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Elit Pictures — how to start a business as a student

If you still haven’t heard of Elit pictures, I’m sure you will in the next few years. It all started when three boys met in the UK and decided they want to make movies.

Renato Dias, Gonçalo Valle and Bruno Mojs met in the UK when they started their film courses at the Solent University, Southampton. Gonçalo and Renato are from Portugal and Bruno comes from Slovakia. It all started with their assignments and making movies for the university. Pretty soon both professors and they realised they can and want to do more.

“Making movies outside university requires a unique approach” — Renato, Gonçalo and Bruno highlight when they describe how it all started. Soon they started making projects for MA students while still studying their Bachelor’s. Once they realised they want to work independently, that meant switching to providing a service and taking the business to another level.

Renato, Gonçalo and Bruno don’t own a company yet. Instead, they work as a group of freelancers and work on all projects together under the name of the group company. Establishing a company in the UK is a long process, especially while still being a student. That’s why they decided to work as freelancers and all the advice given on that matter came from their university.

Most universities these days offer business advisors for ambitious students and future entrepreneurs. The boys behind Elit pictures took that opportunity and got support from their professors as well. Eventually, they started delivering their independent made films to their university assignments. Not only that, but their tutors and professors often gave them advice on how to be better and how to improve their work.

When asked what kind of projects they like doing the most — all three of them agree that a little bit of everything makes the job perfect. That includes narrative projects, short films, documentaries, corporate videos for companies. They say the market isn’t very big for now, but they say their objective is to make films. And once you’ve set that, no matter how utopian it sounds, your persistence and putting yourself into it will make it worth the effort.

So far the group of freelancers found most of their new clients through word of mouth. They admit marketing is not their strength but most of the people they work with recommend them to someone else and get the ball rolling.

In other words, networking is something that opens many doors, as in every other type of business. That’s exactly what happened to Renato, Gonçalo and Bruno when they won a pitch at the OK Estudiante (OK Student’s sister company in Portugal) pitching contest. They met new people, potential clients and they actively started looking for a job.

When asked how hard it is to find new projects, they all said — you have to look for it, it won’t show up in front of your door. One of the most important things in starting a creative business is building a portfolio and showcasing your work. That’s why they organise mini premieres for their movies as that’s how they meet new people.

The boys expressed how the most exhausting process in their movie making business is finding the funds. They started several crowdfunding campaigns, with one of them still active. When asked the opposite, which part of the process they like the most and what role they see themselves in in the future all three answered at once — directing.

If they could give any advice to future business-making students, it would be “try to get into a pitching contest”. That’s the right place to find people who invest in projects and therefore, might invest in you and your ideas. Also, be aware that almost every business is going to lose more in their first year than it’s going to earn. However, that’s an experience you have to go through. All the projects you make in your first year you can use in building your portfolio and prepare yourself for future problems and questions. In the meantime, make sure you surround yourself with people who are similar to you, people who motivate you. That’s what influenced Renato, Gonçalo and Bruno the most — the fact they met each other.

Elit pictures are currently making videos and films in the UK, but when asked where they see themselves in the future, the answer is quite simple — “depends on the opportunities.”

The only thing they know for sure is that studying abroad made their dreams come true and turned out to be the best decision they ever made. They say how no one else can fulfil your wishes — the only person who can change something is you. Embrace the changes and opportunities available to you — say Renato, Gonçalo and Bruno.

OK Student (OK Estudante in Portugal) helped them secure a place at university in the UK. If you’re struggling with fulfilling your dream about studying in the UK and starting an independent life — OK Student is here to help. Send us an email at info@okstudent.co.uk.

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