Work hard, play hard. Find out how our one-year Higher Education Certificate courses in music production, sound engineering, film production, visual effects and screen acting could fast-track your career dreams.
It’s the mother of all obstacle courses: the track between the now and the finish line of your ambitions. You wouldn’t enter an Ironman without rigorously training. So why should breaking into the super-competitive music, film and acting industries be any different?
We see our one-year courses as ‘work hard, play hard’ industry boot camps. To reach your goal is to leave your comfort zone. You’ll need dedication and endurance. Teamwork isn’t just encouraged; it’s required. In fact, our Higher Education Certificate programmes provide our most intense learn-by-doing experience.
From day one, you’re propelled by a whirlwind of challenges – industry-relevant assessments designed to provide a near real-world experience. Think inspiring project briefs, tough creative problem solving, practical training with equipment, and acquiring crucial collaborative skills. All of this in a wildly international learning community of fellow creatives.
At the end of the year, you’ll be equipped to jump into the industry and put your skillset to work. Take Screen Acting Certificate alumnus Giulio Brizzi as a shining example. Just months after graduating, he scored his first major role in the new Italian Netflix show Curon.
Want to dive even deeper to refine and hone your skills, working on bigger projects and collaborations? You’ll have the option to continue your studies at Catalyst for one, two, or even three more years with the Creative M.A. You’ll know which choice is right for you as you approach the end of the year.
Ready to boot camp your career dreams? Read on for an individual breakdown of our one-year courses in music production, sound engineering, film production, visual effects and screen acting.
“Visual effects are tools to tell a story, and to tell a great story, you need to apply those tools creatively”
Visual effects are tools to tell a story, and to tell a great story, you need to apply those tools creatively. That’s exactly what our Visual Effects programme is about: combining cutting-edge techniques with an artistic approach to create stunning imagery.
In the one-year Certificate course, you’ll get a taste of nearly every subject in the broad territory of VFX. Rather than tunnelling into one specific technical specialisation, you’ll gain a solid foundation and practical experience in the majority of tools used every day in the industry.
Some of the topics and skills you’ll cover include: green screen and on set VFX supervising; digital compositing and 3D animation; projection mapping and digital art installations; creative coding and programming; miniatures and optic effects; matte painting and image retouching; post production and colour grading; physics, light and the science of visuals; fundamentals of fine art and storytelling; future of tools including artificial intelligence, robotics and other realities; training your eye; the visual effects pipeline; filmmaking, camerawork and working on sets; collaboration, giving and receiving critical feedback, and introspection.
Through constant shooting, you’ll work on both live-action projects and on-set supervision. You’ll explore the future through technological arts, new realities, artificial intelligence and human/machine interfacing. You’ll collaborate on projects with Film Production, Screen Acting and Music Production students. Plus, you’ll walk away with a digital portfolio that will not only contain your original work, but serve as a striking certification of the software you’ve mastered and the technical skills you’ve developed.
“From day zero, your boots hit the ground, the camera’s in your hands, and you’re getting stuck into the entire filmmaking process”
As Stanley Kubrick famously said, the best education in film is to make one. Well, how about making 17 films – all within a year? In our Film Production Certificate course, you’ll direct at least three short films, and collaborate in a lead role (writer, producer, cinematographer, sound, editor) on at least an additional 14 short films. From day zero, your boots hit the ground, the camera’s in your hands, and you’re getting stuck into the entire filmmaking process. Then, doing it all over again.
You’ll be tasked to write, shoot, edit and screen your films within one-week, two-week and six-week timeframes. You’ll collaborate with the Screen Acting and Visual Effects students. You’ll get to grips with ‘Guerilla kit’-style DSLR and LED equipment packages, designed to get you moving and shooting as fast and often as possible. You’ll screen your work in local Berlin cinemas or venues, and pitch your major final project in front of a jury of industry professionals.
All of this means intensive training in writing, directing, producing, camera, lighting, editing, sound, production design and VFX – just what you’ll need to shine above the rest.
Electronic Music Production
“You’ll train with limitations to extract the most from any situation”
You might be a DJ or amateur producer looking to up your game in electronic music. Perhaps you’d like to refine your raw musical talent using a vast array of electronic tools. Maybe you feel a calling towards electronic music but don’t know where to start. Our Electronic Music Production & Performance Certificate course is the fast track you need to build your skillset and confidently enter the profession.
Between our legendary vintage Funkhaus Berlin studios and multi-channel sound design space, you’ll have hands-on access to myriad modular synthesizers, custom built for Catalyst. Plus, a huge array of microphone kits and field recorders, and much more.
As well as getting to grips with the fundamentals of modular synthesis and sound design, you’ll learn how to perform while maximising your creative voice. You’ll train with limitations to extract the most from any situation. All the while, you’ll develop a unique artistic voice and a strong personal portfolio.
By the end of the year, you’ll have produced, mastered and presented at least one entire EP. What’s more, you’ll have performed a solo set of original music and developed a coherent artist identity – including creating an electronic press kit, web presence and technical rider. As student Felipe Vareschi testified after scoring their first media coverage, this essential knowledge can quickly transform you into a professional artist.
Creative Audio Production
“The Swiss Army Knife of sound engineering and music production courses”
We think of our Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering Certificate as the Swiss Army Knife of sound engineering and music production courses. Not only do we have more studios and equipment than all of our Berlin competitors put together, but training with them will allow you to explore a range of roles within the industry.
The course is built with today’s studio creative in mind – both a sound engineer and a music producer or artist. In the last year alone, our students collectively completed 700 productions and 150 band recordings. Our vintage Funkhaus studio spaces house a huge array of microphones, audio hardware effects and synthesisers.
When the year is through, you’ll have self-produced at least 12 pieces of original material. You’ll have engineered seven band recordings in our fully fledged multi-track recording studios. You’ll have collaborated on projects as a composer, engineer and producer – including producing and finalising several compositions by others. Plus, you’ll have developed a large portfolio and learnt how to communicate your work with the industry.
It’s not just about the how but the why. You’ll enhance your technical knowledge in order to effectively implement creative choices. We ask you to not only make music, but produce it, and to consider how the production aesthetic of a composition benefits its message and meaning.
From workshops in acoustics to composition, and studio workflow to production, we’ll provide you with the opportunities you need to grow your skills and creative voice and design a tailor made portfolio.
“Your creative muscle is going to get one hell of a workout”
As Netflix Curon actor and Screen Acting Certificate alumnus Giulio Brizzi wrote, the fully immersive approach of the camera-facing course was instrumental in shaping him into a professional actor in just one year. With a constant stream of film productions to work in, our students quickly develop practical acting skills and a go-getter mindset.
By the end of the year, you’ll have achieved all of the following: starred in around 15 films; cut together your own showreel; recorded a voice reel; performed in a live show; captured your head shots; created your own website and business cards; made contact with industry professionals; event managed your own industry showcase; and made lots of collaborative connections across all of Catalyst’s film and music courses.
When you’re not rehearsing or on set, you’ll join workshops with working professional tutors to train your body and voice. How do you convey emotion? How do you develop a range? How do you collaborate with a director to deliver a brilliant performance? Together, we’ll answer these questions and more.
Combined with regular feedback sessions, roundtable discussions and consultations to drive at your personal voice, your creative muscle is going to get one hell of a workout.