Why Film School: A comprehensive guide
Here at Screen and Film School we understand that choosing your next steps into higher education is a huge, and sometimes daunting decision. Our Student Blogger Ellenor Jenns has been busy interviewing some of her fellow BA (Hons) Filmmaking students to find out exactly why they chose to study at the Film School, and why it might be the right choice for you too…
When deciding what to do after finishing college or sixth form, the thought probably crosses your mind about whether to go to university. You might initially be put off by the tuition fees and maintenance loans, or the three years that you aren’t in a full time job, and trust me – they’re valid concerns. Once upon a time I had these very same concerns, and believe it or not, I was at one point completely convinced that university wasn’t for me.
You might consider a non-specialised university, or an online, part-time course. Looking at all these options may even have you asking ‘Why film school? What’s so special about it?’. To give you a better look into what film school has to offer, I’ve interviewed students at Screen and Film School Brighton; Ivy, Casper, Jay, Jess and Alexis. I’ve compiled their answers into a handy little list of reasons you might want to consider attending!
Staff are passionate about what they’re teaching
Coming from my personal experience, all of the lecturers that I’ve had in my two years at Screen and Film School have been incredibly passionate about film, and their knowledge of film and their specialisms has really helped me grow as a filmmaker. While interviewing my fellow students, they communicated the same thing. “A lot of the staff are clearly very passionate about the topics they are teaching and really care about the students enjoying the modules and helping us succeed, supporting us academically and as people” said Jay, a second year student.
Throughout the interviews, every student was extremely happy with their lecturers and the knowledge that they’ve passed on to them. They also communicated that compared to other film schools, Screen and Film School was the best suited to their needs as students and developing filmmakers.
The student support team is fantastic
Doing a degree is stressful enough for some, and that’s not even factoring in other personal circumstances like having to move to a new city, adjusting to student life and not having your family around, or the array of things that you may face in the first few months. Student support is there for you whenever.
Whether it be that you’re struggling with adjusting to the move, you’re struggling with deadlines and workload, or you’re struggling with your mental health; student support will be there for you through it in the best way they can. All you’ve got to do is email them, or pop into the student services office – they’ll do their absolute best to find the best way to help and support you, and it’s all completely confidential.
“I have felt so supported by the team at Screen and Film School , they’ve helped me more in just a year than every school and college I’ve been to combined.” Jess from first year told me.
Ivy, a second year student also echoed this, saying; “The student support team have been there for me without fail when I’ve needed them. I’ve had several personal problems with my health and personal life since coming here and every time the support team and my tutors have done everything they could to support me both academically and emotionally.”
Casper, also a second year, added; “Student support are wonderful and have supported me with everything I’ve needed, even outside of university. They have gone above and beyond to make me feel like a valued member of the Film School. I am autistic and disabled so having a good support team was crucial for me. They have helped me massively with adjusting to moving cities.”
As someone who has been using student support actively since November after struggling with my mental health, I can also attest to the fact that the support that I’ve received has been phenomenal and that because of it I have been able to succeed academically and also make strides in improving my mental health. Had it not have been for student support and the understanding of my lecturers, I highly doubt that I would have been able to progress to the second half of my second year as smoothly, if at all.
The modules are made to work for YOU
During the three years at Screen and Film School, you’ll find that the modules you’re doing are made with your learning and development in mind.
In first year, you’ll get a taste of multiple aspects of film production, right from the beginning to the end. You’ll get the chance to try out roles as part of a crew and find what you want to do in second year, and in second year you narrow your focus to two main aspects you want to learn more about. If you so desire, you can still experiment with production roles, but you’ll putting most of your energy into your two chosen ‘specialisms’.
Finally, in third year, you get to choose one of the two specialisms, and you will specialise in that for the entire year.
The progression is gradual but really hinges on giving you the freedom to explore, choose and learn how you need to. Lecturers are readily available to guide you with your modules through 1-to-1 sessions throughout the year, and through the resources provided to you inside and outside of class, you take the reigns on how you want to approach the work given and receive feedback along the way.
“Lecturers have given great feedback to me when I’ve asked for it.’ Alex, a second year student chimed in. ‘Because of Screen and Film School I’ve had the time in lectures to get my hands on equipment and actually focus on practical work as well as written stuff, which has been brilliant”.
When I asked everyone this, they said much of the same. Jay elaborated; “I have learnt a lot about the industry because of the modules I’ve done. I’ve gained additional insight into how you actually get into the industry, as before, I felt that finding a job or placement was always very unachievable, like it was some big mystery. But since being at the Film School I have learnt that it is actually very achievable, and that I have the necessary skills to do so.”
Out of all of the questions I asked, I got the strongest response to this one – everyone had so much positivity to contribute about their experiences which were lovely to hear, especially since my experience has been equally as positive. Although it took some adjusting at first, modules are tailored so that you can get the most out of them and so that they work for you and your learning style and needs. The feedback everyone gets is specific, detailed and constructive.
You can network with fellow students and work with industry professionals
When you first join the Film School, you might be nervous about making industry contacts and finding people to work on projects with you within the film school. During your time here, you’ll have many chances to practice this during your short film work and in your specialisms in second year. It will be up to you and your peers to assemble crews and get to know each other professionally, which is a great way to start networking. The people you attend university with could end up being lifelong collaborative partners, and handy people to know for further networking post-film school.
As well as this, Screen and Film School also have established relationships with many companies and industry professionals in the UK and work with them regularly. They also do masterclasses with many of them, and you get the chance to ask questions to them directly. Currently, second year students are working with MPB to create a series of promotional videos for their social media – a wonderful opportunity to those taking part, and a collaboration that strengthens Screen and Film School’s relationship and reputation with them. Students are actively given the choice to take part in these, and a lot of students who do, go on to work with some of those companies when they graduate.
“Through Screen and Film School I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Russell T Davies and get his personal advice on how I should continue in my career, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with other students, attend masterclasses and workshops with industry specialists, as well as work on additional projects outside of class that have expanded my knowledge and abilities. I’m currently waiting to hear back from a large film and media production company about potential work this summer!”– Ivy, Screen and Film School Brighton student
All in all…
Screen and Film School is my university, and I am so happy to be here as a student, as are all of the people I’ve spoken to. No university is perfect, and will never claim to be, but Screen and Film School to me and so many others was the place that spoke to us the most. The facilities, opportunities, support and valuable knowledge gained is second to none in our eyes, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place quite as special.
Although everyone I interviewed had nothing but good things to say, they all said the same in the end – the choice should be YOURS. We can tell you how amazing Screen and Film School is all we want, but your decision should be based on what’s best for you and where you feel most comfortable.
Come and have a look at the buildings, ask questions and get a feel for the place before making a decision. We hope that you’ll fall in love with Screen and Film School just like we did, and join us this year in September!
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