Second Year Film and Television Production: First Semester Summary!

So here it is. Here are my thoughts on my first semester of my second year in Film and Television Production! A bit late I know, but you know what they say, ‘better late than never’. As I did before in my first-year summary post, I will be going through the modules, giving my opinion on each one, enjoy!  
(Disclaimer: modules on this course are always changing so might be different or non-existent by the time you’re reading this blog post.)

Genre Filmmaking: (Optional)  
Short version: The module was good, the teamwork side of it not so much.

Genre Filmmaking develops your knowledge and experience of the technical, creative, organisational and practical demands involved in genre film production. The overarching theme of the module is the development of the creative processes in relation to genre. Genre filmmaking gives you the opportunity to test out ideas or tell a story within the boundaries of generic conventions. In addition, you will need to think critically about genre in the context of your production.

Long version: I have mixed opinions on this module, as I somewhat liked it in places, but

A screenshot from my film.

I did find it stressful in places due to the heavy focus on teamwork, because if members of your group don’t want to work, you’ve got to do their share of the work in most cases, which unfortunately happened a lot to me.
For this module, there is two pieces of coursework: a 10-minute group pitch and a 5-minute film with all the required paperwork. The pitch went really well overall, as you can get extra marks for being theatrical, so my group dressed up as the victims from our comedy/horror film, with fake blood and all.
The film, on the other hand, had many complications tied to it, as the footage shot had many errors with it, so it made my job of editing it needlessly stressful. But with everything said and done, the film got a first, so overall there’s a happy ending to this story.

Analysing Film and Television: (Compulsory)
Short version: I don’t really like this module.

“Analysing Film and Television develops your skills in the close analysis of film and television. The module surveys a range of critical approaches to the study of film and television institutions, texts and audiences. You will gain the skills necessary to develop and undertake analysis as part of a film and/or television research project.”

Creative Edge lecture theatre.

Long version: Theory isn’t for everyone, and I am the everyone in this situation. This isn’t the first time I’ve studied films in this way, my whole media A Level comprised of this sort of analysis. But for some reason this time I wasn’t very engaged, which could mostly be down to the fact that I’m a very hands-on sort of worker, I like to have a finished product at the end of it all I can be proud of. Unfortunately, most people on my course also seem to struggle with this theory module because just like me, they’re very practical. And the whole module is marked on essays.
On a happier note, I got to learn more about the male gaze and studies around this topic, which I loved, as I find it interesting to learn about the representation of women in the media industry, as spoilers: it can be very phallocentric (all about men) on times. Which hopefully will change, one woman at a time!  

Screenwriting: (Optional)
Short version: I loved this module!  

Screenwriting develop your understanding of the theory and craft of screenwriting and will include consideration of story, narrative structure, character, setting, dialogue, original screenplay and adaptation.  The module enables you to demonstrate your creative potential via the development of and reflection on their ideas and scripts.”

Long version: Okay where do I begin. First off I’m an aspiring screenwriter, making this module a big must when it came to picking modules. However, I didn’t know how much this module would impact my writing.
There is two pieces of coursework you are marked on for this module which is a 3-minute pitch about the script you plan to write, and the finished script with development materials (log line, character biographies, etc).
When I heard that we had to pitch in front of the whole class I was not happy, as I sometimes struggle to talk in front of crowds, but what made it worse was the fact that we couldn’t have a powerpoint and it had to all my memorised, I’m terrible at that. However, against all odds, I did one of the best pitches in my course, which is honestly crazy to me. Which goes to show that a lot of preparation and rehearsing of these types of things always helps. And now my fear of pitching has dropped by quite a bit, I still get butterflies, but that’s natural and actually helps me to do my best.  
So now that’s out of the way all I had to do was write the script, which I loved doing, once I was on a roll there was no stopping me, which was part of the issue. I wrote 16 pages, for a 10-page script… so that took a lot of editing down.
But I can honestly say I’ve taken four key things away from this module:

  1. How to format a script, as I kinda knew, but not to a professional standard.
  2. Short films don’t have to be complex, as most great short films are one place, one time.
  3. Only keep what is crucial to the story when writing short films – waffling can occur on times when you’re writing without you even realising it, so is something you have to keep an eye on when editing!  
  4. And finally, I learned that it’s best to follow what you think is right than what other people think sometimes. I was headstrong with my idea and it paid off, I took on people’s critics and changed when needed, but never compromised on what I wanted. Which is probably why I got a first overall for this module, who knows.But to summarise: screenwriting is an awesome module if you love to write and want to turn that love into a skill!

I hope you learned something from this post or at least found it interesting. There is a lot of other modules that I have not discussed as unfortunately, you can’t study them all, so please feel free to check out the website for the rest of them. I’m currently studying documentary and advanced post-production, so stay tuned for that post!
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: Planet Earth II (2016-)

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