Welcome back to Make a Scene, a series in which we delve into the filmmaking minds of some of our students and hear more about their passion for their specialisms, their film school experience, and get some handy advice for future applicants.
Last time, we caught up with soundie, Inaz Hussain, and heard all about his filmmaking achievements so far, including festival success and seeing his final year project on the big screen at Duke of York’s cinema. Now we’re turning the spotlight onto BA (Hons) Filmmaking student, Alexis, to discuss her experience at Screen and Film School Brighton over the last two years.
What sparked your initial interest in film?
I’ve always been interested in writing and when I did A-level Film Studies in college, the coursework sparked my love for making films. I had started the planning process 4 months before we even formally started the coursework.
What was the first film you ever remember watching?
The Chronicles of Narnia is the film trilogy that had the most impact on my childhood; I guess you could say it’s one of the first films I remember watching. It sparked my love for fantasy, as much as the Harry Potter franchise did. I used to act out scenes a lot in the playground with my friends in primary school.
Why did you decide to study at Screen and Film School?
There isn’t an elaborate reason why I chose to study at the Screen and Film School. The applicant day sold me on just the vibe and the activities we did, but also part of me wanted to get away from the stress of London – that was another selling point.
What is your favourite part of studying your specialism?
My second-year specialisms were Directing Fiction and Screenwriting. For Directing Fiction, my favourite part was on directing actors but, more specifically, collaborating with the camera, grip and lighting students and the ADs in the Production class. I will be specialising in Screenwriting for my final year.
What has been your highlight of studying at Screen and Film School so far?
My highlight of studying at the film school is working with like-minded people and bouncing ideas off one another with ease, which is why I am looking forward to my third year at Screen and Film School so much; I get to work with people that I have been wanting to work with for a while on a project.
Have you had to overcome any challenges?
Yes, a fair few to be honest with you. I have learnt a very valuable lesson regarding scriptwriting. I learnt to let go a little, I get quite (if not very) attached to the stories I write, and there are some stories that I wish to not write currently since I would be way too attached to the story. I am working through a lot of challenges regarding my procrastination as well, which I hope to combat shortly. More importantly, as a filmmaker I am still overcoming the struggle of sharing my ideas with large crowds of people, which is also why I’m still not as good at pitching as some of my peers.
What was the best piece of advice you received as a filmmaker?
That’s quite tricky but I would say that the best advice came from two different lecturers. One of the pieces of advice was to keep writing, especially over the summer, and the second was to keep at what I’m doing and not to let a ‘no’ stop me from working on something that I’m passionate about, as you’ll get a lot of nos before a yes in the industry.
Why is collaborative working so important in film?
Collaboration is the bread and butter of the industry. You can’t let everything fall onto you when making a film, especially a feature-length film. Collaborating takes a lot of the stress and workload away from a single person, and it’ll take a lot less time to either film or create than just doing everything yourself.
Where do you see yourself professionally in the near future?
In the near future? All I know is that I’ll continue writing, and I hope that I can get to work alongside people that I’ve made connections with within the film school, whether it be my classmates or lecturers, patrons or industry partners. I will continue to work on my goal of having a film that I wrote and directed on the big screen around the world and spark conversation among those who watch my films and inspire those looking to join the industry.
What advice can you give applicants as they approach the beginning of their Screen and Film School journey?
My advice would be to continue creating. Make the most of your time at the Screen and Film school at your own pace, of course. I always tell prospective students as a Student Ambassador to make their journey their own, as at the end of the day you will end up with a degree that is solely your own and no one else’s.
Are you ready to make a scene?