26 September 2019
Film has to be a community thing or it doesn’t work. You put out crew calls, go into classes beforehand and ask if anyone wants to get involved with your project. We help each other out.
At ARU, I knew the year above quite well, and in my first year I worked on someone’s project as a runner. It was good because I saw how they worked on set. It gives you a real insight into how the course works when you first start.
That's not the only hands-on experience I've had. Every year there’s Cambridge Film Festival and Watersprite International Film Festival that we’re encouraged to volunteer for. One year I was an audience member, the next I was part of the filming crew. It has a great community from all over world – not just the UK or US – and I’m hoping to get involved in a greater capacity in the upcoming year.
There’s a lot about the life of films on the course too. We’re always told to think about our audience, where the film will go. One of our briefs on the Short Fiction module was to create a 90-second film for a competition, which was quite a challenge. It’s quite cool that this was on our core module – here is a real competition that happens every year, so you’re getting real experience.
If there are any other little jobs or talks, we’re always notified. There are many talks, lectures and workshops that we’re encouraged to attend. They’re beneficial to network and think about your steps after university.
Sophie Jackson, our Course Leader, put me and another student forward for the role of undergraduate researcher with StoryLab, one of ARU's research institutes. I started out organising a film project called The River for a competition (LOROS) involving a hospice, doing a lot of test shoots and scheduling, having conversations with contributors, coming up with rigging, shots, and arranging for it to go to festivals. Now I’m working on a project called Arriving, and I’m staying for the summer as the director of StoryLab has invited me to help with the planning, scheduling, and pre-production.
Cambridge is like a small London, especially for the tech industry – it’s always buzzing, there are always things going on. I want to stay here after university because there’s a lot of jobs I’ll be able to do. Film, gaming and music are big things here.
I came into the course not knowing much about tech. The course allowed me to go through a process of trial and error. I’ve seen a lot of people change the way they work, and I have too. There’s a structure to the way we work. The course allows you to explore different roles but it gets harder each year. You have to start pitching and proving that you are prepared for anything whilst making your film.
When I first started the course I knew there would be a major project, and thought 'No, never. Not doing it' because I knew I wanted to make a musical. I always liked music but in the end, decided to keep it as a hobby. Now, going into Year 3, I’ve seen so many different genres of films be made. It gave me the confidence to at least try to pitch my musical. That's the measure of how much I've changed.