Studying film at university gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, meet with producers and companies, make your own projects, and get you one step closer to working in Hollywood.
I studied undergraduate Film Studies at the University of Greenwich. I chose Film Studies because I knew I wanted to work in that industry, but wasn’t exactly sure in what capacity. Film Studies, as opposed to Film Production, meant I could learn both practical and theoretical skills. Afterwards,I chose to do a Masters Degree in Screenwriting at the University of Arts London.
I undertook A-Levels in English Literature, Language, Media Studies and Film, but this wasn’t necessarily true of everyone on the course. It was more important to show a passion for the Film industry than to have studied it at A-Level, whether this was through studying or work outside of education.
My course covered a range of different areas of film, I studied modules in the History of Cinema (German, Hollywood, British), Cinematography,and Screenwriting. For my BA, it was assessed by a mixture of essays and projects, which were normally films. For my MA, it was more about the project,and the research behind it. It was essential that progress was both seen, and shown. As part of my final assessment for my Masters Screen Writing degree I had to pitch my film and TV show to producers from different companies, including the BBC!
Studying film in London meant we had lots of talks and seminars from industry professionals. Having a talk from the head of WarnerBros UK distribution was great, as that was a side of the industry I hadn’t heard from before. I also got to sit in at a talk from Jed Mercurio (creator ofLine of Duty), which was incredibly informative for me as a writer. The best part about studying film was being able to experiment with different scripts and filming styles, and being surrounded by a group of peers who wanted it as bad as you, meaning that feedback was always available. The worst part was that a lot of the aspects of teaching are still quite dated. If you studied film at A-Level, you’ll most likely cover the same topics again at Uni level, but this does depend on the university.
Studying film at university is sometimes considered as being a ‘doss’ or an easy subject but that really isn’t true. You develop skills in a wide range of areas such as time management, creativity, self-discipline,communication, writing, analytics, critical thinking, and articulation abilities. These skills are vital for lots of different careers. My classmates have gone on to work in media, teaching, or further study. Writing for thes creen is the big goal of mine, and I’m currently developing a number of projects that have carried over from my Master’s degree and meeting with the contacts I made during my studies.
If you’re thinking of studying film.... Watch Films! It sounds crazy, but the amount of students who don’t actually regularly watch a variety of films, old and new is pretty amazing. It’s important to study the craft, not only for technique tips but to gather a feeling of where the industry currently is at.
By Matthew Healey, recent graduate and freelance writer
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