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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 31/03/2022 14:43:32

Title of Module: The Short Film (Fiction)

Code: FILM08004 SCQF Level: 8
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Shaun  Hughes

Summary of Module

This Module provides an introduction to the making of short fiction films. It serves to introduce students both to filmmaking practice in general – its language, techniques and professional working methods – and to the short film as a specific form in its own right.

The approach of the module is practical. Students will take part in the production of a short film project that they conceive, develop and execute in small groups. The production process will be supported by lectures, seminars and/or workshops that outline key aspects of filmmaking practice and provide students with an opportunity to experiment before launching into their main project.

The focus of the module is on the creative challenge of making interesting and effective short films, not on technical or craft skills. Basic technical familiarity with camera, sound and editing equipment (both hardware and software) is assumed.

Key content includes:

  • Structure and form in the short film
  • Mise-en-scène: storytelling with the camera
  • Working with actors
  • Different approaches to developing characters and scripts (including devising and improvisation)

This module introduces filmmaking and screenwriting students to short film practice, and leads on to Digital Filmmaking A and B (Level 9).

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Originate, plan and create (or contribute to the creation of) a short fiction film for cinema to professional standards.

L2. Apply a range of research to both the development of a project idea and the process of its creation.

L3. Apply an understanding of the social, contemporary, historical and economic context they are working in to their projects.

L4. Demonstrate creativity in solving problems.

L5. Reflect critically on their own and others creative practice with recourse to expert advice.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 8.

Demonstrate and/or work with:

An understanding of the different roles involved in creative fiction film production, and the ways in which they collaborate.

An appreciation of the wide range of creative methods used by film directors and screenwriters to develop characters, situations and stories.

A discerning understanding of some of the ways in which short fiction films differ from feature films, both aesthetically and economically.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:

In using a range of professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with short fiction film production.

In using a few skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are advanced or complex in relation to fiction film production.

In carrying out routine lines of enquiry, development or investigation into professional level problems and issues.

To adapt routine practices of fiction film production within accepted standards.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of fiction film production.

Use a range of approaches to formulate and critically evaluate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems and issues associated with short fiction film production.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills associated with short fiction film production, for example:

Convey complex information about short fiction film production to a range of audiences and for a range of purposes.

Use a range of standard software programmes associated with short film production and post-production.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level in short film production.

Exercise managerial responsibility for the work of others and for a range of resources.

Practise in ways that show awareness of own and others’ roles, responsibilities and contributions when carrying out and evaluating tasks.

Work, under guidance, with others to acquire an understanding of current professional practice.

Manage, under guidance, ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The focus of the teaching and learning methodology will be to deliver a blended learning experience, using a combination of online learning materials, group mentoring sessions, workshops, demonstrations, and lectures, while providing extensive practical hands on experience of short fiction film production in a group.

Both core staff and guest lecturers are actively involved in the film industry in various roles, and their approach to teaching is informed by their own practice and/or research. Throughout, students are encouraged to take a problem-solving approach to the aesthetic and pragmatic decisions involved in filmmaking, and to learn from their mistakes as well as their successes, in line with the principles of inquiry-based learning.

Students are encouraged to reflect on the way in which their own experience of practical filmmaking relates to different historical traditions, and to position their work in relation to contemporary European and international film practice.

Group-based work will lead to the creation of a short film, while students will also have the opportunity to complete a series of individual filmmaking exercises and to pitch their ideas for creative projects.

Extensive formative feedback will occur throughout the module, with students receiving peer and tutor feedback on their work in progress at regular intervals.

The Short Film will exploit E-Learning through the use of our VLE, Moodle, thus freeing up contact time for creative teamwork.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery6
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity18
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop12
Personal Development Plan12
Asynchronous Class Activity40
Independent Study112
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Cooper, Pat and Dancyger, Ken. (1994) Writing the Short Film. Burlington; Focal Press.

Yorke, John. (2013) Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them. Penguin Books

Johnson, Claudia H. (2015) Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect. 4th Edition; Focal Press

Rabiger, Michael & Hurbis-Cherrier, Mick. (2013) Directing, Film Techniques and Aesthetics. 5th Edition; Focal Press.

McKendrick, Alexander (2005). On Filmmaking: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director. New York: Faber and Faber.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorGill Jamieson
External ExaminerAlex Nevill
Accreditation DetailsScreenSkills
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Working in a group to produce a short film and accompanying portfolio, from concept to finished work (100%)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of practical workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark10024
Combined Total For All Components100% 24 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.