Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Screen Arts)

Programme summary  Career opportunities  Courses & timetables  Admission requirements

7, 360 3.0
Full-time for three years
Starts February
45 places
First round of interviews in early October
Mt Albert campus
Semester dates for 2014:
Semester 1: 24 February - 27 June; Semester 2: 21 July - 21 November

NZ$8586 (Approximate fee only, find out more about the costs of study)

International fees

Programme summary

Become equipped to begin a career as a film and television professional in cinematography, editing, sound, production, scriptwriting and directing. Work collaboratively with other students on a wide range of projects.

Have you always wanted to make movies? Have you considered a career in film and television? The Screen Arts (film and television) major has an emphasis on the creative and practical skills and knowledge you need for a career as a film and television professional in one of the following six specialisations: camera, directing, editing, production, scriptwriting or sound.

Develop the skills to participate in the making of work to a professional standard in your specialisation. Gain the ability to analyse your own work, interpret a variety of creative briefs and study the history, theory and critique of film and television. An important component of the programme is the opportunity to work in teams with students from other specialisations while still practising your own specialisation. This will help you understand what it means to work at a professional level and assist in forming important future collaborative relationships.


  • Practical projects: you'll work on high-quality practical exercises and projects (a mix of short documentaries, commercials, music/dance video, short films, experimental film and studio pieces) using current industry standards.
  • 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 making short films in the studio and on location.
  • Lecturers who are experienced film and television practitioners and educators: our staff have many years of industry experience.
  • Strong industry links: SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association), WIFT (Women in Film and Television), New Zealand Writers Guild, Screen Directors Guild, Entertainment Technology NZ, New Zealand Film and Video Technicians' Guild, New Zealand Cinematographers Society, Screen Education Alliance New Zealand and Creative Digital Content New Zealand.
  • Graduates who are regarded as highly employable by the film and television industries. They work on Hollywood blockbusters and local independent features, and produce prize-winning short films and documentaries in New Zealand and internationally.

You will have time to discover where your interests lie. In the first two years you'll explore the basic skills and techniques associated with film and television production such as camera, directing, editing, production, sound and scriptwriting, and gain an overview of the production process and key responsibilities.

By the end of Year Two, it will become clear through your achievements in various subjects and projects which discipline area(s) suits you the best. The last year will focus on your specialist area.


Aid the realisation of the director's vision onto the screen through lens choice, lighting, composition, camera movement, focus, filtration and exposure. Develop essential skills and knowledge by working creatively on a wide range of projects, and get trained for the film crew positions of camera operator, focus puller, data wrangler, gaffer, lighting assistant and grip.


You'll learn about the creative and technical side of directing, and also about text analysis, actor process, shaping performance, design and the associated technologies of film, including camera, sound and editing and what they contribute to the filmmaking process. You'll learn what it means to formulate and communicate a vision for a project, and lead a team with a variety of creative skills towards a common creative goal.


Gain practical, hands-on experience of film editing, from documentary through to feature film, and use the latest equipment and technology, which is being constantly updated to include new formats and techniques. You'll also learn the power of visual storytelling through screen grammar, the cut, and the use of effects and transitions.


You'll learn about production management, assistant directing and location managing in a variety of industry-modelled projects and workshops. You'll progressively learn to harness your organisational and communication skills as you keep the production moving according to set timelines and ensure that production deadlines are met. You'll plan ahead, trouble-shoot and pay close attention to detail as you assist the director and co-ordinate all production activity, supervising the cast and crew.


You will develop your writing skills in a practice-based course that offers in-depth knowledge of the craft and creative processes involved in writing for screen. A number of key areas of scriptwriting, including short films/plays (which increase in length and complexity), feature film treatments, soaps and sitcoms will be studied. Scripts may even be made into films.


Become involved in field recording and sound post-production, from basic introductory techniques, such as boom-swinging and mixing levels, to the rigours of dialogue replacement, FX editing and multiple microphone location recording. In your final year, you'll explore the creativity of the craft via challenging projects such as documentary and short film, and explorative studio work, including surround sound and video dance.


Around 100 people apply each year for the 45 places offered in Year One. The first round of interviews will take place in early October. From these interviews, the final selection of successful applicants is made for the following year.

Please note: If you're not sure that you're ready to audition for this highly competitive programme yet, please look at the Certificate in Communication and Media Arts.


Last edited: 05 September 2013