Category Archives: News

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 12 Dec 2016

It’s well known that jobs in any niche industry are hard to come by and the film industry is no different. This article will cover some of the more conventional ways into the film business and then some unconventional ways that have popped up over the past few years.

Apprenticeships are great way to learn whilst also earning money. This involves working onsite and being trained while you work. In an industry that runs on who you know, this can be a great way to show what you’re worth and begin networking. There are laws that protect you being overworked and underpaid. Employers are looking to see if you’re enthusiastic about the industry and what your skills are. What they’re after is passion and whether you can communicate effectively.

A degree is an additional route but has less chance of success. It’s not as focused on practical work in the film industry as an apprenticeship would be but you learn a whole wealth of knowledge that prepares you for many jobs instead of narrowing down in a sector. You’ll want to research what universities have good links to the industry. As we’ve mentioned, finding a job means knowing the right connections. Many universities offer the chance for their students to go and work on projects with real producers and directors. More importantly, towards the end of your degree, many institutions set up days where you can show off what you’ve created to industry insiders.

The type of degree you choose should  depend on what aspect of the film industry you’re trying to gain entry to. If it’s writing, then a Creative Writing degree might be appropriate. If you’re looking for something more general, then a bachelors in Film and Television might suit you better. Earning a degree also offers you the chance to enter other areas of work outside of film. The long term nature of a degree means you will have the chance to do creative work and gain a good idea of whether it’s something you want to do as work.

As the film and media sphere gets turned on its head by the revolutionary ways to share and monetise video content, there are new avenues that one can take to get your foot in the door. These are risky and unorthodox but might tempt the most passionate to give them a try. Being an online content creator is a 21st century job and the type of content you create is pretty much up to you. There are trends you can ride but it’s best to do your own thing. There are different platforms such as Youtube, Twitter, Vimeo, and Twitch. Thousands of people are trying to strike their claim in these markets and it’s fiercely competitive but the rewards can be great.

Gaining a viewership online opens up the chance for sponsorship. Companies will literally come to you to advertise their products. Once you’ve shown the world what you can do it also proves to industry insiders that you might do well with a more traditional means of production, i.e., it becomes vastly easier to get your projects greenlit. Becoming famous online is near impossible to plan and no one would recommend it as a career path but if you’re able to put out content while working a daily job or studying in school it might just be worth a go. The worst case is you gaining a bunch of experience and a portfolio.

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 29 Nov 2016

Alongside rumours of a white Christmas, there isn’t a better event than the John Lewis Christmas advert to signal that the festive season is among us. The retail giant has cast a black family for the first time, who star in an imagined Christmas morning where Buster the dog beats a young girl to her Christmas present: a great big trampoline.

The £1m advert, featuring a cast of CGI animals, and a very white Christmas, has been tackled by the the satirists over at The Poke. They responded by editing the advert to have a different and realistically grim ending. John Lewis have said that, following last year’s Man on the Moon advert, they were shifting away from “sadvertising.” Perhaps this parody is a karmic response.

Enjoy.

 

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 29 Nov 2016

This year’s Research in Film Awards, organised by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, raises the question: is film a good medium to showcase research? The award’s mission statement is to “showcase, reward and recognise the best of the large and increasing number of high-quality short films … produced as outputs or by-products of arts and humanities research.”

In 2005, there were just 20 researchers who listed film or animation as a creative or artistic output of their AHRC-funded research. In 2013, that figure had grown to 149. Alongside this data, it’s also easy to point to recent groundbreaking documentaries and the renewed respect they have begun to acquire. Before the Flood (2016), a documentary film about climate change, gained considerable press due to the growing undeniability of research, and the starpower of collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio.

AHRC’s multimedia editor, Emi Spinner said: “Just making a film provides a reason for people to get in touch and share ideas and expertise, which can be very productive in itself.” She added, “I really do believe that a well-made film can shift the debate just by reaching the right specialist networks, as well as a general audience.”

Certainly we can look at Chasing Ice (2012), a tour de force in the glacial effects of climate change, and admit that film has a deserved place in sharing research. Environmental photographer James Balog’s journeys into Greenland, Iceland and Alaska, and his goal to capture images that would help to convey the extreme effects of global warming have garnered a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

However, this view isn’t shared by everyone. Writing for the Times Higher Education, Matthew Reisz found that “in the US, Howard Hughes Medical Institute does not support public engagement through film at all.” Reisz also found that “requests for funding to make [research films] ‘would occur in a very small percentage of awards’ and would not constitute a ‘significant element of funding requested’, according to Valentine Kass, programme director for advancing informal STEM learning at the NSF.” In his investigative article, Reisz went on to outline similar viewpoints at other American research groups.

