.
  • Strong industry links: New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air, Film Auckland, Film New Zealand, Documentary NZ Trust, Story Edge, Transmedia New Zealand,  Nga Aho Whakaari, PIFT (Pacific Islanders in Film & Television) , Asia New Zealand Film Foundation, SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association), New Zealand Advertising Producers Guild, WIFT (Women in Film and Television), New Zealand Writers Guild, Screen Directors Guild, Entertainment Technology NZ, New Zealand Game Developers Association, New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild, New Zealand Cinematographers Society, Screen Education Alliance New Zealand and Creative Digital Content New Zealand.

Specialisation summary and modules taught

Camera and field sound

  • Cinematography Skills – including the roles of Director of Photography; Camera Operating; Camera Assisting/Focus Pulling; 2nd Assistant Camera role; Data Wrangling/ Video Assist role; Camera; Digital Sensor; Lens/Optics theory.
  • Lighting – Gaffer; Best Boy; Lighting Assistant roles - Daylight Control; Lighting Plans; Theatrical Lighting technique; Studio Lighting technique.
  • Director/Camera Collaboration – Blocking for Camera; Continuity; Shot Listing.
  • Location Recces – Shooting Approach; Health and Safety; Teamwork and Professional Practice.
  • Camera Movement – Grip; Assistant Grip roles - Dolly Track Laying; Crane/Jib operation.
  • New Technologies – Steadicam; UAV’s; Gyro rigs.
  • Color Grading Process.
  • Sound Theory – Physical Properties of Sound / Objective Sound / The Sound Field; Audio Recording Fundamentals; Mixer Fundamentals; Microphone Design; Signal Processing and Effects; Soundtrack Components.
  • Sound Recording technical and operational knowledge and skills – Production Sound Recording; Boom Operating; Sound Assistant roles; Location Recces and script breakdowns; Equipment Preparation and Maintenance.

Post production (editing and post production sound)

  • Technical Craft – Training in use of Adobe Premier and Avid Media composer; Introduction to codecs and formats; Comprehensive teaching around media management and file storage systems, including the AvidISIS server; Ingesting and transcoding media; Graphics, VFX and Green screen; Outputting final masters, Understanding post-production workflow.
  • Visual Craft: Mechanics/Theory of Editing – In depth exploration of how video editing works conceptually; When and how to cut, how cuts work and why; The creation of rhythm. Use of eye trace, graphic editing; Working with performance; Serving the story.
  • Soundtrack Craft for Post Production – Post Sound Roles and Pathways; Digital Audio Workstations and Non Linear Editing Systems; Sound Design; Sound Editing and Track Laying Foley and Voice Recording; Music for Picture; Mixing and Re-recording.

Production

  • Production Management – Includes training in all production paperwork and systems from preproduction through to post; production assisting and coordinating training, casting; creative management and problem solving; producing your own work; distribution.
  • Assistant Directing – 1st, 2nd and 3rd Assistant Director training; scheduling including training on EP Scheduler software.
  • Location Management and Scouting – Includes permits and contracts, technical and creative recceing, health and safety on set.

Screenwriting

  • Creative Writing – Short stories; the principles of story and character; generating ideas for stories and scripts; the importance of conflict in drama; finding your voice as a writer; researching for fiction-writing; creating story worlds.
  • Writing Craft – Scene writing; writing drama; writing short films; dialogue writing; genre as a writing tool; basic principles of writing for web series, television and transmedia; basic principles of writing for feature films and tele-movies.

BPSA practice-based subjects are complemented with a variety of electives and critical practice courses:

  • Contemporary International Cinema
  • New Zealand Cinema
  • Professional Practice
  • Audience Context and Interpretation
  • Story, Myth and Ritual
  • Acting for Non-Actors
  • Writing and Directing for the Theatre
  • Writing the Short Film
  • Documentary
  • Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen
  • Genre Studies.

Students interested in directing can participate in a series of electives throughout years 2 and 3: Skills in Directing.

Directing classes are a mixture of lectures, screenings and workshops:

  • Story – fundamentals of script analysis for screen; Directors breakdowns; Creating documents that reflect a director’s vision for a script; Audience relationship to story.
  • Performance – The actor / director relationship; Dialogue analysis; The development of dramatic moments; Understanding character; Methods for approaching scenes; Improvisation; Blocking with actors; Approaches to rehearsal; Casting / audition.
  • Visual Language – story telling in still image; exploration of texture and form; focus on the mise-en-scène elements of cinema; lens and movement; blocking and staging action for camera; creating an iconic image; post production approaches.
  • Collaboration – working with the writer; learning how to collaborate with key contributors in pre production; on set protocols and approaches; multi disciplinary collaborative approaches; collaborating with producer; exploring market collaborations.

