East 15 Acting School’s MA/MFA Acting for Digital Media is a full-time, professional and intensive training program designed specifically for performers who wish to expand their skill base to be able to seek and thrive in the technological advances in the performance industry.
With the advancement of digital technology, new pathways are opening up in performing arts and the course emphasises three keys areas of training: performance capture, voice skills for digital recordings and acting for camera.
The use of Motion / Performance capture in the industry is on the rise and there is a demand for performers with specific skill sets and experience in order to excel in the area. While the standard movement and voice skills provided at UG level form a base for most all performance work, this MA/MFA focuses on understanding, working with, and making the most of new technology. This degree recognises that a performer has multiple pathways for employability and professional development, particularly looking at the role of the performer in the gaming industry.
In addition to performing for motion capture, due to advances in technology and the relatively inexpensive option of creating a home voice studio, opportunities in voice acting has also seen an increase – and also require further expertise. Along with further training in Acting for Camera, the course will provide the training needed to succeed and shape the future of performance alongside new developments. MA Acting for Digital Media runs for 12 months on a full-time basis and the MFA for 20 months.
Our training is by professionals and for professionals, allowing our graduates to work successfully across the globe.
Our international, outstanding teaching faculty is made up of professionals from all areas of live and recorded performance. The in-house faculty is supported by industry professionals with specific expertise in the areas being taught, ensuring the best teaching possible that is up to date with current developments in the field.
Learn more about our staff here.
The practical training gives the students the opportunities to train by working with the technology that is appropriate for the given performance; for motion capture, they will train in the University’s new VICON motion capture volume, purposely designed for this programme; when working on voice acting they will work a studios and a vocal booth, with the relevant technology for a variety of disciplines such as voice over, radio drama and voicing animation; in acting for film students will take part in projects that are filmed both on-site and on location.
Our Southend Campus is based in the heart of Southend-on-Sea. A vibrant and modern British seaside town with excellent transport links. Famous for its beach resort and pier, Southend-on-Sea stretches along seven miles of award-winning coastline. There are also over 650 acres of parks and gardens, a fun park, leisure centres, pubs, clubs, cafés and restaurants.
Southend Central railway station is opposite our Campus and the journey to central London takes less than an hour. Southend Airport, with flights to many European and UK destinations is just three miles away. We are also just one hour away from London’s Stansted Airport. Our Gateway Building houses a purpose-built suite specifically for East 15 students. This includes fully equipped, state-of-the art rehearsal studios with panoramic views across Southend-on-Sea, plus our motion capture volume, seminar rooms, computer labs and media production resources including an Apple Mac editing suite.
A magnificent Victorian former church in the heart of Southend’s conservation area was converted into East 15’s Clifftown Theatre. It also houses a variety of unique spaces for rehearsals, technical and practical work and performances. The church nave, with its original organ and stained glass windows now provides an inspirational and atmospheric environment, re-designed to accommodate the needs of a twenty-first century performance space.
In ‘The Forum’ building, students have round the clock, secure access to the Learning Hub, which provides innovative IT and study spaces. The Forum also houses an integrated public and academic library, carrying books and other support materials. Students in Southend also have access to the East 15 Loughton Campus library and the University’s Colchester Campus library.
Outside of learning, the Students’ Union at our Southend Campus provides a dedicated space for students to meet, have a coffee, relax and watch films or sport.
The MA/MFA in Acting for Digital Media is unique in that it addresses training that allows actors to thrive by understanding and tailoring performances for the form of digital capture, recognising that understanding technology and developing methodologies of rehearsal and performance in order to achieve high quality work is different from simply adapting existing technique to fit a series of parameters.
Our applicants need to undertake a successful audition or video audition, plus have a first degree with an overall 2.2, or equivalent or suitable life and/or professional expertise.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
East 15 offers dynamic and unique courses for actors, directors and students of theatre practice. Training at East 15 draws upon 50 years of tradition combined with a keen sense of today’s performance industry.
This course will bring together the training needed in a coherent programme that not only allows a graduate to attain the skills necessary for this specialist work, but also to see it in a holistic context that will enable them to grow as an artist and offer a rounded contribution to the developing industry. When combined in a single programme, voice acting, acting for performance capture and acting for screen enable students to see the multiple possibilities of gearing performance for a digital format; it combines an understanding of technology, body and voice so that performances are not merely captured digitally, but specifically tailored to excel because they are created for that media.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
MA and MFA students take the same modules in their first year. In their second year, MFA students work in more detail on projects that allow them to develop additional skills and put these skills into practice.
This combined year of study is taught through 6 bespoke modules, developing the skills and understanding needed to move your career forward in the digital world. The modules that make up the year are:
Movement is a core part of any actor’s work and this programme draws on East 15’s strong tradition in training actors through various styles of movement training. Training takes place is our studios and helps to develop the actor’s craft in ensuring a full-body embodiment of character that is applicable to all forms of performance. Subjects that may fall within this training include: improvisation, animal work, puppetry, and some specific movement training around military and weapons work.
This module looks at the fundamentals and specific techniques for working in a virtual environment and knowledge of the technology that captures your performance and eventually transforms your work in the volume into a digital character. You will begin by learning the basics involved in a motion capture shoot, including process, vocabulary and rules for the space. As your training progressed will explore how to prepare for a role, approach repetition in a natural and truthful way, character creation, working with objects, collaborating with a performance director, working from a script.
Exploring techniques and knowledge of working on film across the wide spectre of performance captured by a camera – such as feature films, television (drama, comedy, soap operas), commercial adverts and corporate videos to name a few. Rehearsal and performance techniques will be part of the training, to enhance creativity and prepare an actor for delivering a role that is intended to be captured on camera.
Students will receive tuition that will aid them make the transition from training into working for themselves as an independent artist. This will entail, technical training in sound recording as well as video and sound editing. They will be guided in how to use footage captured during the course to create a showreel and a voice reel, strategies in marketing and presentation (both in person and in writing), audition technique for film, motion capture and voiceover work. As part of the programme they will also have master classes and information sessions with working artists who will be able to supplement their core learning with additional skills as well as shedding a light on industry practices and the realities of working in related fields.
Chance to reflect on your training, both as individual subjects but also to think about how the learning from your various subjects inform each other. Using skills from your industry preparation module, you portfolio will be a digital record of your learning that can be used after graduation to showcase your skills, assisting with employability.
Accountancy / Invoices / taxes
Building on the skill base that was developed in Year One, in the second year you will draw on your learning as you work through projects, from concept to research to rehearsal to the final data capture. This module gives you the opportunity to experience a consolidated your own process where you will be working to a brief, as you would in a professional environment to bring to life a character or a series of characters.
Similar to the above, the screen project will involve the development, the rehearsal and the shooting a film-based project. You will be guided in developing a script in a small group, through both research and practical exploration; a director will come aboard in the final stages to shoot.
Further workshops in a range of skills that will support your growth and employability across a range of subjects. These workshop sessions will be led by both the faculty team and by visiting professional in areas related to the core modules of training.
Further In-game techniques for Film and Videogames / military styles / setting up a home studio
Sessions in Intimacy and Consent for screen
When you apply for one of our postgraduate courses, we will assess you on your experience (both academic and practical) and your potential for success. You will need to undertake an audition that has an element of physical activity as part of your assessment.
You need to complete and send us an East 15 application form, along with two confidential references and a copy of your audition payment receipt so that we can schedule your audition.
Please check the East 15 website for further information.
Auditions generally take place at our campuses between December and June. You’ll need to prepare two pieces of around two minutes each; one Shakespearean or Jacobean, and one contemporary.
If you live outside the UK, we audition internationally in different countries each year. You can also submit an audition via YouTube or Vimeo if you cannot attend an audition in person.
For full details, please see the East 15 website.
Want to live in a central city location, with state-of-the-art facilities at your finger tips? Southend is the perfect environment for living and learning in a close-knit international community.
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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
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