Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    From searching online I have heard mixed reviews about the film course at UCa Farnham and am wondering if anyone can give me any insight into what it's actually like to study film there as a course? I've heard that it can be quite unorganized and they encorage independant study which to me is off putting as I want to go to University to learn new and specific things and not just to develop the skills that I already have.
    • TSR Community Team
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    TSR Community Team
    Hi - sorry you haven't had a response to this yet. I'm just going to bump the thread in the hope that someone sees this and can help
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hey there,You learn everything you need in the first year, everything after that is repetition, with the idea that from your own personal previous experiences, you'll improve. Which isn't the same as them teaching you a comprehensive manifestation of a specialism. So yeah, a lot of empahsis on 'the kit is in the equipment hire, we'll set you a deadline for a film, but you've got to research in library/online and practice in your freetime to improve'. They'd never agree with that assessment of the course, but it's not the intensive and comprehensive guided learning that some may expect from a three year full time higher education experience. And you do have to do essays and a disseration, because otherwise they can't call it a degree; which some people grumble about because they just want the practical stuff. But then it'd be like a Btech or something, and not a degree.(continued in next post...)
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Key points as I'm thinking now:

    - You don't get to try out all specialisms comprehensively; after the first project you learn that it's tough doing what you'd like to on a project, and because you're put in groups and then have to split the specialisms between those people, the competition for certain roles never stops (i.e. you have to really work your social skills to finally get a chance to Direct if it ever happens etc, you're better off focusing on another specialism if you can just to get a proper repetition of experiencing it on projects).

    - The workshops and specialism lessons don't really do much to truly transform a student from novice to comprehensively informed; again if you're not getting the equipment out, doing your own research from library materials and online, you won't comprehensively be able to carry out that specialism to a professional standard. It's basically: here's the equipment hire, here's the library, here are some tutors you can ask questions to, but it's on you to figure out what you need to learn and learn it on your own time. And because that's technically the definitions of what you spend tuition fees on (facilities and tutors etc) they can't be found to be letting anyone down...technically.

    - The other people on the course and the luck of the draw of who's in your year group, decides a lot about the first year's randomly created (by the tutors) groups that you work in. So if you're not in a strong group, you either personally compensate or you end up with a terrible film. Be prepared to end up with a lot of terrible films; which leads me onto...

    - The only way to make a 'good' film that gets a strong grade, is to play it super safe. If you've made a film that's not about people you're own age (they love a film with a middle aged or elderly person in it), that is about the psychological expression of characters more than complicated plot points (so dialogue and dramatic conversations aplenty, even though ironically within screenwriting they try and dissuade dialogue heavy scripts at first), and has classic and safe shots and soundscapes, you may find yourself losing good grades because a group of pretty subjective tutors give marks on the film and decide that they 'didn't get it'. Just be technically safe, safe about character choices, and safe about everything else. Safe safe safe. Plus a sweet comedy film proficiently shot, they like that too.
    - There will be the 'star' players that make a reputation for themselves in a specialism (which are cinematographer, producer, screenwriter or doc researcher, director, editor, sound recordist/designer, production design and then to a lesser extent 1st AD, gaffer, 1st AC etc etc) and it's tough to be thought of for roles after those handful of names become everyone's first choice. And the element that causes them to make films with people, are that the star players work together, and that the social connections cause nepotism (so those people you met up with in halls from your course and become drinking buddies with will most likely end up on your grad films with you).

    (continued...)
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I'm trying to think of anything else besides the above. All I'm saying is, you could learn everything from books, the internet and work experience. In fact that's another thing about the star players, a lot of them get little jobs peppered throughout the degree outside of Uni; freelance camera operator and editing gigs, work experience, working at film festivals etc. This ends up being a really strong part of the extent to which you're employed immediately after the degree's over versus spending the next few years playing catch up on this front.



    So you could:

    a.) just attend the first year, use the facilities to the max and get a sense of it, then use your +1 student finance to start the next year in year one again, at another Uni doing a more academic degree, continuing to make films in your free time Christopher Nolan style (he did an English degree at UCL and made films using the film society's equipment I think) with your new found year of knowledge accumilation using facilities that you've paid 9,000 for but in a really affordable way...so you get the best of both worlds

    b.) just do the degree, knowing its downsides and major flaws, because well you need to appease your "I need a degree" worries (and your parents) and do everything you need to, to compensate for the downsides and go into the film industry with a film degree from a Uni that the industry will recognise

    c.) Do what you'd do on the degree, but in your own time and in industry, working your way up from a Runner and getting the promoted jobs until one day you're doing the specialism you like best. So work experience, buying the books, maybe developing a good relationship with an equipment hire to get stuff and learn about it; buying cheap equipment and making clever films on a budget with friends you've made from working on other people's low budget short films that you find out about on the right websites online, and entering into short film festivals until you have a good imdb page of successes etc etc.

    d.) Do something else



    Just be informed, make your decision from the options, and work really hard knowing you made the best decision for you, not for anyone else, and not in an optimistic and uninformed way.



    Hope this massive outpouring helps and good luck with everything
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by filmprod)
    I'm trying to think of anything else besides the above. All I'm saying is, you could learn everything from books, the internet and work experience. In fact that's another thing about the star players, a lot of them get little jobs peppered throughout the degree outside of Uni; freelance camera operator and editing gigs, work experience, working at film festivals etc. This ends up being a really strong part of the extent to which you're employed immediately after the degree's over versus spending the next few years playing catch up on this front.



    So you could:

    a.) just attend the first year, use the facilities to the max and get a sense of it, then use your +1 student finance to start the next year in year one again, at another Uni doing a more academic degree, continuing to make films in your free time Christopher Nolan style (he did an English degree at UCL and made films using the film society's equipment I think) with your new found year of knowledge accumilation using facilities that you've paid 9,000 for but in a really affordable way...so you get the best of both worlds

    b.) just do the degree, knowing its downsides and major flaws, because well you need to appease your "I need a degree" worries (and your parents) and do everything you need to, to compensate for the downsides and go into the film industry with a film degree from a Uni that the industry will recognise

    c.) Do what you'd do on the degree, but in your own time and in industry, working your way up from a Runner and getting the promoted jobs until one day you're doing the specialism you like best. So work experience, buying the books, maybe developing a good relationship with an equipment hire to get stuff and learn about it; buying cheap equipment and making clever films on a budget with friends you've made from working on other people's low budget short films that you find out about on the right websites online, and entering into short film festivals until you have a good imdb page of successes etc etc.

    d.) Do something else



    Just be informed, make your decision from the options, and work really hard knowing you made the best decision for you, not for anyone else, and not in an optimistic and uninformed way.



    Hope this massive outpouring helps and good luck with everything

    Thank you so much this is really helpful! The main thing I want out of university is to have more technical knowledge on different equipment and techniques so that is what I'm hoping to achieve by the end of it, as well as maybe even some connections. To be honest I am just going to cross my fingers, work hard and take every opportunity that I can get to get some real industry experience, hopefully that is enough for me to make it. I've applied to UCA Farnham now and I'm so glad that I've got this candid response about what the course is really like. Thank you!
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: June 13, 2018
Poll
How are you feeling in the run-up to Results Day 2018?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.