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 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.
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:
University degrees in the media sector have become a topic of ridicule amongst many in recent years mainly due to the multitude of courses available to undergraduate students. With tuition fees rising and the diversity of courses on offer showing no signs of subsiding, are undergraduates making the right decision when choosing their courses and if so, are universities justifying an expense which averaged £26,000 amongst 2012 graduates?
Choosing the right course is a difficult decision for any undergraduate and whilst there is a wealth of guidance available from organisations looking to help students make the right decision, often key question go unasked during the application process which have far reaching effects on the graduate market.
This summer, like the last one (and many before) will see graduates unleashed onto the workforce looking to gain that all important first rung on the ladder of their media career. PB’s Joe Mahoney offers up some valuable tips to those about to embark on the hunt for their first job.
1. Keep in touch with as many people as you can – uni mates, past employers from work experience can be a good source of information and can give you a heads up on what’s happening.
2. Think about your online profile and the impression it gives of you to potential employers. Although production companies don’t actively search for graduates via networking sites such as Facebook, they may do a quick check on you prior to an interview. So make sure it doesn’t have embarrassing photos of you throwing up on the pavement from a night out nor has derogatory comments about other people.