My First Month in the Film Industry

I’ve been working with Creative Colony for about a month now. I’m studying film at university, and while I wouldn’t swap the things I’ve learnt during my degree for anything else, work experience in the film industry is invaluable.

The first new challenge I faced was learning how to use new editing software, cameras and sound equipment. At university you work with the same people, the same equipment and editing software throughout your course. This means that the moment you’re put somewhere else, you have to adjust to buttons being in the wrong place or keyboard short cuts not doing what they should do anymore. The chance to learn how to operate new things, be it a change in editing software or unfamiliar sound equipment means that I now have more knowledge that I can use in the future. Whether that’s when I find myself working with the same equipment again, or using my knowledge of other bits of equipment to help adapt my techniques to the new challenges I’m facing.

Filming is different too, most of my experience has been filming short fiction films and so far the shoots I’ve been on have been for nonfiction films. This means a change in film style. In the past I’ve used a single camera and then done multiple takes of the same scene so that I then have different angles to cut between. In contrast the majority of the work I’ve done at Creative Colony has been based around interviews so I’ve been using two cameras to capture two angles to cut between rather than a single camera. This means that editing the footage is different, with interviews I find myself looking more at what the interviewee said, and which parts demonstrate best the point the film needs to make, in fiction film, it’s the best take, where the actors are the most convincing. That said it doesn’t mean I can’t apply some of the things I’ve learnt in making nonfiction film to fiction film. Basic technical things like framing and focus are equally important in fiction film. Cutaways are frequently used in nonfiction film so that a spectator isn’t just looking at one person talk at a camera, but these can be used for establishing shots in fiction film.

I’ve not just had the opportunity to expand on pre-existing skills though. I’ve also been able to try my hand at lots of other things too. I’ve experimented with animating basic graphics, learnt how to edit photos, and designed the front of DVDs. These things are all aspects of the industry I wouldn’t usually get to experience on a film course at university as they tend to focus on live action work. It’s great to have been able to learn new things and gain experience that may set me apart from my peers in a very competitive industry.

You also don’t have to cater to clients at university. Usually there’s a brief for your film, and a lecturer might give you feedback which you can use to improve but it’s not the same as working towards someone else’s creative vision. Sometimes it’s tricky and you have to change things that you don’t want to change, but it teaches you to really consider the ideas of others, which is something you don’t necessarily have to do in a classroom.

Overall this one month has confirmed that this is definitely an industry I want to work in, and while I’m still trying to my hand at everything, I know that this experience is going to develop many skills I can apply to different areas in the future. I am incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity and it’s been great to have the chance to improve and apply all the knowledge university has given me so far.

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