On the 18th September 2018 I achieved my lofty dream of being accepted to study an MA in Production Design (Set Design for film) at the National Film and Television School. This highly prestigious and competitive course accepts only 8 students a year and I need your help to get me there!
Filmmaking became my passion as a child after watching The Lord of the Rings films in the cinema. I was completely in awe of the three-dimensional world projected on the screen in front of me and after each film I would leave with the world still existing in my mind. It wasn't until I was given the DVD boxset for Christmas and devoured the behind the scenes extras that I realised the world behind the camera was even more exciting. I began to understand the immense creative forces involved in designing a cinematic world and I knew that I had to be a part of it.
I was awarded a Design and Technology scholarship to my senior school, where I developed a range of practical skills in woodwork and metalwork (which would later greatly inform my work as a set designer), as well as a love for science and engineering.
When it came to looking at universities I found myself facing a daunting question. Should I follow my dream of becoming a filmmaker or should I follow a more conventional career path which my A-levels in Maths, Physics and DT had set me up for? I chickened out and did the latter and I began studying Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Leeds. However upon sitting down in my first lecture a wave of sheer panic crashed over me, as I realised the mistake I had made. I couldn't continue any longer putting my dream on hold and I left the university.
I was accepted onto the Film Production BA at Arts University Bournemouth and began studying there in 2014. I soon discovered that Production Design was the perfect role for me as it contained everything that I was interested in. As a designer you are in charge of creating visual world of the film which is exactly what I had fallen in love with as a child.
At Bournemouth I threw myself into every film project on the curriculum and took on many extracurricular projects. I taught myself to use Photoshop and CAD software to aid me in my production of concept paintings and architectural drawings for my sets. In third year my hard work was rewarded when I won Best Production Design for my work on student commercial 'The Greatest Adventure' at the Kodak Student Commercials Awards. For this project I designed and built a 20ft high rocket set in the back garden of my student house out of mostly recycled materials. This can be viewed at https://www.frederickburrows.com/copy-of-mobile-2
After graduating in 2017 with 1st Class Honours I applied to the NFTS knowing it to be the best next step towards having a successful career as a Production Designer. The NFTS is consistently ranked among the top film schools in the world and its alumni have gone on to win 11 Oscars and 138 BAFTAs. The course catapults its students into the industry where they start working at high level right out of the gates. However after making it through to lengthy and nerve-racking interview stage I was not offered a place on the course.
Undeterred I worked as a freelance Production Designer for a year to build up my portfolio and save money for hopefully going to the NFTS the following year. Through this I gained invaluable experience and developed my skills on a number of projects ultimately designing six music videos, two short films and two commercials. Due to many of these project having relativity low budgets I have worked mostly as a one man art department producing everything from the initial concept drawings to the physical construction of the set. Please scroll down to see examples of my concept drawings and behind the scenes pics from some of the sets I have designed and built this year. All of my work up until this point is also available on my website frederickburrows.com and my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/frugstagram/ . With professional work under my belt and reaffirmed that the NFTS was where I need to go to get the work at the high level I desired, I reapplied was offered a place to start in 2019.
Why I need Your Help
The two year masters costs £14,300 a year and my estimated living costs are £10,000 per year. So in total that's £48,600. Not a small fee!
With a student Loan of £10,609, a professional career development Loan of £10,000 (max amount), personal saving of £6000 and a loan from my Dad of £10,000 I can get a lot of the way there. My dad is retired and this is a huge amount of money for him to be lending me. My parents are divorced and my Mum holds two low income jobs so is unable to also support me financially. I intended to make up the rest of the money with a loan from Future Finance, a company that offer loans students in my position, but I was rejected due to the size of my existing student debt. I hope to also get some financial support from the University in the form of a bursary but this is by no means guaranteed.
This leaves me with a shortfall of £11,991 across the two years and through your donations and applying for every scholarship under the sun I hope to make up this deficit!
Thank you so much for reading,
Pencil Concept Sketches:
Above is some of the work I produced for my 2017 NFTS application
Digital Concept Paintings and Drafting
Above is some of the work I produced for my successful 2018 NFTS application.
Half the Man- 2018 Short Film
For this short film I designed and built the bottom half of a tube train based on the London Underground 1972 stock. The film shows the direct aftermath of a bombing on a London Underground train and the camera drifts through the wreckage as a victim of the attack recites a poem describing the psychological toll the event has taken on him. Due to the small budget of the project we could not afford a studio so I constructed the set in the back garden of my Mum's house. The whole film was shot from above so only the bottom half of the carriage needed to be built. The film can be viewed at https://www.frederickburrows.com/half-the-man
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