Unit 11 – Progression

My next step in m progression to being a filmmaker is university. I’m using university as an opportunity to develop and refine my filming skills, as well as network with other filmmakers. I applied to five universities through UCAS, which meant inputting all my personal information, along with a 4000 word personal statement, that would be sent of to my chosen universities for consideration. UCAS is a fantastic website that has lots of helpful information on it to guide you through the application process and I found using the videos they provided helped me a lot, especially when writing my personal statement.

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Final personal statement

I’ve always been a creative person and have enjoyed exploring the world around me through art, writing and most recently, film. The lightbulb moment for me was when I discovered that there were colleges and universities offering film courses that could allow me to pursue it as a career. Suddenly, I understood that working in film could be a reality and a course in film would not only improve my skills, but would also enable me to develop a specialism within the film industry. Since my interest in film began, I have immersed myself in cinema as much as possible. I’m currently at Kendal College doing an Extended Diploma in film production. It’s been the best introduction to film I could ask for, giving me enough practical skills and general knowledge to broaden my understanding of film workflows. The course introduced me to all aspects of film production and while I am enthusiastic about all of them, I’ve found myself drawn increasingly towards cinematography. Because at college we are taught how to use the exposure triangle, mise en scene, composition rules and other such techniques effectively, I have been able to explore cinematography in greater depths and the way that art and science can be combined to produce such strong emotional responses never fails to amaze me. My course
has highlighted some personal qualities I have that help me in film. It’s shown me that in a group I am able to find my voice and contribute creatively, whilst also making sure to listen carefully to what others have to say. Good teamwork is a key part of a successful film, and I have discovered I am strong at keeping a crew grounded and on task. I am good with time management and organization. As well as studying film, I’m also working towards an A-level in maths. This has meant that I’ve learnt to plan my time so I can stay on top of the work for both. By studying film and maths, I’m keeping both the creative and scientific sides of my brain active. Outside of college, I’ve been involved in a number of extra projects in film. I volunteered to be a runner for a professional film that was being shot locally, and this was great as it gave me a feel for what the pace and atmosphere of a film set is like. This experience led me to discover the BFI Film Academy run by Signal Films, and again this has been good for me to see how a crew works together within their separate roles. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet people that share my interests and will work on future extra-curricular projects with me. The most incredible experience for me was representing Kendal College and winning the gold medal at the final of the WorldSkills Video Moving Image competition, a national competition for college students. Sixty teams entered into the passing stage, but by the finals there were just five. The final took place over three days and in that time, my team and I planned, pitched, filmed and edited a four-minute film, based on the brief “dreams of the future”. We were praised by the judges for our excellent teamwork; each person in the team had their own role (director, cinematographer, sound recordist and editor) and we put a lot of effort into our respective roles, whilst always supporting and giving peer feedback to each other. Our attitude was personable and professional, and our time management meant we finished comfortably within the deadline. I was the cinematographer and the judges noted that the shots were vibrant and nicely framed. Quoting the judges, we were told we’d “be an asset to any production team”. It’s experiences like these that have solidified my desire to explore film at a deeper level. I’m hoping that a degree in film production will open doors
for me and give me routes of progression into the industry, by building up my confidence using film equipment and working on set with the cast and crew, as well as giving me the opportunity to make professional connections with people in the film industry who can support my work in the future.

The personal statement is the most important part of the application, as it’s a chance to really prove to the universities that you are a promising student who would be an asset to the course, so I wrote three drafts of it previous to the final draft to make sure that it was the best it could possibly be. I included everything I’d done related to film that might be of interest and tried to show them that I have qualities that would help me go far in the film industry.

Application Tracking

Once my application was sent off, I could follow it’s progress on UCAS’ tracking page.

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So far four out of my five choices have given me a conditional offer. I picked each university carefully to suit me and what I wanted to get out of uni. As I want to specialise in cinematography, every course I picked offers the option in second and third year to choose a specialism and focus on it. Also, all theses courses have specific sections in their tutoring that focus on cameras and lighting. I made sure to compare universities on websites like Unistats, to find out which had the highest ratings for student satisfaction, as well as the amount of people that entered employment after finishing the course and what level of employment they entered into. This was a big concern of mine as I know how difficult it is to get jobs in the film industry, so my main focus was finding a course that would best set me up for life after university.

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