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CUA51020 - Diploma of Screen and Media: Filmmaking

Three NYFA AU filmmaking students talk by a swingset while being filmed by a RED Camera.

Diploma of Screen and Media: Filmmaking


New York Film Academy Australia delivers the nationally recognised program CUA51020 - Diploma of Screen and Media with selected subjects focusing on filmmaking. The Academy's CUA51020 - Diploma of Screen and Media - Filmmaking program gives students all of the fundamental skills necessary to make their own films. The film school program is divided into two semesters with two-weeks of break in between. The curriculum integrates intensive study in all the major filmmaking disciplines including cinematography, directing, screenwriting, and editing. During their time at the New York Film Academy Australia, filmmaking students write, shoot, direct, and edit their own unique HD short films and exercises, while also crewing for their classmates. All projects are edited digitally.

Students complete this Diploma of Screen and Media program with skills in all the filmmaking crafts; gaining valuable hands-on production experience and an expanded awareness of themselves and the influence of their work. Students' final films are celebrated in a screening open to cast, crew, friends, family, and invited guests.


Students are immediately tasked with completing a variety of intensive subjects that examine directing, screenwriting, producing, camera, lighting, editing, and acting. Lectures and assignments will impart useful theory, which students will then apply by producing their own short films. This combination of theoretical and hands-on learning is a hallmark of the New York Film Academy.

Working in crews of three or four, each student writes, produces, directs and edits films of increasing complexity. In addition, each student fulfills the essential roles of director of photography, assistant camera operator, and gaffer (lighting technician) on the films of her/his classmates. Thus, everyone has the extensive hands-on experience of working on set as crew and as director throughout the entire semester.


  1. Learn the art and technique of visual storytelling including directing, cinematography, and screenwriting.
  2. Learn the fundamentals of digital video production and digital editing.
  3. Practice safe and proper on-set protocol.

The creation of 4 unique projects surrounding the following concepts:

  1. Mise-En-Scene
  2. Continuity
  3. Montage
  4. Documentary


The second semester challenges students to develop their film craft artistically and technically, and to progress beyond their earlier experiments with the medium. It is designed to enable students to create a Hi-Def Short Final Film. Each student cultivates a script in the second semester for his/her final project of the program. These projects are the primary focus of the second semester and in turn they are used in all classes as a basis for learning.

The semester is divided into a number of distinct phases. The first is devoted to intensive hands-on instruction, demonstration, group directing exercises, production workshops, individual consultations, and pre-production (including casting, rehearsal, and location scouting). The second phase of the semester is the production period, when students direct their own films and crew on their classmates' films. The third phase of the semester is devoted to post-production. During this phase, students edit digitally, receive instruction, screen rough-cuts of the films, participate in feedback/workshopping sessions, and then finish their films for a final group screening.


  1. Continued filmmaking craft exploration, including directing, casting, producing, cinematography, editing, and production sound.
  2. Learn expanded fundamentals of HD Production.
  3. Fundamental training in acting craft and directing actors.
  4. Expanded understanding and practice in set etiquette and crew collaboration.


  1. Digital Dialogue Film – shot on industry RED camera and screened in a cinema for cast, crew, friends, and family.


Interested students are invited to complete the application form, with a personal statement, and attend an interview to determine entrance to the program.

Additional Filmmaking Program Offerings at NYFA Australia

  1. CUA60620 - Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media - Filmmaking
  2. Short-Term Filmmaking Workshops

Course Descriptions

Safety on Set
Screenwriting I
Cinema Studies
Directing I
Production Studio
Screenwriting II
The Freelancer
Acting for Filmmakers
Directing II

Safety on Set

  CUAPPR515 - Establish and maintain safe creative practice
The purpose of this subject is to teach the film and performance practitioner to determine work health and safety requirements in a given environment and occupation, identify hazards and assess and manage risks, and to monitor and enhance safety of their practice. Having sound practical knowledge of safety is paramount for film sets and sound stages.
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Screenwriting I

  CUAPPR411 Realise a creative project
This subject covers one of the fundamental elements in the filmmaking cycle, the idea and developing it into a story and script. The script is the blueprint for the film and the starting point for any film project. It provides not only the narrative structure, but also themes, ideas, and subplots to be conveyed to an audience. It informs all the other elements of the film, including visual styles, approaches, and techniques. It guides the other key roles in the production processes, providing essential cues, informing decision-making, and the continuity and coherence of the project.
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 CUACAM511 Shoot material for screen productions under special conditions
Students will undergo intensive training in the use of digital video motion picture camera equipment and accessories. This helps prepare them for their student productions, as well as professional productions and opportunities that will present themselves after graduation.

