24 March 2020
As I pass the halfway point of my degree in Film and TV Production, I realise I have gained experience on over 20 film projects. In this blog post, I list some of my favourite moments.
In my first and second years, I decided to help third years with their final university projects. It gave me a chance to work on bigger films, and in genres outside of my comfort zone (for example, a short horror film). It was not only a great opportunity to learn from more experienced students, but a fantastic way to build friendships as well as connections for the future.
In October 2019, as an extra assignment for our documentary module, our lecturer wanted us to take a closer look at climate change in films. We were asked to create a one-minute documentary short in an experimental form. After forming small groups or pairs we got to work. Two shooting days and a couple of takes of melted ice-cream later, my course-mate Sara and I finished Bad Habits.
The best part about this extra assignment was the fact that our film was selected to be a part of the Storytelling in the 4th Industrial Revolution exhibition that took place in the Ruskin Gallery in November 2019 and attracted many visitors, including people from the film industry.
In the first semester of my second year, I decided to take a scriptwriting module. It was an easy decision for me as I had always loved writing, but lacked experience in writing for screen. These classes not only provided me with the knowledge I needed, but also helped me gain confidence in my writing. We started with theory and just coming up with ideas, then went through a couple of workshopping sessions, during which we not only got feedback from our lecturer, but from our peers too. As the result of this module, every one of us created a ten-minute script of a genre of our choosing.
In May 2019, I had my first go at screenwriting. The story I wrote was supposed to be just an exercise that would remain hidden in my desk drawer forever, but after talking to some people we decided to film it. Suddenly I found myself on set managing a 15-person crew and a bunch of actors. Relapse was a very special project for me, as it marked the beginning of fantastic friendships and collaborations. To this day it is my favourite filmmaking experience that I have ever had.
In the summer of 2019, one of our lecturers decided to commission a series of experimental short films inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. I got involved with three of the productions, performing both smaller and bigger roles. I was not expecting this initially modest project to become my biggest role in film so far. The Shakespeare films caught the attention of The Globe in London, which resulted in the first ever collaboration between this iconic theatre and the education sector. For me, that meant taking the position of Assistant Executive Producer of the entire project, gaining experience in working with clients, the commissioning process and marketing.
When I applied to university, I was certain that I wanted to learn all of the aspects of the film industry. I dreamed of working on film sets and wanted to create art that would not only show how I see the world, but also speak to others.
A lot of people think that filming opportunities are only in the biggest cities like London, but I think my experience is the best way to prove that it’s not true. In my 1.5 years at ARU studying Film & TV Production I have had so many fantastic opportunities and they will be waiting for you too! All you have to do is get involved.
By Ronnie Tomaszewska