Auditions and interviews

Over 100 people apply each year for the maximum 45 places offered in Year One. Interviews are carried out in batches from July through to October.

Please note: If you're not sure that you're ready to apply for this highly competitive programme, please look at the Certificate in Communication and Media Arts as a way to ready yourself for the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. A minimum of 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, with 14 credits at Level 3 or higher in each of two subjects from an approved subject list, with a further 14 credits at Level 3 or higher taken from no more than two additional domains on the National Qualifications Framework or approved subjects plus a minimum of 14 credits at Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the National Qualifications Framework, plus a minimum of 8 credits at Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori; a minimum of 4 credits must be in Reading and a minimum of 4 credits must be in Writing; OR
  2. At least 3 ‘C’ passes in the New Zealand University Bursaries Examinations; OR
  3. Successful completion of the Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga Level 3 with a relevant pathway, where appropriate;OR
  4. Certificate of University Preparation (Level 4); OR
  5. Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 4); OR
  6. Equivalent

Special Admission

Applicants must have: 

  1. attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence; AND 
  2. provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a potential successful outcome in the qualification. 

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language Requirements

Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in Reading, 4 in Writing).

English language entry requirements for international students for whom English is not their first language:

Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

a) Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;

b) Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:

  1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools with English as the language of instruction in countries with a student visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent:
    • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
    • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
  2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
  3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

c) Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:

  1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (Academic) (Level 4)
  2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form.
  3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 550 (essay 5 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 60 (writing 20)
  4. University of Cambridge English Examinations: First Certificate in English (FCE), or FCE for schools, or CAE, or CPE with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill
  5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 50.

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

Specific Admission

  1. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required for all applicants. The interview/audition stage shall consist of a combination of demonstrations and ex-ercises requiring the applicant to demonstrate his or her ability to carry out specific tasks individually and as part of a group. The exact nature of the tasks involved will be related to the major of the degree into which the student is seeking entry, and will be notified to applicants at least 14 working days prior to the interview/audition.
  2. A completed medical declaration must be submitted for all applicants. A student cannot be admitted to the Degree if they have a medical condition that will impact on their ability to participate in the physical and practical aspects of the selected major.

Discretionary Admission

Applicants may be granted Discretionary Admission if for they have, for example:

  • a history of experience and/or employment in a field related to performing or screen arts;
    OR
  • evidence of ability in a related programme of study.

Courses and timetables

Please check back in December for timetable information for 2017.

