Meet the Lecturers: Part 4

2nd March 2022

Our Meet the Lecturers series has been away for a couple of weeks, but we’re back with two filmmaking conversations.

The first is with a Head of Year and Videographer from our flagship college in Brighton, followed by a freelance lecturer at Screen and Film School Manchester. Both of these specialists have backgrounds with producing films with a musical interest.

First up is Dave McLaren, Head of Year 2 in Brighton. Read on to hear about Dave’s experiences of working at the Film School and also his brush with a local celebrity.

Dave McLaren

How would you describe your role at Screen and Film School Brighton?

I work with the specialist module lecturers to organise the collaboration across each module. I also hold regular tutorials with second year students and support each production in the Short Film modules. It’s amazing to see the students develop projects collaboratively.

Could you tell us about some of your proudest achievements in the industry  and some  of your well-known credits?

Before lecturing at Screen and Film School, I worked as a freelance videographer with a focus on music promotion. I’ve worked on short documentaries and promos with various artists in the past. Working with (Sussex-born) Rag’n’Bone Man has definitely been a highlight of my career so far.

The first feature film I worked on, Make Up, is also a great memory. Working in the lighting department and living in a Cornish caravan park for 6 weeks was the most amazing experience and helped me form many of my teaching skills today. I made some amazing friends on that shoot, and I look forward to getting them in as guests at the Film School in the future.

How would you describe the environment at Screen and Film School to any prospective students?

The environment is a collaborative one. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do and for many students coming from backgrounds where up to this point they will have written, produced, directed, shot and edited their own work it’s a chance to find the area of the film industry that suits them. We pride ourselves on creating a safe, inclusive environment for students to explore and develop new skills.

What is your  favourite  recent TV show  or film and why?

I’ve just finished watching Grace on ITV, Brighton is my home and I love seeing it on screen. Some of my close friends worked in the electrical department on that too so it’s always nice to watch their work.

The last film I watched in the cinema was Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, and it blew me away. I love the soundscapes that are used in his films and the visuals were incredible.

What is your best piece of  filmmaking  advice?

Collaborate! Always try and seek another person’s opinion. It’s very easy to get tunnel vision when working on a project but let’s be real, a film requires many minds, not just one! It’s hard at first but try and open up and share your work with people you may not normally work with. It’s important to get another perspective.

Thanks to Dave for his generous and insightful answers. Now we’re going up to Manchester and to Freelance Lecturer, Matthew Boone. Matthew is a music video director who has shot for the likes of Larkins, Lucy Deakin and Glass Caves and has worked on productions across the world, including the famous SXSW music and film festival in Austin. Here’s how he responded to our short Q & A:

Matthew Boone

How would you describe your role at Screen and Film School Manchester?

My role is definitely a very practical one, teaching our students how to use our industry-equipment and also heading up the Music Video module. I started my career as a self-shooting music video director, so they’re areas that are very relatable to my own experience as a filmmaker.

Could you tell us about some of your proudest achievements in the industry and some  of your well-known credits?

My backstory is that I worked as a Director and Creative Director within a record label for eight years before going freelance at the end of 2020; so most of my favourite work exists not just in making music videos but helping developing music artists too.

But since going freelance my proudest piece of work is probably my documentary, This Is Just An Interval, which explored the continuing effects of the pandemic on the live music industry. We produced, shot, edited and released this within eight weeks in the hope it could shine a light on an industry that was on its knees.

It was backed by the We Make Events campaign, shared by politicians, and won ‘Best Documentary Music Film’ at the International Music Video Awards. To feel like we made even the slightest bit of difference with our film was amazing.

How would you describe the environment at Screen and Film School to any prospective students?

Friendly, collaborative and buzzing. Since Screen and Film School Manchester has opened, all of the staff and students have gelled incredibly well and made a learning environment that works hard and has lots of fun doing it. I’ve loved my time teaching here and couldn’t wait to get back to the classroom after the Christmas break.

What is your  favourite  recent TV show  or film and why?

I always struggle to pinpoint favourite films and shows, but I binged A LOT of Netflix when I was isolating recently. So, a recent series that I’d say I’ve really enjoyed would be Ozark for its cinematography and ever-evolving characters and then (very unoriginally) Don’t Look Up, for its satirical screenplay and brilliant cast.

What is your best piece of  filmmaking  advice?

I have a few:

First up, make the time to be creative. Sometimes we can get bogged down in the chaos of everyday life and it’s when I’m at my busiest that I struggle with this. It’s only when I consciously take the time to switch off and ignore my phone that I can fully get in the headspace to come up with ideas.

Work hard. You can be the most gifted writer/ director/ cinematographer/ editor in the world, but we’ve got to seize our own opportunities if we want to be successful, and that doesn’t come without hard graft.

Finally, be nice! People want to work with nice people.

A fine piece of advice to end on, and a sentiment we all echo at Screen and Film School. We will hear from more of our talented and hard-working lecturers in the future, but for now, thank you to Dave and Matthew for taking the time to share these thoughts and for also giving us some binge-worthy recommendations.



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