Besides talking to anyone and everyone, how do students and amateur filmmakers promote their short films? Mary Melrose looks at the options available.
To start promoting your film, you need a place in which all the information about your movie, including where it can be viewed, cast/crew info, and the premise of the film, can be found. Creating your own website is a great way to include all of this information, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be flashy – the best websites are simple and there are plenty of free templates and website creators out there if you don’t have the technical skills to put it together (eg. Wix, Weebly). The more original and creative the site, the more an audience will remember your film.
An innovative idea that is often overlooked, is the concept of keeping a process journal about the making of the film and posting it online. People love reading someone’s journey, and many students and amateur filmmakers will feel empowered to do something similar by seeing your process. 2015 is a digital age, and the more quality content you can post online, the more it’s likely to be shared and seen via social networking sites. The journal could be under a news/updates tab, which will keep the site current and set it apart from others by offering ‘behind the scenes’ tidbits.
Being at university is about more than lectures and the local pub! ProductionBase blogger, Sharon Boyd, looks at the range of activities and events available for TV and film students.
In the UK there are plenty of opportunities to find events and activities related to film. In Scotland there is the Edinburgh Film Festival that took place in June of this year. The Festival promotes the very best of international cinema. Films such as Little Miss Sunshine, Billy Elliot and The Hurt Locker premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, so it’s a fantastic place to catch some high quality filmmaking. Recently Sheffield’s Documentary Festival took place which included documentary film screenings, debates and talks. In Northern Ireland some upcoming events include a talk by Catherine Geary who is the location manager of Dracula Untold, taking place in September. Northern Ireland has also previously had the Game of Thrones exhibition available to visit. The UK is full of places to go to watch films as well as learn about them. Carrying out research will assist you in discovering what your local area has to offer in terms of film based activities and events.
There is a lot more to film than watching the latest blockbuster. ProductionBase blogger, Sharon Boyd, looks at the other options that film students should be exploring.
For students studying film, many of them seem to limit themselves by only watching the latest blockbusters in their local Odeon. They’ll watch the genres, be diehard fans of X-Men and know every scene in The Hobbit, and maybe they know lots of facts about them, but as film students surely it’s important to broaden your horizons and watch films you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.
Sharon Boyd looks at the first steps to take when graduating from a Media degree:
So you’ve spent three years studying the likes of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and W. J. T. Mitchell alongside writing scripts, shooting on a Sony HDW750P or a Canon 7D, colour correcting in Final Cut Pro or Avid, and learning to analyse and think critically about the media world. Now what? For some of you it might be a case of having a night on the piss and sitting on your arse for the remainder of the summer, maybe applying to the odd job. For others, perhaps you would rather not waste your £27,000 costing 2:1 degree by living off dole money and continuing the typical student life of sleeping all-day and instead actually start making yourself as employable as possible by getting a foot in the door and beginning your career in the media industry.
Sharon Boyd looks at how to use your university connections to improve your employability whilst you study:
The general impression of undergraduates isn’t always a favourable one. Frequently when thinking of student life we conjure up images of intoxicated individuals stealing traffic cones, and spending the majority of the sunlight hours sleeping off hangovers, and those regretful decisions of choosing to have garlic mayo on their kebab the night before. But alongside the parties, many of these students still manage to be academically successful by having a good balance between their social life and studies, which is key for any student wanting to do well but have fun at the same time.
Sharon Boyd takes a look at whether a Media degree is really necessary in order to start a career in TV and film production:
You study a media based degree and therefore consider yourself to be a media practitioner, maybe you know how to cut a few clips together and add a couple of effects in Final Cut Pro? Maybe you can snap a few photographs on a ‘real’ camera rather than using Instagram? Or maybe you can sit down and instantly write what you believe to be an award winning script? I’m going to stop you there. This does not make you an editor, or a photographer, or a scriptwriter. Maybe you aren’t an amateur, but neither are you a professional, well not quite yet anyway.
Sharon Boyd takes a look at the huge range of different university courses available to those looking to start out in the media industries:
It is clear that there are a wide range of media based degrees that exist and every University course is going to differ in what they teach you and how they teach you. Some degrees tend to be heavily theory based, while others focus more on the practical aspects of the media, and still others blend both theory and practice together. When researching what degree to choose prospective students need to understand what they are actually applying to do, and often there is a bombardment of search results which can make it hard to know where to start.
Samuel Thornhill takes a look at how media undergraduates can expand their knowledge and improve their career prospects by taking advantage of the opportunities on offer from the likes of the BFI, BAFTA and The British Council.
‘It all starts here. Every line of dialogue and piece of action first appeared on the blank page of the screenwriter.’ Or did it? Was the ‘blank page’ actually covered in creative murmurings scratched onto post-it notes? As an undergraduate, there’s a limit on how much you can learn in a conventional university environment. It’s important to learn from the best and a great way to do this is by attending guest lectures and seminars from successful industry personalities to get the inside scoop on their working methods as unconventional as they may be sometimes.
In recent weeks, BAFTA has played host to a series of screenwriting lectures by some of the industry’s finest screenwriters which has somewhat lifted the lid on the method and the madness behind creating a successful screenplay. The five part series has featured guest lectures from comic book enthusiast and the man behind Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, David S. Goyer; Oscar nominee and writer of Erin Brokovich and The Soloist, Susannah Grant; the creative force behind the Bourne franchise and Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy; Hossein Amini, one of a select few that beautifully construct screenplays through stunning visual direction and Richard Curtis, one of the cornerstones of quintessential British romantic comedy.
Samuel Thornhill takes a look at what film festivals can offer undergraduates looking to break into the industry, and looks ahead to some of the highlights coming up at this years’ BFI London Film Festival:
One way to get an idea of the industry you work within is to get out there and experience the best (and worst) that is currently occupying the market. Film festivals present a unique opportunity for undergraduates to meet some of the professionals and contemporaries that are making inroads into the industry at that moment whilst promoting your own work and standing within the industry. If you’re not equipped with a project that you’re looking to gain distribution for, festivals can provide a real insight into marketing and distribution strategy too, with panels and seminars being regularly added to festivals to make them even more appealing.
For undergraduates, it’s not just about working towards your first step after graduation. Film festivals can be hugely beneficial in an academic sense too. Film festivals are often able to exhibit work that would otherwise not be shown for a prolonged period of time or at all in conventional screenings. For those of us who are (sadly) stuck deep in a rut in their analysis of counter cinema or foreign language markets, surely there’s no better place to view such films than in a festival environment with like-minded people who may well be interested in your study.
Having secured a place on a competitive university course, unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. According to the graduate market in 2013, 47% of leading UK graduate employers would be unlikely to offer a position within their company to an applicant with no work experience.
With competition for jobs in the media industries particularly fierce, there are a number of ways in which undergraduates can become more appealing to employers during the course of a degree.
Here’s five ways undergraduates can make themselves more employable over the duration of their degree: