“I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made films were magicians.” - Francis Ford Coppola the master director who gave us ‘The Godfather’ and other cinematic hits.
Cinema as an art-form offers us an experience that is simple and complex at the same time. For the common man and woman it gives them a chance to lead the lives of their super-heroes on screen. We may never ever jump from a bridge or save a city or fight a war - but cinema offers this experience to all of us.
Recently I attended the Chennai Film festival an annual event wherein a selection of movies from all over the world is screened. Over a period of four days I saw around 16 movies in different languages and genres. The use of music, the lighting, innovative scripts, powerful acting all had a major role to play in the movies. What surprised me a lot was the way the event was conducted; students from a prominent media-school in the city helped coordinate the event and they did a fabulous job.
This article talks about some of the popular film-making courses on offer and the various career opportunities for successful students.
Singapore the new media hub:
Singapore’s rise as Asia’s top-growing economy is directly linked with the top-ranking courses offered by world-class institutions, which seem to attract increasing number of international students every passing year. Nanyang Technological University
offers an extremely popular Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking course. The course is designed to offer students step-by-step training in digital filmmaking covering all the aspects of making a film.
Filmmaking courses in the UK:
- Leeds Metropolitan University
- University of Essex
- Bangor University
Leeds Metropolitan University offers the traditional BA Filmmaking (Honours) and the MA Filmmaking programme. The University of Essex offers the MA Filmmaking programme as well.
Bangor University offers a slightly unique postgraduate course titled MA Filmmaking - Concept to Screen. This taught degree programme has a unique focus, offering training in all aspects of filmmaking, from concept and creative development through the filmmaking process and on to distribution and marketing; by the end of the degree, students develop a competition and festival-ready calling-card short film, together with transferrable skills in developing and marketing their product and an understanding of the nature of the film industry.
‘Hollywood’ the very name conjures images of beautiful actresses, larger than life heroes driving swanky cars, all-powerful media moghuls and inventive directors wining and dining together in gala parties. Some of the popular institutions offering full-time courses in filmmaking in the USA
are as follows:
- Stephen F. Austin State University
- Arizona State University
The postgraduate courses at Stephen F. Austin are offered with specialized concentrations in cinematography and production design. The BA in Filmmaking Practices offered by Arizona State University is a feature-packed course teaching students production practice, independent film producing, entertainment ethics and an understanding of the role of the artist in society.
Learning cinema ‘down under’:
Fancy enjoying the beauty of Australia’s beaches and learning the craft of filmmaking then you can check the following institutions:
- University of Melbourne
- Bond University
- Deakin University
The courses offered by the various Australian institutions are a combination of film and television studies, which open up more career opportunities for students. The Bachelor of Creative Arts in Film and Television offered by Deakin University comprehensively explores the theories, techniques and practices of screen production and screen culture.
One may argue that the world’s leading film-makers did not go to any film-school or college and learnt the art of film-making by sheer persistence, hard work and assisting prominent movie-makers of their time. This is indeed true but a degree in film-making can help you hone your skills and talents and when you apply to assist a film-maker of your choice your degree offers credibility and demonstrates your passion for the craft of filmmaking.
Students have a range of options to choose from news and television to actual movie-making - there are a number of opportunities. This generation of young students is extremely lucky as technology has made a compact video-recorder affordable and internet with YouTube and other video-sharing websites allow you to shoot a short-movie and upload it with ease. A good example of the short-film success story is ‘District 9’ the extremely successful South African science fiction movie made by Neill Blomkamp. The critically acclaimed movie traces its origins to the six minute short-film titled - ‘Alive in Joburg’ directed by Neil. He has gone on to make a mainstream Hollywood production ‘Elysium’, which has garnered praise and good box-office collections.
Students can choose from roles like - editor, production controller, script-writer, direction among others. Jobs in news and television serve as a good learning experience for students as they can put their ideas into practice and also prepare for a future career in cinema and filmmaking.
“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” - Ingmar Bergman master Swedish filmmaker. When we watch a movie and analyse and either appreciate or rip it apart mercilessly we do not realise the amount of hard work and money that goes into making the movie. Moviemaking is an extremely demanding job and contemporary history shows the tough personal lives that celebrities lead. If you have a flair for creativity and love interacting with people and are ready to take the road less travelled - go ahead and enrol for a course in filmmaking
To end - This is not the end, just the beginning!!! All the very best for your quest in becoming a filmmaker.