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Online course

Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen

Learn from award-winning filmmakers about how films get from script to screen with this course from the NFTS and BFI Film Academy.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen

Why join the course?

Whether you’re a budding filmmaker or a film fan who wants to understand more about what happens behind-the-scenes, this free online course from the internationally acclaimed National Film and Television School will have something for you.

Over six weeks, our team of award-winning filmmakers will take you through their approach to telling stories, as well as demystifying their own filmmaking specialisms - from writing and directing to cinematography, editing and composing.

Each week your filmmaker host will use examples from their own work as well as the films that have influenced and inspired them:

1 - Introduction: how does a film get from script to screen?
Nik Powell, director of the NFTS and producer of more than 40 films, including The Crying Game, Mona Lisa and Company of Wolves.

2 - Storytelling: what’s the difference between plot and theme?
Destiny Ekharaga, director of Gone Too Far.

3 - Decisions: how to choose budget, schedule, location and kit?
Mike Figgis, director of Leaving Las Vegas, TimeCode and Internal Affairs.

4 - The scene: how does a director make choices on set?
Corin Hardy, director of The Hallow and just announced to direct re-make of The Crow + has directed music videos for artists such as The Prodigy, Olly Murrs and Devlin.

5 - Time and space: how does editing affect meaning?
Justine Wright, editor of Touching the Void, The Iron Lady and Locke.

6 - Sound and music: what is the impact of a film’s soundtrack?
Danny Hambrook, sound designer of Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Le Weekend, production sound mixer on Rush

The NFTS has teamed up with the BFI to offer this course, as part of the BFI Film Academy. The Film Academy provides opportunities for people across the UK to learn more about film industry, and working alongside experienced professionals, get hands-on opportunities, making short films themselves.

Explore Filmmaking also features a number of award-winning short films made by recent graduates of the NFTS, and recommended videos from the BAFTA Guru collection, designed to help people taking their first steps into the film industry.

Please note that some videos in the course contain film clips which you may find offensive or upsetting. Where video material contains violence, sexual references or swearing, you will be given advance warning.

This course will deepen your understanding of the filmmaking process and show you how to take it further – whether making your own short films, thinking about a career, or simply a deeper appreciation of the films you watch in future.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsHi, I'm Nik Powell. I'm the Director of the British National Film and Television School. And we have joined up with the BFI. And with then we are running this six week course, Explore Filmmaking. So whether you're a budding filmmaker or a film fan who wants to understand more about what happens behind the scenes on a film, this course will have something for you. Our team of award winning filmmakers will take you through their approach to telling stories on screen, as well as demystifying their own filmmaking specialisms. From writing and directing to cinematography, editing, and composing, each week your filmmaker host will use examples from their own work to explain and illustrate their craft.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds You will also have the chance to see award winning short films from the NFGS, many available online for the first time as part of this course. You'll be encouraged to participate in the discussion by reflecting on your viewing and thinking more deeply about what goes into the process of filmmaking. And for those of you who want to make films yourselves, there'll be some small scale practical activities and the chance to share you work. So come and join us on our course, Explore Filmmaking, and learn at the world's number one international film school.

What topics will you cover?

  • How stories are told onscreen and the relationship between story and theme
  • The decision-making process on set and location
  • The shoot and how the camera is used to tell the story in different ways
  • The role of the edit in telling the story
  • The contribution of sound and music to a film

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Discuss the differences between story and theme in a film
  • Explain the different roles involved in a film shoot
  • Explore the contribution of the camera to storytelling
  • Reflect upon the role of editing in telling a story on film
  • Identify the contribution of sound and music to a film's meaning

Who is the course for?

This course doesn’t require any existing specialist film-making skills or equipment, though there will be extension activities if you want to enhance your learning experience.

Who will you learn with?

Jon Wardle

I'm the Director of Curriculum at the National Film and Television School. I'm the Lead Educator for the Explore Filmmaking: from Script to Screen course.

Tom Woodcock

I work as a teacher of film, media and digital media as well as on a number of film education and training projects. I have a background in art house cinema exhibition, installation and production.

Who developed the course?


Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £59.00

Statement of Participation £29.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Introducing your weekly hosts
    Introducing your weekly hosts

    Nik Powell (Director, National Film and Television School) introduces the five course hosts, each of whom talks about a film that matters to them.

  • Meet Mike Figgis
    Meet Mike Figgis

    Mike Figgis introduces Week 3 of FutureLearn's Explore Filmmaking from the BFI and NFTS. Watch the video.

  • Brian Tufano on Trainspotting
    Brian Tufano on Trainspotting

    Watch this video where cinematographer Brian Tufano explains how Trainspotting's famous toilet scene was made.