In Britain, attitudes towards research funding for films is different. The Wellcome Trust, among other research councils, regularly provide funding to researchers for public engagement, of which films are counted. The changing mood towards film as a medium for research can be tracked alongside the social media trend of the early 21st Century. At a time when science needs to be viral for people to care about it, pop-science curators such as Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson have guided public discourse on issues such as the fate of our planet and journeys to Mars, in TV series and short films. In summary, the beautiful medium of cinema deserves the noble goal of the dissemination of science-based research.

Sources:
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/is-film-a-useful-way-to-showcase-research

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 29 Nov 2016

Research by the British Film Industry looked at over 1,000 UK films in the past decade to research the representation of black actors. They found that the amount of films with black actors had (unfortunately) stayed relatively the same. Discrimination at the top of the industry is an open secret – from the same study, 59% of UK films produced in the last 10 years contained zero black actors in lead or named roles. David Oyelowo, star of Selma (2014), recently said that he had moved to L.A. due to the lack of opportunity in the UK.

Many believe that discrimination should be tackled in the classroom and that education is the route towards inclusivity. This way, the decision makers of tomorrow are aware of the issue and are in a position to change it. When the problem is this clear (BFI also found that only four black actors are listed in the UK’s 100 most prolific actors) the industry needs people working at every level to battle against it.

BFI creative director Heather Stewart said: “The number of lead roles for black actors has not really changed over 10 years and the types of films in which they have had leading roles suggests stereotyping.” She added that “Diversity is one of the biggest issues facing film – audiences want to see the world in which we live reflected back at them.”

Luckily for us we still have the indie film scene, which began tackling all forms of discrimination decades ago. Campbell X, a powerhouse of British queer cinema, said: “Films that show black people as complex, layered and authentic are being made right now by indie filmmakers who are black. Just because they are not on mainstream TV or cinemas doesn’t mean they do not exist!”

When media events like the “whitewashed” Oscars are on the news, this can be a great time to bring up the topic of discrimination in British classrooms. Younger generations have always been more progressive, and the opportunity to explore this sensitive subject in a safe environment can guide young minds towards thinking that discrimination is a real issue – one that has often had to be battled by creativity alone.

Pointing to the watershed moments in film history can be a way to avoid the doom and gloom of current-day politics. There is a lot to be learnt from milestones such as the first interracial kiss on television (Star Trek: The Original Series – Plato’s Stepchildren. 1968) all the way up to Laverne Cox’s breakout success as a transwoman of colour in Orange Is the New Black (2013).

However you choose to interpret the misgivings about the British film industry and its treatment of people of colour, know that the future is bright. Never before has there been such awareness of social issues or high levels of investment into discrimination-aware cinema. If you have any doubts about our collective future see: The Butler (2013) and the who’s who of black entrepreneurs who rallied behind it, or the revolutionary movement of Black Lives Matter.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-37575367
http://www.huckmagazine.com/perspectives/need-talk-race-film-industry/

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 08 Nov 2016

Instead of marking, the protagonist in this short but painfully honest satire from one of the cards at the Daily Mash says it all.  Rather than spend the week marking and catching up on sleep, he (because it’s bound to be a he, right?) instead takes every opportunity night after night to hit the town with mates… because without school in the morning he can.

Enjoy for light relief, NOT inspiration!

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 07 Nov 2016

Inevitably, this year has seen the release of some increasingly refined and powerful technology for our hands and pockets.  The main players in the smartphone market: Samsung, LG and Apple, along with HTC and a reinvigorated Google have all again had to raise their games with the latest round of released flagship 2016 models. However, rather than dwell too much on Samsung’s Galaxy S7, Apple’s iPhone 7 or LG’s innovative G5 modular models – all of them amazing examples of cutting edge devices overflowing with features technical wizardry, there are 2 interesting trends that are potentially far more interesting from your average student’s perspective.

What is perhaps most striking is how the market is truly maturing with fewer ‘breakthrough’ features than in previous years. Retina displays, fingerprint reading, GPS… these features were all major breakthroughs in their time over the last decade, but we haven’t seen anything to the same leap-forward novelty for a couple of years now.  On the cutting-edge technical front, progress seems to be far more iterative than major leap any more.

