Film Made Me is a new series from Screen and Film School Brighton, exploring how the wonderful world of film has influenced the lives of people in our community.
From students to staff, industry partners, and graduates- film is an inspiring medium that has a unique ability to shape who we are and who we become… Are you ready to tell your story?
Jamie Neagle: First Year Student
Screen and Film School Brighton’s 1st year student Jamie Neagle will always remember the moment he saw the yellow text scrolling across the screen whilst watching his first ever film- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. “This was the first time I’ve ever heard a whole screen of grown men scream and cheer. Every time I hear the Star Wars theme I remember that moment and I hope that one day I can have a similar impact on my audience.” Coming from a low income background, a trip to the cinema was a rare and cherished treat during his childhood- luckily the local cinema occasionally held 1 euro events: “My mum would make up a little package of mixed sweets, strawberry laces & maltesers and then she’d send us on our way for the day with 5 euros in our pockets” he remembers. Jamie would spend whole days alongside his sisters, watching back to back films and trying to make their sweets last as long as possible; this bonding experience sparked his lifelong love of films.
After struggling to finish his A Levels, Jamie fell into the service industry, working in nightclubs, cocktail bars and restaurants. “I’d driven past the Screen and Film School sign many times and had often visited the website, but never thought myself capable of working in film considering I’d never been very academic.” His passion for film was never far from his mind however, and after a lengthy chat with a friend he realised he was in fact capable and decided to give Screen and Film School Brighton a call- “Best decision I’ve ever made!” Overcoming his previous low confidence in academics- particularly whilst working towards a Film Production Degree- has at times been challenging: “When it comes to grades and coursework my mind goes into overdrive. I think this is the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome, but the grades have reflected that I am perfectly capable to be in this industry and I’m slowly starting to believe in myself and my abilities” he reflects.
“Dream big and shoot for the moon. I know it sounds cliché but you’re entering a world where you wildest imaginations can be realised on screen. Any idea is achievable with the right amount of drive, intuition and resourcefulness!”
A few days after receiving his acceptance to Screen and Film School, Jamie began filming his debut film, Shopped– a 9-minute short about a brother and sister team who are in the kidnapping business- which went on to receive great success in the festival circuit. Filmed in the space of one day last summer, Jamie credits the wrap of the shoot as one of his greatest moments in filmmaking to date. “The crew hung around for a moment after and I gave a thanks to everyone that worked on the film. The relief that a year of hard work writing scripts, making shot lists and learning to use equipment had come to a head… I felt immensely proud of my whole crew.”
Whilst the UK lockdown has recently seen numerous projects grind to a halt, Jamie certainly shows no sign of slowing down, “I’ve had a lot of free time over the past few months which allowed me to start many projects that I’m excited about.” From producing a number of commercials for businesses, starting pre-production on his apocalypse-based film, and joining Screen and Film School’s 28 Day Script challenge, his strong work ethic and drive have seen him working round the clock for the projects he’s passionate about. The most important upcoming project however, is a documentary based on himself and his sisters lives after their Mother passed away. “Our mum always wanted to travel but couldn’t because of her disability. The documentary will follow us as we travel to different significant places that mean something to us across the planet, and scatter her ashes, meaning she will finally get to see the world through us while we finally find closure.” Jamie hopes that the documentary will serve to offer support and help other families going through similar situations, “It feels great to have finally have a creative medium that we can use to tell our story.”
“The support network you have at your disposal at SFS is priceless and I would urge you to take full advantage while you can!”
With two years of his degree still remaining, it seems that there’s no limit for Jamie’s ambitions as he works towards his BA Hons Degree in Film Production. “I’ve really enjoyed the chance to meet and be taught by great people- both lecturers and guest appearances from great producers, directors, DOP’s and gaffers.” His favourite part of studying at Screen and Film School Brighton? “The people. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people from all walks of life. I really feel that I’ve made some great industry connections and even better friends.”