As we welcome our new students for 2022, Manchester student blogger Chloe Bush looks back on her experience and highlights at Screen and Film School so far.
I remember my Screen and Film School induction day like it was yesterday; standing outside of the Everyman Cinema in Manchester, surrounded by people who I was yet to discover would quickly become my greatest friends, my heart racing in my chest as a result of a combination of nerves and excitement for what this new chapter of my life would bring. Back then, I knew that everything was about to change, but I had no idea that my first year at Screen and Film School Manchester would turn out to be the best, most exciting and life-changing year of my life so far.
Prior to film school, I found it difficult to make friends who I really connected with because I was rather shy, but I was very pleased to discover that this wouldn’t be a problem here! From the very start, there has always been such a strong sense of community between everyone at the Film School, which is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Students (as well as lecturers and all staff alike) are so friendly and approachable, I found that I quickly felt confident enough to walk up to someone that I had never spoken to before, initiate a conversation (usually about film, TV shows or music videos to begin with, as a mutual love for the industry is one thing that we all have in common) and walk away afterwards, feeling like I had known the other person my whole life. The sense of community between everyone is definitely one of the things that make this film school so special.
As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and other mental health issues, I knew moving to a new city and undertaking a degree would be a huge adjustment to make, but with the support of the excellent Screen and Film School Student Services team I found that the process couldn’t have gone smoother. However, one of the biggest challenges that I have faced during my first year has been learning to overcome the self-doubt of feeling like I’m not ‘good enough’ to be there (something I later learned was commonly known in the creative industries as ‘imposter syndrome’). Being surrounded by other passionate filmmakers was exciting because I had so many people around me to discuss ideas with but I also found that for the first few months the voice in my head kept telling me that everyone was better at filmmaking than me. Conquering imposter syndrome wasn’t easy (and still feels like an ongoing battle sometimes) but the best way that I found to rise above these doubts was to remind myself that I’m at film school to learn, so the more that I do things the better that I will get at them, and to remind myself to focus on the skills which I’m strongest at because I don’t need to be the best at every element of filmmaking – after all, there’s a reason that films have such big crews!
Throughout my first year at Screen and Film School Mnchester, I have had the opportunity to attend masterclasses and partake in workshops with a number of very exciting industry guests from all filmmaking departments, including: Nicola Schindler (Producer of shows such as Queer as Folk and It’s A Sin), Tim Wildgoose (the head of Props, Set Dec and Weapons Manufacturer for Lucas Film) and James Bridger (Gaffer on House of Dragon and I May Destroy You). Being able to learn from so many inspiring industry legends is such an amazing part of the Film School, as guests give us valuable insight into how they began their film careers (which is always fascinating because there really is no one-size-fits-all route!) and share tricks of the trade, which we often get to experience through workshop demonstrations. Plus, the majority of these guests always highlight how the best time to join the film industry is now, and I found that especially motivating and energising for my own career.
Whilst these have all been amazing elements of my first year, by far the best experience has to have been making films! I was ecstatic to have had so many opportunities to gain invaluable experience working with industry-level equipment and learning set etiquette on several exciting productions during my first year. From projects that I spearheaded myself (such as the music video that I produced for musician BETTER WITHOUT MONEY) to the opportunities on offer from lecturer Matthew Boone (including Assistant Directing for The Lounge Society ‘Tired of Liberty’ Live Album playthrough and filming the VHS content for Phoebe Hall’s ‘Through The Phone’), I’m overjoyed to have been inundated with chances to experience the professional world of filmmaking first-hand and can proudly say I already have multiple credits to add to my CV.
From developing lifelong friendships, to growing in confidence, learning from incredible filmmakers and embracing opportunities to work on exciting film productions, I feel my first year at Screen and Film School Manchester has been one of the best, most memorable years of my life and I can’t wait to discover all of the adventures that Second Year has in store!