In Part 3 of "Should I go to Film School?" we look at The Open Window School of Visual Communication, the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa, Boston Media House as well as the Wits School of Arts.

To read Part 1 of this article Click Here
To read Part 2 of this article Click Here

The Open Window School of Visual Communication

426 King's Highway, Lynnwood, Pretoria
Contact: Pluto Panoussis, Head of Film and Video Department
Tel: +27 (0)12 470 8680/1
Fax: +27 (0)12 470 8688

The Open Window School of Visual Communication, a private institution in Pretoria, prepares students on a tertiary level to pursue careers in the various fields of Visual and Audio-Visual Communication.

The course structure of the degree programme follows a multi disciplinary approach to enable aspiring artists to enter the creative industries of design, advertising and branding, video and animation production, broadcasting and publishing, multimedia and entertainment design.

Students acquire a foundation of aesthetic and technical problem-solving skills that lead towards a more specialised knowledge and understanding in the second and third years of study, when they choose to specialise in Photography, Video, Communication Design, Interactive Media Design, Illustration or 3D Animation.

The Film and Video course focuses on developing an understanding of film language elements and how they are applied across the board from corporate audio-visual work to highly personalised experimental expressions in the audio-visual medium.

Students are guided through the various aspects of the filmmaking process and are taught to conceptualise; present their ideas through the conventions of the director's treatment, the storyboard and the screenplay; and to realise their ideas practically by involving them in all aspects of production and post-production work.

Along the way, excursions into directing actors for the screen, the philosophy of film, and life politics, are explored. The intention being to cultivate a generation of filmmakers that are able to assimilate and present the South African experience in a meaningful and unpredictable way, by getting the students to understand not only the mechanics of the medium, but also the dynamics of personal experience and how one transforms that experience into a viable audio-visual style.

The Open Window School of Visual Communication is accredited by the South African Department of Education, with qualifications registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

The National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA)

21 Girton Road, Parktown, 2193, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 484 0583
Fax: +27 (0)11 484 0615
Website :

Formed as part of a government initiative in 1998, NEMISA's fundamental purpose was to train previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly women, and equip them with skills for the broadcasting environment.

However, since then, the world has seen the rapid growth of digital multimedia and as a result, NEMISA has changed itself radically, adopting a new mandate and moulding a new organisation to assist South Africa in developing and training skills essential for the digital age.
As Vuyo Makaya, Acting Chief Operating Officer of NEMISA, puts it: "I urge all young people with communications talents to give serious consideration to devoting their lives to some significant aspect of the production of content for digital multimedia; whether the medium be TV, radio, internet, mobile telephony, animation, or any of the many other streams now converging to form the digital present and future."
He points out that as the rest of the continent looks to South Africa to set the digital pace, it is even more critical for these skills to be developed. 
The revitalised institute now provides meaningful, targeted coursework covering the entire spectrum of production activities serving the converging technologies for digital content production, including video, sound, graphics, animation, telephony and data. Courses are continually assessed and updated through research into the needs of the industry.

The new NEMISA study programme is aimed at a broad spectrum of trainees, including post-matric, graduates and working people, with aptitude, competence, potential and previous accomplishments being taken into account when applications for the longer courses are considered.

The courses on offer include a one-year foundation in Graphic Design for Multimedia; a 3-year Diploma in Graphic Design for Multimedia; a 3-year Animation Diploma, based on the well-known Algonquin College of Canada curriculum; a one year Television Production course and a one year Radio Production course.  In addition, NEMISA offers Broadcast Engineering learnerships as well as Telecommunications learnerships, the latter in association with telecommunications company Neotel.

Short courses include computer modeling, digital photography and image manipulation, digital editing, production, high-definition TV, radio-station management, scriptwriting genres, interactivity, and more.

Students come from all walks of life including TV and radio broadcasters, representative industry bodies, government departments, state-owned enterprises, foreign agencies and industry and commerce in general.

The Open Window School of Visual Communication

426 King's Highway, Lynnwood, Pretoria
Contact: Pluto Panoussis, Head of Film and Video Department
Tel: +27 (0)12 470 8680/1
Fax: +27 (0)12 470 8688

Students at Boston Media House are encouraged to pursue various career opportunities in the media industry and so the media studies diploma is designed to give a fully rounded theoretical background into Media in the first year of study. It is only in the second and third year that students commit to specializations. Subjects include: advertising, video, PR, journalism and radio. Practical internships ensure hands-on experience which leaves the student with skills to pursue careers such as camera operator, director, script writer or editor.

The Media Studies Diploma can be taken as a 3 years full time programme or as 4 years part-time.

The Animation Diploma has been offered since 1999 and is the only two years Animation Diploma running in Gauteng. The animation market has grown at a rapid rate and the need for well-trained animators with extensive design and computer related skills is in great demand. Animators are not just software engineers though, they must be able to go beyond technical skills and participate in the creative development of animation.  Along with the latest software and hardware the student learns story development,  story boarding, pixilation, editing, object Animation, motion studies, special effects animation, advanced 3D modeling, animation techniques, camera techniques, drawing and concept character design. This Diploma can be taken over 2 years, full time.

Wits University School of Arts

1st Floor, Old Dental Hospital, Wits Campus, Jan Smuts Ave, Braamfontein
Tel: (011) 717-9748/ 717-9753

With a background in Television Studies, students can pursue careers that focus on technical aspects of production (camera and sound); on conceptual disciplines like scriptwriting, directing and research or train in managing productions for television and film. The undergraduate training offers students access to the various disciplines in the field of television studies and production whilst senior year's students are given the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization.

Depending on the area of specialization the following career opportunities are available: Scriptwriter for television (sitcoms, soap operas, drama series, game shows, talk shows), Scriptwriting for short and feature films, Directing, Producing, Editing, Research for documentary production.  Students interested in technical aspects of production can realize careers in: Production management, Cinematography and camera, Sound recording and sound design, Production design.

Wits currently offers two courses with a distinct television (and subsequent film) slant:

Bachelor of Arts, Dramatic Art (BA DA)
This is a four-year professional Bachelor of Dramatic Art with a specially designed but flexible syllabus that ensures the student a comprehensive understanding and practical experience of the television (and film) field. The degree covers an extensive range of topics such as: historical development of TV, analysis of TV genres, scriptwriting for a variety of formats, impact of cinema on television conception and production, documentary making, feature film writing and development, operational experience in camera, lighting, sound work and editing.

Certificate in Broadcast Television
The Certificate in Broadcast Television is a hands-on, industry related course which introduces students to the magic of television and movies in a very practical way. Wherever possible, industry professionals are included in the teaching team.

The course has established links to broadcasters and the television industry, thereby providing students with a relevant and exciting teaching experience. The course is specifically designed for those students interested in television operations such as multi camera studio production, live broadcast and single camera production. In addition, the 2nd year is aimed at learners who want to become professionals in the fields of production, postproduction and production management.