Instead, what is really remarkable in 2016 is how what was considered absolute cutting edge only couple of years ago is now available on some extremely affordable devices, putting super high-spec devices within reach of huge swathes of the population, including most of your students..  The implications for your students soon having sub-£100 high-spec’d supercomputers in their pockets are far-reaching and exciting.  Samsung’s Galaxy J5 is a great example of this leap in accessibility.  With 1.5GB of RAM, a 1280×720 screen, 13 Megapixel camera and huge battery life (beating the Galaxy S7 in fact), the fact that this highly capable phone is available SIM-free for £140 is astounding.

What high-spec smartphones affordable to everyone means there will soon be no students without access to their own personal super-computer and the implications of what this has the potential to do for education is enormous and arriving now.

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 07 Nov 2016

The way your classroom has been gently invaded in the last 5 years by iPads, whiteboard screens and digital cameras is evidence that a revolution is in the making…

Many of the technologies are falling into place, but revolutions are never gentle, nor are they single-geared. The trick now for ALL teachers, especially those who already feel they’re behind in the digital stampede, to look at this objectively, rather than with fright, and make a plan.

The first rule of action should be not to fight the tide, and question those moves in your school to limit or block the use of technology en masse.  It’s here already, and with smartphones, its formed the behaviour and world views of the digital natives we’re teaching and may be ourselves.  For many education professionals though, the digital world is baffling and foreign.  Even for the least technically enthusiastic, the good news is: there is less to have to learn to start than ever, the one-machine-per-student scenario has arrived, and you are about to discover a knowledge-rich, secure and private, easy-to-use set of tools to supplement the way you already work and make it a lot easier.  Embracing the change has limitless benefits to how thoroughly you can help you students now learn.

The next step in recognising how digital advances are going to help your teaching and students is to take a look at your own school’s situation.  Some pointers to objectively investigate your preparedness and digital adaptability are as follows:

  1. What support is available to teachers for new tech? This can include websites, search and product support – once you know help is just a touch away, you won’t get stuck.
  1. How well are teachers being trained to use new technology? What are the best ways to learn to use new platforms or packages – online tutorials and learning with your students is the most successful mix
  2. How student-centred is our approach? As students will quite probably be more comfortable with the technology than a school’s faculty, the best approach is to introduce new tools which everyone, especially students, has access to.

What the technology revolution is ultimately offering are new opportunities for invention — doing new things in new ways. Change is the order of the day in our students’ 21st-century lives. It ought to be the order of the day in their schools as well, and the freedom to experiment with new tools and platforms locally and to report back on what’s working will be essential to our schools making the most of what’s in store for them and their students.

Some doubters will worry that, with all this experimentation, our children’s education will be hurt. “When will we have time for the curriculum” they might ask, “and for all the standardized testing being mandated?” If we can offer our students the tools which allow them each to explore learning materials at their own pace, and encourage them through flipped classroom self-directed learning approaches to take curriculums into their own hands (and pockets), the benefits will be huge.  Students will be empowered to rip through standard curriculums in half the time it now takes and with higher test scores for all. Its time to embrace the digital change that has the potential to help your students endlessly.

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 07 Nov 2016

Site Educational Technology and Mobile Learning produced this killer list of skills which are worth checking out just to see if there are any you’re not already a seasoned practitioner of.  The article is full of resources to help you further develop any areas you’re unfamiliar with and had been wanting to get started in anyway… we recommend you check it out now!

In this exercise, ask your students rank the following skills by the relative importance each has to bring to a career in media making.  Try then to come up with an overall order for the group – leading to an open discussion about the relative importance of each skill.

  • capturing video footage
  • planning a shoot scheduling
  • working with actors
  • sharing films on social media
  • writing scripts
  • editing video and sound footage
  • using advanced special effects tools
In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 07 Nov 2016

Never the sole reason to teach or learn filmmaking, it’s nevertheless worth remembering that a proportion of students WILL strive for a career in media making well beyond the foundation or development you are offering them.  Great teachers can be one of the main inspirations for future media professionals, so its best you arm yourself with truths about the industry, how competitive it is to enter… but also how there are a myriad of ways to break in.  The essential thing is to give your keenest students the balanced encouragement they’ll look back from future media careers with gratitude that your advice was a major step up to where they’ll be.

