Committing to the jump from secondary school or college to university is a daunting one. It can seem like the biggest step so far in your life – and usually it is for most. But it’s the perfect opportunity, especially if you’re moving away from home, to go out and be independent. So, to lessen the shock, I thought I'd give a brief rundown of what to expect from the Film Studies course from a student perspective (especially if you’re not as tuned in to written assignments!).
Each week there’ll be a set amount of reading to go through – usually following the themes of either the films you’ve studied this week or the set genre/time period you’re studying. It's important to stay on top of things so as to keep up with themes and issues throughout the term, with all its set (compulsory) readings. This reading usually amounts to an hour's worth for each module. By doing the reading, you'll prepare yourself for future assignments, which are essays mainly (usually you have two a term).
There's an essay every six to eight weeks during term time and over the holidays. There's usually plenty of time to prepare and plan so there's no need to worry. Plus there are always office hours, seminars dedicated to working towards the assignment and detailed briefings to help set yourself up for a well-planned essay. My advice is to pick a question and put down quick, brief bullet point ideas that you’d like to include. Then find the relevant readings to kay the base of what you wish to reach with your essay. Next, make sure to put aside pockets of time where you just write and structure your essays, and be sure to include time to spare to proofread it all when you're done. Now, don’t get me wrong, there's nothing worse than having to go through your own work, but just having a careful read through will help you craft exactly what you wish to say. It's best to do smaller amounts over more days than writing 2000 words in two days and frantically submitting it. You're at university to learn and grow and you're supported here, so never hesitate to reach out. There are many people in the same boat as yourself so you’re never alone.
For those wishing to just get on and make film projects, the first year may be a little stressful. There is only one module throughout the year that focuses on being hands-on. However, that being said, you have the opportunity and time to make your own short film and brief projects leading up to it. So if you do this, you'll get the ideas flowing and enough practice to build confidence ahead of having to make a film for your course. If you have experience with cameras you’ll be ahead of the curve, but you'll also be taught with the full equipment needed for a film shoot, including microphones, steady cams – plus editing techniques. If you’re a complete stranger to it all, it’ll be broken down for you, so it's easy to pick up in no time. Week by week you focus on different shooting techniques and methods. So you’re able to learn how film scenes are broken down and made edited together, and you'll have the chance to build something like that yourself through group work. You’re given the chance to grow and enjoy plenty of trial and error to see what fits your personal skill and style.