EXCLUSIVE: “We need a more holistic entrepreneurial approach to the creative industries,” says course sponsor Patrick McKenna. Course director Chris Auty in talks with Peter Bazalgette, Peter Watson and Rough Trade to participate in diploma, which will teach business skills across seven creative fields, including film, music, games and theatre.

The UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) is launching a diploma in entrepreneurial producing, to be spearheaded by NFTS producers course head Chris Auty [pictured] and NFTS director Nik Powell.

The course will cover the fields of television, film, theatre, music, publishing, games and online entertainment, and will be taught by executives from each industry.

Students will experience “full immersion” in the business structures and commercial and royalty practises of the seven fields, and will graduate with a live business or project finance proposal tested by presentation to a panel of UK media investors and executives.

Candidates will be selected on the basis of “their existing achievement, future ambition, and cross-media engagement.”

Speaking to Screen, Auty confirmed that he is in talks with TV producer Peter Bazalgette, music label Rough Trade, MUBI CEO Efe Cakarel, RPC MD Peter Watson and Kudos finance director Deba Mithal to participate in the course, which is sponsored by Ingenious Media head Patrick McKenna and is endorsed by Richard Branson and Lord Puttnam. McKenna and his Ingenious colleagues will give talks during the course.

While there are a number of MA courses in creative entrepreneurship in the UK, Auty said that the NFTS course will be unique in three ways: how it teaches candidates to interface appropriately with artists, its understanding of how to harness the digital boom, and the fact that it will be a course taught by entrepreneurs rather than professors.

“There are other MA courses in creative entrepreneurship out there,” Auty said, “but they deal mostly with management of cultural organisations. We had a good look at other courses around the world and couldn’t see anything that structures these three key strands into one course.”

The UK has a burgeoning creative industries sector but NFTS head Nik Powell said new royalty driven business opportunities, emerging from convergence in the creative industries and the digital media boom, are still being missed: “The creative industries no longer operate in restricted silos - they’re converging in exciting and innovative ways driven by the digital revolution.”

“So whether it be the Metropolitan Opera in New York securing millions in new revenue from feeds to global cinema audiences; new online film services like MUBI reaching into countries like Poland and Turkey; the phenomenal rise of e-publishing; or disruptive technologies bubbling up in music, television and branding, this really is a brave new world and entrepreneurs need to adapt or get left behind,” he continued.

The course, which kicks off in January 2012, will be taught at the NFTS’ Beaconsfield home, which includes three sound stages, two TV studios, 25 edit suites and a games design department.

Patrick McKenna told Screen: “The current generation of entrepreneurs and executives need a proper working knowledge of the different channels of distribution; they should be agnostic as to the particular platform a creative project is delivered from and need to generate audiences and revenues on as wide a basis as possible.

“Over the years I have found that experts in particular aspects of media have very little business knowledge outside of the areas they are directly involved in.  This has led to a dearth of knowledgeable executives and entrepreneurs capable of switching from one sub sector of media to another.

“In the current environment we need a more holistic entrepreneurial approach to the creative industries”, he continued. “This course is designed to give budding entrepreneurs and business executives a thorough understanding of how different aspects of the media landscape fit together and how an original creative idea can be developed and exploited across all channels.

“We have a rich entrepreneurial heritage here in the UK but we haven’t always had the cream of business talent working in the creative sector. This new course will help to promote the business aspect of the creative industries and hopefully attract young people who are serious about developing a career in a vibrant area of business where the UK excells.”

Twitter: @andreaswiseman