What I Wish I Knew Before Studying Film and Television at Warwick
Starting university is daunting whether you have studied the subject in the past or not. As a first year here’s some things I wish I knew before starting:
Greatest Film Lists
It’s okay to not have watched every film on the BFI’S 100 greatest films list or any similar lists. You’re young and have got your whole life to work your way through them. It’s good to be knowledgeable but at such a young age it’s normal to have gaps in your knowledge. Do not panic or feel like an unworthy Film student. University is about learning. Everyone has different interests so will have watched different films on those lists and that’s okay.
The pace is going to be faster than anything you’ve experienced before, so do not be too hard on yourself. This is typical of university and is used, so that you can cover more topics and have a greater foundation of knowledge. At sixth form you will be used to focusing on one topic for long periods, maybe even a term. However, at university you generally study a new topic or film in each module weekly, so have to to learn to shift your focus. You will be absorbing new information regularly.
Not every film you enjoy has to be independent and arthouse, like some of the ones that we study. Most people, both students and staff have a wide, varied taste. You are still a valid Film student if you enjoy pixar and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
All lecturers were undergraduates too once and their feedback and advice hours are there to support you, if you feel overwhelmed. It does not mean you’re unintelligent or a defeatist. The specialist Film academic librarian Richard Perkins can help you with research and referencing queries. For example he can help you if you need to find further reading on a niche topic for an essay. It is a new and daunting process for all first years and asking for help is encouraged.
Don’t stop watching other films outside of the course. It is important to remember why you enjoy it and chose this degree. A way to do this is to be aware of new releases, whether that is at the cinema or on Netflix.
To form stronger analysis skills, you have to keep rewatching films and sometimes specific scenes. Like rereading English set texts for A level, your understanding will only grow each time you go over the material. You might see camera angles or symbolic motifs you never noticed before.
Box of Broadcasts
Box of Broadcast is a streaming service the university has access to, which is especially important for Film students during the pandemic. Staff and students can watch 2.4 million films and programmes from over 75 free-to-air channels dating back to the 1950s. I have watched BBC and Channel 4 content for my course, long after they have left BBC Iplayer and 4OD. This is particularly useful when writing essays as you can rewatch and skip to specific timestamps very easily.
I hope this blog post has been useful to you if you are currently applying. If you have any questions let me know, I’m happy to help.