Students will be taught the fundamentals of cinematography, lighting, and camera operation. They will become familiar with positions and roles associated with the camera and lighting departments, and on set protocols. Most importantly they will gain insight into the role of the Director of Photography (DOP) who is responsible for providing screen productions with their unique visual look, through shot framing, movement and lighting. In this key creative role, they work closely with directors and the camera, lighting and grip crews to achieve the required creative outcomes.
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Cinema Studies

  BSBCMM411 Make presentations
This seminar teaches students to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators throughout the history of filmmaking. Through screenings and discussions, students will grow to understand how filmmakers have approached the great challenge of telling stories with moving images from silent films to the digital age. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing (particularly shot construction), cinematography, acting, and editing have developed. Students are then challenged to place themselves within that development with regard to their on-going film projects.
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Directing I

  CUADRT512 Direct performers for screen productions
In this subject, students will build the skills required to present ideas and then work collaboratively with cast and crew to bring those ideas effectively to the screen. Students will study the fundamentals of the director's palette, including framing and composition, visual and sound design, rehearsal, staging and performance, and montage and post-production.
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  CUASOU418 Edit Dialogue, CUAPOS411 Edit digital content for fast turnaround
During this subject, students will also gain a broad knowledge of the post-production process. Students will learn how editing relates to the overall production of digital content and its relationship to other departments within the production process, while also preparing students to work in post-production. Students will be paying particular attention to dialogue editing as a practical and creative process while preparing the films students have cut for track lay and mix.

Students will acquire the knowledge to operate digital editing software to edit video, dialogue, and sound; and utilise the program’s effects, audio, titling, colour grading, and export tools.

Students will also explore different approaches to editing through film history and criticism, investigating concepts such as temporal and spatial continuity, montage theory, as well as the psychological and emotional effects of editing on the final dramatic content
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Production Studio

  CUADRT511 Direct rehearsals of performers, CUASOU505 Implement sound designs
Students will explore the themes of subtext and POV (point of view) in each shoot, and will work from the scenes provided to them by the instructor. Students will take into account how a different scene (and theme) changes the processes for rehearsal, lighting, camera, sound, directing, crew management, and editing.
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Screenwriting II

 CUAWRT512 Develop storylines and treatments, CUAPPR415 Develop and discuss ideas for own creative work
In Screenwriting II, the student will be asked to progress their skills gained in Screenwriting I, developing story lines, treatments, and extended stories. Students will explore concept development -- expanding the storyline concept into a treatment -- as well as building characters, developing dialogue, and creating a synopsis, rough draft script, editing script, and final draft.
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The Freelancer

  CUAIND412 Provide freelance services
Students will learn how work as a freelancer in the film industry, including how to promote themselves as a filmmaker and deal with the business aspects of being a freelance filmmaker.
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Acting for Filmmakers

  CUAAIR411 Plan and conduct interviews
Students will learn how work as a freelancer in the film industry, including how to promote themselves as a filmmaker and deal with the business aspects of being a freelance filmmaker.
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Directing II

  CUAIND512 Enhance professional practice using creative arts industry knowledge, CUAPPM431 Compile production schedules
In this course, students study the fundamentals of the director's palette -- including camera placement, blocking, staging, and visual image design -- to learn the basic building blocks of visual storytelling. The success of a director is derived from the production, and the success of that production is based on the collaboration, instructions, vision, and the engagement the director has with their crew and cast. Directors present a vision, establish the outcomes within the production schedule, and create a central idea of a message that is the production/film.
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