Screen and Film School Birmingham’s second year Filmmaking BA (Hons) student and student blogger Tabby Brown reflects on her experience at the Film School so far.
I enrolled at Screen and Film School Birmingham last September. This was already an unpredictable move – I’d just denied all of my more ‘academic’ choices to follow a much more practical approach to learning film. I knew this suited me, but I couldn’t prevent the ‘what if’ thoughts from seeping into my mind and worsening my nerves. What is a film school actually like? I remember that prominent question replaying in my mind. A year later, it’s safe to say I can give a good go at an answer, and in many ways, it was not at all what I expected.
Birmingham is known for being one of the youngest cities in the UK – if not THE youngest. The nightlife, the food, and the culture were all positive factors that led me to choose Birmingham as my home for the next three years. Moving to a big city is daunting- any student can tell you that all cities need a certain level of caution, and Birmingham is no different. If you know where to look however, Birmingham is also a very beautiful place to live.
Learning and socialising with like-minded filmmakers is unsurprisingly fantastic. We cheer each other on, as well as using each other to springboard healthy competition. I’ve found my peers to be very complimentary and supportive. Not to mention that, as we are all involved in each other’s projects, if one of us wins, we all do.
I’ve struggled with confidence in the past. Sometimes I find it difficult to believe in my ideas, especially if I don’t feel they are the right level of ‘perfect’. Screen and Film School has helped me to open up and seek guidance on how to view my ideas through a less critical lens (sometimes literally), as well as open up so I’m able to work on them with others. Collaboration used to be a weakness of mine; I now consider it a strength.
It’s also great practise, as we experience a mini representation of the industry here. I’m now in Year 2, already many of us have picked specialisms we are sure to work in when we leave the Film School. I’ve learned early on exactly how I want to stand out in the vastness of the industry, within my chosen area.
I’ll confess now that I thought Film School would be a daunting, strict and serious place where there is little room for mistakes. Or that everyone would just be looking for a shortcut to the top. It’s the opposite. I recommend you make as many mistakes as you can. Fail, and fail again. There is no ‘top’ to get to, everyone’s goals are different, and for many of us, the foundations of those goals and dreams are built at Film School. You’ll get as much out as you put in, so don’t be afraid to experiment and reimagine how you saw yourself at the beginning of the Year 1. I’ve only been here just over a year, and already I feel like a completely different person.
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