Many of your students may plan to study filmmaking at university before trying to break into the industry. The following is a series of exercises that will help them prepare for university level film courses. If you teach at a university level or already use these techniques in the classroom, check out these simple career-boosting exercises that will help your students and their resumes when applying for jobs in the competitive filmmaking landscape.
1 – Experience is Everything
Working hands on in film and TV not only helps prepare for a career in film but it’s also an excellent teaching tool. Whether being hired as a runner on a set or answering phones at a production company, a hands on approach to filmmaking will help students better understand the industry. Encourage your students to look for work, whether paid or unpaid, in film and TV and also host workshops to help them understand how to write a film resume and apply for specific jobs. With websites like Gumtree and Production Base your students can find jobs that span only a weekend or a few months so that they can experience filmmaking first hand as well as gaining confidence working with professionals. Whether over half-term or an entire summer, encourage your students to learn on the job and use their free time doing what they love.
2 – The More the Merrier
Besides working on films, one of the best learning tools available to aspiring filmmakers is actually making films. You may already have the production of a short film included in your curriculum, but your students should know that the more content they produce, the more confident they will become. Encourage your students to experiment with different genres and to constantly film, even if just with their phone. Whether your students are writing and producing their own content, or even documenting snippets of their lives with family and friends, encourage them to continue making short films. In order to encourage your students to produce as much content as possible, try to find a way to host short film festivals at the end of each term where students can screen their extracurricular films to you and the class. Have them write mini reviews for each classmate’s film that they can exchange over the holidays to encourage one another to continue producing awesome content.
3 – Network, Network, Network
It may be difficult for some students to talk to people outside of their immediate circle about filmmaking. Once at university, it’s increasingly important for them to know how to network with industry professionals and faculty members. To help your students perfect their networking skills and create career-boosting connections host a networking event with students from other filmmaking courses either within your own school or from others. By networking, your students should feel confident in representing themselves and their work.
4 – Social Presence
In this digital age it is essential to have an online presence. Try and dedicate some class time to showing students how to create webpages in which they can showcase their work and portfolios. In the age of social media as well, students should be made aware of what is acceptable to share online in a professional landscape and what isn’t. After a workshop like this, encourage students to find out what they want to present to the world and instruct them on how to go about representing themselves professionally whether through limiting social media usage or creating new accounts they can use purely for their academic and professional endeavours.
No matter how much you try, students will never be 100% prepared for university. Encourage your students to take full advantage of the connections they’ve already made throughout school as well as the resources available to them once at university to help ensure their future success.