CoursesCreditsAim
Film & Television 1A (PASA5301) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to gain a practice-based understanding of fundamental theories, concepts and techniques associated with film & television technology and production. The course focuses on collaboration and establishing the habits and methods appropriate to production work in six key production areas. There is also a focus on health and safety in the workplace.
Film & Television 1B (PASA5302) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to acquire a wide range of basic skills, knowledge and practices in the development, production and technologies of screen works. The course focuses on developing professional self-management approaches for production work through practice in a specialist role as well as developing the student?s ability to identify personal areas of their own creative development.
Screen Basics 1A (PASA5311) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to practically employ film and television technologies in the creative process of screen production work. This course focuses on working collaboratively across a range of discipline areas and establishing habits and methodologies appropriate to the profession.
Screen Basics 1B (PASA5312) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to employ fundamental theories, concepts and techniques in practice-based settings to develop their creativity and artistic growth through experiential exploration of film and television technologies and processes. This course continues to work collaboratively across a range of discipline areas and focusses on establishing habits and methodologies appropriate to the profession.
Storytelling, Myth & Ritual (PASA5901) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to develop a broad understanding of the major concepts of storytelling in terms of mythic constructs, rituals and symbols in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment. This course provides a foundation for the development of specialist Performing and Screen Arts literacies such as reading media texts and interpreting creative ideas among students from all disciplines of the programme. There is also a focus on the whakapapa of storytelling in Aotearoa placed within a noho marae learning environment.
Professional Development 1 (PASA5902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to the basic professional practices associated with the performing and screen arts industries and their own professional development. This course focuses on building capability for students in self-management, communication and presentation, as well as academic literacies such as text analysis and academic writing.
History of Cinema (PASA5961) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine and reflect upon the historical development of cinematic languages and theories in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment. This course focuses on placing selected movements and developments of production and performance in the context of the student?s specialist discipline. There is a focus on experiencing festival and world cinema through field trips and site visits.
CoursesCreditsAim
New Zealand Cinema (PASA6304) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to locate New Zealand films in their historical, social and political contexts and to explore the role they play in constructing or reflecting national and/or cultural identity.
Camera & Sound (Screen Technologies) 2A (PASA6333) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to increase understanding of specialised theories, concepts, techniques and technologies for camera and screen sound. The course focuses on evolving a personal methodology that will give expression to individual creative development and practice.
Editing & Sound (Post-Production Technologies) 2A (PASA6343) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to increase understanding of specialised theories, concepts, techniques and technologies for editing and post-production sound. This course focuses on evolving a personal methodology that will give expression to individual creative development and practice.
Screen Development & Production 2A (PASA6355) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to increase understanding of specialised theories, concepts and techniques for screen development and production. This course focuses on evolving a personal methodology that will give expression to individual creative development and practice in the two areas of writing and production.
Audience, Context & Interpretation (PASA6901) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine the ways in which the creator/performer communicates with their audience in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment which includes an artist hui at Te Noho Kotahitanga marae. This course focuses on understanding through the analysis of the modes of address and conventions of representation and interpretation commonly associated with performing and screen arts culture.
Professional Development 2 (PASA6902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to utilise a range of concepts that will enhance their ability to operate independently as professionals in the creative industries. The course includes a focus on establishing a personal approach for each student to professional practices within a bi-cultural context.
CoursesCreditsAim
Contemporary International Cinema (PASA7301) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine local and global perspectives and issues influencing the continuing evolution of media screen production and develop the ability to apply critical judgement to creative decisions. This course employs a noho marae to allow students to evaluate and develop responses to cultural/political perspectives as an emergent creative arts practitioner.
Screen Projects (PASA7304) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS)To provide students with a practical learning experience in which they can employ advanced theories, concepts and techniques in specialised screen creative practice for. This course focuses on enabling students to consolidate their ability to create and realise complex screen work in a variety of contexts. There is also a focus on the ability of students to critically evaluate their own performance.
Professional Development 3 (PASA7902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to transition into the industry by acquiring advanced professional development skills. This course focuses on setting personal and professional goals for academic and professional achievement as well as the business and management practices associated with the performing and screen arts profession.
CoursesCreditsAim
Skills in Screen Directing 2A (PASA6253) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to specialised theories, concepts and techniques for directing. This course focuses on enabling students to practically engage with skills in directing for screen media.
Camera & Sound 2B (PASA6334) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for specialised camera and sound technologies needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Editing & Sound Post-Production 2B (PASA6344) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for specialised editing and post-production sound technologies needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Scriptwriting 2B (PASA6356) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to develop works for the screen and to achieve creative and technical standards that demonstrate professionalism. This course is designed to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for writing needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Screen Production 2B (PASA6376) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for production needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions. This course is designed to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for production needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Negotiated Creative Project 1 (PASA6605) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to engage practically in a theatre and/or screen production project in a negotiated role using a variety of individual and collaborative approaches. This course provides a practical environment for students to engage in collaborative creative projects from their own specialist perspective.
Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen (PASA6911) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop a theoretical and practical understanding of evolving digital content platforms, in order to reconceive processes for entertainment content creation and delivery into an evolving future.This course focuses on giving a hands-on experience to participants in workshop and classroom exercises
CoursesCreditsAim
Writing the Short Film (PASA7257) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To acquire the theoretical, creative and technical skills required to develop short scripts for the screen (or associated medium).
Camera and Sound 3 (PASA7331) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge, technologies and practices for camera and sound. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
Editing & Sound (Post-Production) 3 (PASA7341) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge, technologies and practices for editing and sound design. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
Screen Production 3 (PASA7371) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to establish a critical understanding of advanced skills, knowledge and practices for screen production. This course focuses on students employing professionalism in creative and collaborative practice while developing the ability to critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
Documentary Filmmaking (PASA7392) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To interact effectively and professionally in creative partnership with creative production staff and production crews to realise production of original/selected documentary material. This course focuses on giving a hands-on experience to participants in workshop and classroom exercises.
Theatre Design Management Fundamentals (PASA7737) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to understand, explore and demonstrate skills and techniques relating to the design and management of of a Live performance production.