Developing business skills for a bright future in screen arts

Learn how you can hone your business skills to be part of the next generation of screen leaders with a Masters at AFTRS.
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Sabine Brix

Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, producer or part of a production house working within the screen industry, fostering strong business skills is an integral part of furthering your career.

Peter Herbert is the Head of Screen Business at AFTRS and says the Master of Arts Screen: Business (MASB) is designed for students who have been working in the media industry for several years and want to advance their prospects.

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‘We have a wide range of people who are interested in the course because they want to know more about managing businesses, creating businesses and growing businesses within the company that they’re working in,’ Herbert said.

What distinguishes the MASB from other AFTRS courses is that it is less discipline specific and more focused on students’ individual interests in the business side of screen.

‘Typically a person will already have a job and see pathways or be looking for pathways that can take them to career satisfaction or independence,’ Herbert added.

Areas which course participants can work in cover a wide variety of screen based occupations, beyond just film and television, and there’s a strong  emphasis on technology.

Graduates might work in the areas of communication, marketing and distribution whether that be for screen content including a mobile platform or in post production or virtual reality.

The course is available to study full time (one year) or part time (two years) with online study available from 2021 in addition to face-to-face learning.

Some of the skills students gain include core knowledge and skills in entrepreneurial leadership, collaboration and team management, financial management and modeling, strategic innovation, and the development processes and associated business planning modeling for content and project creation, from inception through to realisation.

Technology and business collide for screen success

In a COVID world, where on-set production is not always possible, the Masters of Arts Screen Business has a strong focus on technology including dynamic virtual production.

Recent course graduates have worked on productions such as Disney’s The Mandalorian, which was made during COVID. They’ve also worked on VR projects and set up independent production companies that were pitched as part of the course.

‘We focus quite strongly on technology and innovation in the course as an important way of keeping pace with the rest of the world and also finding business opportunities,’ Herbert said.

‘We’ve had people who studied a piece of new technology and gone off and explored business opportunities directly in that technology, such as in VR or a blockchain application.’

The course concludes with a capstone project giving students the opportunity to focus on a specific project of interest to them, and showcasing their ability to present a project to a group of industry panelists from idea through to conception, which includes financial structures, timeframe and market segment.

‘It’s meant to be a full business case proposition as if you were pitching to investors – so we make it as realistic to the industry standard as possible,’ Herbert said.

‘We provide coursework, mentoring and research skills all focused on bringing out the best ideas that the students have and making them presentable as realisable projects,’ he concluded.

Applications for the 2021 Masters of Arts Screen: Business close on 11 December 2020.

Visit AFTRS to find out more about the Master of Arts Screen: Business.

About the author

Sabine Brix is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website Gay News Network.

She has produced sound art for BBC's Radio4  and composed music for the web series Starting From Now, which screened on SBS. This year she released her debut EP on the French electronic music label Parfé Records.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix