Master of Fine Arts.

Master of Fine Arts
Two years, part-time only
ID number: 71777 (level 9)

in Motion Picture Medium and related industries


The MFA offers the mature student an opportunity to master the knowledge to create and monetise high quality, engaging narratives that entertain local audiences.

In addition to developing students’ capacity on a feature-length scale, the AFDA MFA provides the film, television and entertainment industries with research results on the development of local audience groups, production systems, and strategies to grow the market.


The MFA student selects a research topic within a specialist field.  The aim of the research is to providet a tangible contribution in the field of specialisation that can directly impact on the growth and development of the local entertainment industries.

Students are required to keep a learning journal in which they reflect on the learning process and the insights they gain, both in terms of research practice and their experiential learning during production.

Professional Practice: Students can choose the MFA in one of two elective streams:

  1. Story Adaptation and Screenplay

  2. Production - Motion Picture  Medium

The production outcomes for the Story Adaptation and Screenplay stream offer the following:

  1. The adaptation of an existing narrative

  2. The development of an original narrative into:

    • full length feature film script, or a

    • pilot and second episode of a television series, and a written outline for the series.

The screenplay or teleplay is reviewed by:

  1. Recognised industry experts and/or

  2. A pitch to a panel of producers.

The aim of the pitch is to have the production commissioned for production.

The production outcomes for the Production stream are the following:

  1. The development, preproduction, production, post-production and public exhibition of a feature-length (48 – 90 minute) production for one of the following:

    1. A narrative feature film

    2. A documentary

    3. A television series pilot, and first episode

    4. The equivalent of a feature length entertainment production for distribution and exhibition on new media platforms

    5. A combination of 3 special projects, drawn from the following list:

      • A short narrative film (24 minutes duration)

      • A pilot for a television series or novella

      • Three commercials

      • A short documentary (24 minutes duration)

      • A factual entertainment TV project of 48 minutes duration

Students will collaborate with other AFDA MFA students on their production outcomes. Alternatively, a student may participate in a professional production to achieve the above, provided that all the rules and regulations pertaining to AFDA production assessments are adhered to in full.

The MFA is offered as a part time degree, over two years. Students who choose to take it on a full-time basis, are able to complete the course in one year.


If you have a Postgraduate Honours (or 4th year equivalent) degree in a related field and/or ten years in a key capacity in the industry, you can make an RPL (First Time) application for a MFA degree. You will have to submit a portfolio to demonstrate that you have the relevant intellectual and craft skills for the AFDA curriculum. Either discipline or core course bridging might be required.


Production Department



Your interest in screenwriting means you have a love for stories; strong origination skills; a desire to generate meaning, connect with the world, and the ability to ponder the human condition, with all its faults, promise, purpose and ironies. A love for the written word, for precision in how you express yourself, a journalistic drive to discover new experiences and to research them in order to ensure facts which makes the story legitimate, an active, healthy imagination, and a strong desire to recognize and discover YOURSELF and all your tensions.


A screenwriter may write for a variety of media formats including the feature film, television drama series, sitcoms, miniseries, the made-for-TV-movie, narrative-driven commercial advertisements, new media entertainment formats like the web series and narrative-driven video-games. Screenwriters are also in high demand for offering their skills as script consultants and story editors for projects in development. If you can tell a structured story that can elicit an emotional response from audiences and readers and which can provoke thoughts and persuade our



With an interest in producing, you're a good all-rounder and back-room operator; are entrepreneurial; you have good organisational and people skills, the ability to deal with change and pressure; a good problem-solver and the ability to think on your feet; are an assertive decision-maker and good finisher. You will learn how to put together a creative team to translate the script into a film – hiring writers, directors, key crew members all with a view to making a film that will attract and engage with a large target market AND MAKE MONEY!


Executive producer: Learning how to finance and market films. TO MAKE MONEY.; Line producer: preparing budgets, schedules, making sure the film is made on time and on budget.; Production Manager / Production Co’ordinator / Production Supervisor / Production Secretary / Production Assistant / Unit Manager / Location manager / Production Accountant are all part of the production department.



With an interest in directing, you are a true leader with a passion for story and storytelling, with good conceptual skills and the ability to originate ideas; independent and collaborative work ethic; ability to manage and communicate with other experts; vision orientated, dogmatic yet flexible; have the ability to think on your feet and make assertive decisions focussed on audience dreams and expectations. An avid reader with an interest in the country you live in, reflecting society back to itself; The ability to inspire others and funnel all creative ideas into a singular vision, you can translate a script to a completed film, working with creative talent, crew and cast to produce a film that will engage with the widest possible audience. You have a writing and/or artistic background with good conceptual skill and the ability to originate ideas; independent and collaborative work ethic; ability to manage and communicate with other experts; vision orientated, dogmatic and flexible; have the ability to think on your feet and make assertive decisions focussed on audience dreams and expectations. You can translate a script to a completed film, working with creative talent, crew and cast to produce a film that will engage with the widest possible audience.


Directing for: Film, Television, Commercials, Music Videos, Documentaries, Corporate Videos / Assistant Director (1st/2nd/3rd) / Set PA / Script Supervisor

Animation Directing:

(Offered only at Johannesburg campus)

In Animation directing you can create your own world without the limitations that live action have and do the impossible. An artistic background helps and so does a strong work ethic and patience as animations do take time. The animator usually needs to create their own scripts so good writing skills should be cultivated and reading helps. Having a sketchbook at hand to illustrate for future reference is expected. Animators usually agree that the time it takes to complete an animation makes the end product so much more rewarding.


Animation is varied and there are many different fields an animation director can work in. From 2D flash animation to 3D realism to sand animation, the scope is endless. An animator can animate in a variety of formats, television series, commercials, web based animated series, video games etc. Animators are also often used for their storyboarding skills in the live entertainment industry.

Image Production Department



With their knowledge of cinematography, the Cinematographer or Director of Photography has a leading creative role in the film and TV industry. You work as a collaborator to bring the directors script and vision to the screen. Using the latest digital cameras, lenses and lights – as used in the film industry - the AFDA cinematographer works with camera placement, perspective plus camera movement to realise the determined visual style of the film. Lighting is central to a cinematography – determining the look and mood of the film. A” visual eye “ and a passion for cinema a must. As a head of department the cinematographer must be both a team player and quickly develop leadership skills to efficiently manage the camera team.


The cinematographer has the best job in the world! At AFDA we train our cine students as a head of department – namely as a Director of Photography. We equip our students to enter the film and TV industries to work on feature films, commercials,, documentaries and music films. Possible career paths: Operator / Steady Cam operator / Ariel operator / Underwater operator / hot head operator / 1st Assistant camera / 2nd assistant camera /clapper loader / camera truck assistant / video take off assistant / DIT wrangler all part of the camera team.

Data Management:


With their knowledge of data management, the role of the digital technician / data manager has evolved due to the arrival of digital acquisition. The digital cameras output a huge amount of valuable data in pictures and sound which is managed from camera through to editing. The data manager determines the digital workflow and safe backup of all material.


The film industry has a high demand for trained data managers – this in large determined by production insurance to ensure that the valuable content is managed throughout the production cycle.

Image Grading & Enhancement:


The colourist or picture grader works with the cinematographer before, during and after the shoot. Together they ensure that the determined look, colour and exposure is brought via the editing process to the screen.

The freelance colourist works at an online editing facilty at the final editing stage.

Screen Design Department

Production Design:


Production Design Is the study of art and design in film production, what it means to be in the art department and therefore responsible for conceptualizing and fabricating the entire visual world for a film and its settings.

Production Designers generally have an artistic or conceptual background; love all things aesthetic (fashion, design, architecture, archeology, anthropology, imaging); have the ability to abstract, visualize, collaborate, manage schedules, budgets and a team of personnel; and are able to execute tasks in the present (on set), the future (preparing the next set) and past (clearing, returning and reconciling).

This role demands a great work ethic on a conceptual and practical level as well as a strong curiosity about the world, it's environments and how people use, decorate and alter them to live, play or work in whatever way the story requires.

The design of a film production can and must powerfully enhance the viewers' experience, whether the film needs spectacular and expressive or subtle and realistic solutions the design will respond visually to the themes and genre of the work.

All Visual elements of the world must inform the viewer in terms of the various characters' society, geographic location, class and status, as well as further emphasizing and nuancing their roles in the narrative through visual changes.

In order to help express the concepts and events in the film the Production Designer needs to be aware of visual strategies used previously in film, television and other media as well as art historical and contemporary popular trends in representation.

Through the process of conceptualizing and referencing the Designer decides what the environments need to look like, proposes this to the production team and/or client, then does research on what locations and elements are available,
refining their design according to these factors as well as budget and schedule.
Many different skills and processes can be involved in the design execution of a film production and need to be managed and co-ordinated: from the construction of sets to sourcing or fabrication of specialized props to the dressing of sets with decor and other smaller items, making up of graphics or texturing walls with paint to age them.

The Production Designer brings all of these processes together and adds visual meaning to the story, through the manipulation of found locations or the construction of in-studio sets using the principles of spatial arrangement, colour pallettes, textures and appropriate representational elements
the space in front of the camera comes alive through design.


The art department is a major employer of crew members in South Africa and abroad, skilled and hard-working people are working all the time on big and small productions making all kinds of crazy things possible, from big production sets to small props.
Specialties in art department (apart from Makeup and Wardrobe) include: Production Designer, Art Director, Assistant Art Director, Art Department Co-ordinator, Architectural Draftsman, Props Master, Props Specialist, Props Stand-By, Set Construction Foreman, Set Builder/Carpenter, Set-Dresser, Scenic-Painter, Sourcing Specialist and more.

Costume Make-up and Styling:


The cognitive, socio-psychological approach to the costume, makeup and styling design of fictional character dress through effective design of costume, accessories, make-up, special effects make-up and hair. Designs are focussed on affecting a target film viewing market with a strong focus on industry standard pre-visualization techniques. Students complete a range of conceptual, perceptual and concrete projects that utilizes print, portfolio and social media platforms in order to market and advertise their growth and capabilities to their intended market place.


The curriculum is strongly focussed on research, analysis and structuring of fictional characters that persuasively communicates in all entertainment outcomes such as film, television, theater, music, fashion or media.


Post Production



With an interest in editing, you're a good all-rounder; have a knack and understanding of semiotics; passion for language construction and storytelling, manipulation and arrangement of images; you are comfortable with technology; able to work with people, deal with change, deadlines and arduous challenging work hours. You are a good communicator with an ability to problem solve both during the Production phase as Script Supervisor and as Editor in the Post production phase. You are capable of seeing and voicing all sides of an argument and enjoy discovering new facts around social and cultural issues. You love watching a good film several times, have an eye for detail and enjoy a good battle of wits and guessing the ending of films before anyone else.


Careers in Editing are often categorised either as working primarily with picture or sound, such as Supervising Picture Editor or Supervising Sound Editor. At AFDA's Editing Department we concentrate on the Picture editing field and Sound editing falls within the Sound Department. Picture Editing career paths are often defined by the display method such as Theatrical productions or Television productions. Under Theatrical productions (released on the "Big screen" such as Ster-Kinekor) you will find; Offline Editor, Editor, 1st Assistant Editor, 2nd Assistant Editor, Supervising Picture Editor and Story Editor. Under Television productions (released over Broadcast stations such as SABC) you will find; Offline Editor, Online Editor, Junior Editor, Documentary Editor, Supervising Picture Editor, Assistant Editor, 2nd Editor. For those who excel in their editing careers they may become involved in productions on a consultation basis as Consulting Editors, Story Editor, Polish Editors or Finishers.

The Post Production Facility Industry also offers additional career paths for those with Editing skills such as Authoring Artists ( intricate Dvd releases), Post Facility Booking and Scheduling departments, Output Engineers ( operating a variety of equipment to release a production in a variety of formats).
Editing students at AFDA are also fortunate in attaining on-set skills as Script Supervisors which opens up an additional career path.

Visual Effects


Visual Effects artists bridge the visuals shot on set, with the visuals in the director's mind. We are digital magicians, creating magical worlds where there was none, exploding cars where there was no car and making actors fly when they are really on standing on the ground.


You will be trained in compositing, 2D animation, title and credit design, motion graphics, using typefaces, keying blue or green screen, motion tracking, rotoscoping, particle generating, grading or colour timing, 3D modeling, texturing, shading, painting, animating, rendering and Visual effects supervision.

Sound Design


With their knowledge of sound design, sound recordists are the ears of the production, capturing the dialogue and ambient sound that is specific to a particular location. Sound production is continuous throughout the production and post- production phases of film production. From recording original dialogue and ambient sound to creating audio effects that compliment and help propel the narrative of the story.


Location sound recordist / mixer, boom swinger , cable basher , sound mixer post production, assistant sound mixer, foley recordist / track layers / ADR recordist / music mixer / asst music mixer / composer / sound effects supervisor / are all part of the total sound crew contributing to the final sound track

Media Music & Composition

(Offered only at Johannesburg & Cape Town campus)


Composers write specific music for films, TV programs, ads or games which are in line with the overall vision of the director and producer. You are musical, precise, and have basic abilities on a piano. You are a storyteller with a keen eye for detail. You are most often a loner, but can communicate with well with other people, take instruction from directors and execute it musically. You can work collaboratively and must be more than willing to compromise your ideas. You are a good listener and have a wide audio-palette with an affinity for a variety of music styles. You are comfortable with technology, are extremely creative, imaginative and are willing to work long hours by yourself and deliver to deadlines. You are passionate about music and filmmaking. You are good at mathematics, ordered, structured and systematic.


Film Scorer and Media Composer (Games, Stage, Advertising and Radio); Musical Director; Arranger; Orchestrator; Production Music Composer; Jingle Writer; Music Editor; Music Supervisor


TV Scriptwriting


With your interest in TV writing, you read and love the oral tradition of storytelling in Africa. You love seeing ideas come to life and day dream about turning your ideas into awesome TV shows. You see life as an unscripted reality TV show and are drawn to the power of popular culture, broadcast into the homes of millions across the African continent.


Television formats are becoming the currency of present day global intellectual property. This market is no longer dominated by the Global North (USA & UK) and increasingly, the Global South is becoming a force to be reckoned with, as African countries are now making Pan African content on the DSTV bouquet. TV Producers are now in a position to export formats to the African Diaspora and global television markets in search of fresh cultural product.

TV Production


(1) You have a love for commercial entertainment formats; good all-rounder; team player; ability to work quickly and think on your feet in a structured and technical environment; enjoy major pressure and get a kick out of delivering on time, every time.
(2) You are both creative and organized. You are capable of wearing two ”hats”, the conceptual creative hat and the entrepreneurial, financial, decision-making hat. (3) You work well under pressure, can be assertive, but have excellent people skills and are good at leading and co-ordinating the team.


There are different producing roles across the many television genres. Producing includes overseeing the pre-production, production and post-production processes that a television show follows. Included in some of producing positions are:

Assistant to Producer, Associate Producer, Consulting Producer, Development Producer, Executive Producer, Field Producer, News Producer, Promo Producer, Series Producer, Line Producer, Production Assistant, Production Secretary, Production Co-ordinator,Production Manager, Post production Co-ordinator, Post production Supervisor, Researcher, Casting Co-ordinator, Casting director, Art Department Co-ordinator

TV Technical


Interested in a career in TV technical / recording? The television studio is where you're guaranteed to feed that adrenalin rush you love. You have to be able to think quickly, logically and not buckle under pressure. At the AFDA School of Television , you learn the discipline of staying in control of a highly pressurized situation to get the best results from your crew and performers.


Broadcasting live television requires a highly skilled crew that understands the procedures and technology of a broadcast control room and floor (studio). Different types of studios and shows require different team structures. The positions on a live television crew include a director, the assistant director, a vision-mixer, VT operators, sound engineer, floor manager, camera operators and a production assistant.

TV Post Production


With your interest in TV post production, you have to have a love for technology with an eye for detail; have an understanding of semiotics; a passion for storytelling and the construction of narrative; a keen interest in the manipulation and arrangement of images; be comfortable working with people as well as on your own for long hours; you can work under pressure towards a deadline and you have strong logical thinking skills. You have an interest in graphical design and an eye for colour and shape construction.


Television Post-Production consists out of video editing, sound editing and visual effects insertions. As a post-production professional in the television industry you will be expected to be an all-rounder. Being experienced in all elements of post production creates a fully rounded and highly desired post-production individual in the industry.

For queries about our Masters programme, please contact the relevant campus


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