First of the questions you might have to field in today’s materialistic world is whether its possible to make a living doing something you really love like filmmaking?  The answer is, of course it IS, although if job security or retiring to the Bahamas at 53 interest you above the need to somehow express ourselves artistically in what you do, then there are other career choices out there…  Many media makers find it takes years of struggle to find their exact niche in the industry, and reputations and proof of an artistic voice and vision often take years to develop and the majority may never be fully appreciated or recognised for their talents… its often a tough gig, but infinitely rewarding for those who choose and make it.

After sustainability and realism as a career choice, the next question deals with what exactly are the positions on offer?  Its a great idea to be able to reel off a few to give a flavour of how existing parts of the industry are structured – but also emphasising that in 5-10 years there will likely be media roles that we can’t even anticipate now.  Who would have predicted the rise of the YouTube star or GoPro extreme sport footage freelancer?  Each year the industry evolves and recreates parts of itself, inventing and bestowing upon the world another new format or way to tell great stories in innovative ways – and with that comes a varied and growing range of positions and possibilities in media making careers.

While ‘YouTuber’ or ‘Go-Proer’ are new and alluring possibilities… there are dozens if not hundreds of more established and already essential roles in media making which are worth mentioning in those career-orientated discussions.  Here’s a rundown of better known and common existing roles in most productions. Structure will vary between a typical cinema production described below and TV, advertising and online work – but most positions make at least part of someone’s range of responsibilities in these various sub-categories.  It’s as important to consider the PROCESS as it is the individual roles contributing to the overall production.

A producer can wear many hats, as a writer, an investor, an idea person, a manager, or all of these things rolled into one. During pre-production, the producer reads scripts and has writers, directors, and agents to pitch ideas.

The executive producer manages the Production Group, responsible for every single aspect of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production.

Directors oversee the film’s artistic vision. They often have no financial stake in their films, unless they’re also a producer. Directors work very closely with the producers during pre-production to decide the best way to visually represent the script. Directors are in charge of a crew that is usually made up of cinematographers, art directors, cameramen, casting directors and sometimes even actors. The director also has the final say on the finished work, even over the producer. Directors work with actors to help them deliver their best performances and ensure those fit the overall vision. The director also works with their cinematographer or DOP (Director of Photography) to ensure everything is being faithfully and artistically recorded.

Highly valued (and often highly-rewarded) screenwriters can become involved with a film project by writing a script and shop it around to agents and producers. In some cases, screenwriters will be hired later in the process, after a producer or director has developed an idea. Screenwriting is a notoriously difficult field to get into.

Film and video editors perform one of the most important jobs in production. A director may shoot hundreds of hours of film to then be edited down to a 90 minutes. Good editors help will pick out scenes and shots that best tell the story according to the director’s specific vision.

Early conversations with the keenest students can direct them towards fantastically varied and creative careers in media making, and the earlier an insight into what makes the industry tick, the better!

In : News Comments : 0 Author : Quickclass Team Date : 24 Oct 2016

The red notification spots on our smartphone home screens and the corners of the most popular Apps which hundreds of millions flock to daily are designed to maximise time-on-app by delivering little loops of incentive and reward which drive behaviour deep in our psyches.

Its not as though Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, three examples of the digital world’s most visited and arguably most addictive services, necessarily set out to nefariously use the same behavioural science that casinos have to get us hooked, but they’ve managed to get there in the end anyway.

Employing the science of ‘behavioural design’, which grew from research in laboratory rats pulling levers for food over 85 years go, has lead to the internet and increasingly our smartphones becoming the ultimate reward levers for our subconscious behaviours.

Nir Eyal, who wrote a book aimed at tech entrepreneurs named: “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” describes state we’re currently in: “When you’re feeling uncertain, before you ask why you’re uncertain, you Google. When you’re lonely, before you’re even conscious of feeling it, you go to Facebook. Before you know you’re bored, you’re on YouTube. Nothing tells you to do these things. The users trigger themselves.”

The stakes in moulding our collective behaviour couldn’t be higher, there are billions invested in and depending on continuously refining the addictive digital services inducing dopamine responses in our brains.  The question is, who’s ultimately in control?  Clearly the impulsive mind can be drawn into digital services which can hook and loop us into almost continuous repetitive behaviour… question is, how can we employ the same patterns for our personal benefits?

Consider learning platforms like Duolingo, teaching its users new languages.  The reward and response loops are the same, but the purpose is a higher one than the pointless ego and affirmation-stroking likes that Dave Eggers’ protagonists prophetically obsess over in ‘The Circle’.  Reality again mimics fiction and vice versa.