Behind The Screen / filmmaking

Behind the Screen: Joy Shi, MA Student

29th May 2024

Welcome to another instalment of Screen and Film School’s interview series, Behind the Screen, where we chat with our talented students and graduates to explore their creative journeys so far.

This week, we’ve been chatting to Joy Shi, an accomplished student currently studying on our MA Screen & Film Production in Brighton. Join us as we find out more about her experience at Screen and Film School so far, where she sees her career in the near future, and the advice she’d give to anyone considering an MA.

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Student Insight

Why did you decide to study MA Screen & Film Production at Screen and Film School?

After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in film from Norway, I wanted to explore the film industry outside my home country. The UK film industry has always interested me with its major studios and growing production scene. From researching different UK film schools, Screen and Film School caught my attention because of its interesting modules offered in MA course, great studio facilities, and experienced film industry tutors. Additionally, the school offer unique courses and specialised departments not commonly found in other film schools. I also checked out their social media, where I saw exciting guest filmmakers coming in with masterclasses or lectures, which made me even more intrigued.

What filmmaking experience did you have before enrolling on the course?

Before enrolling here, I always had an interest in filmmaking. Starting around 10 years old, I began doing stop-motion with my dad’s camera. This led to me receiving my first film camera, with which I filmed silly videos with friends and family, teaching myself how to film and edit. Because of this hobby, I decided to pursue filmmaking as a career and enrolled in a three-year bachelor’s course in film production in Norway. During that course, I experienced different roles in production and eventually specialised as a producer. I also took on some freelance jobs as an independent filmmaker and in social media content creation, as well as completing an internship at a film production company.

What has been your favourite experience so far?

My favourite experience so far has been having the freedom as a filmmaking student, with the support and guidance to pursue what I wish to accomplish in the school. When I enrolled, I was quite unsure and not as confident about what I wanted, but I had aspirations to become a director. Through the modules and the help from different tutors with their varied feedback and encouragement, I gained the confidence to pursue my long-held dream and put it into action. Right now, I’m in production of my first-ever short film, directed and written by me. I’m nervous but also thrilled to be able to bring an idea to life with the help from the school. This film is not only made by me but by 20 other individual students and graduates from Screen and Film School, which makes it even more special.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ll take from the course?

One the most valuable lessons I learned through this course is the industry standard procedure and expectations. Everything we learn or do in this course is not only for the academic or for the current education but preparing for the future careers, such as building the portofolio, meeting the people you maybe will work in future with, learning the progress how the film production work in industry and much more. As a director, I’ve realised how crucial it is to influence my vision with my crew rather than controlling it. It’s something we all understand, but I’ve realised that putting it into practice is much harder than it seems. I’m still in the process of figuring it out.

Where do you see yourself professionally in the near future?

I hope to continue my journey as a film director, particularly in creating fiction films within film studios. Right now, I’m really enjoying this path and also want to try my hand at screenwriting, which I’ve discovered a recent interest in. Additionally, I’m considering delving further into animation. I had a chance to experiment with it during one of my modules, where it was seamlessly integrated with live-action elements, and I’m intrigued to explore this aspect more. Ultimately, my aspiration is to be involved in films that resonate with audiences of all ages, capturing the essence of everyday themes and challenges while highlighting their inherent beauty.

What advice would you give to students joining the course?

If you’re considering joining the course, don’t fret about your prior experience or background in filmmaking. As long as you’re determined and passionate about it, you’ll do just fine. In my class, we have students with diverse filmmaking backgrounds, and that’s what makes each of us unique. Our varied experiences lead to engaging discussions and different perspectives. I’ve never been part of such an amazing group of people who are passionate about discussing films all day long, exchanging recommendations, assisting in productions, and uplifting each other. Whether you’re deeply interested in this field or just curious, give it a try. It might seem daunting at first, but any uncertainties will fade away over time. Plus, you’ll have unwavering support from the school community!



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