Due to ever-changing circumstance I thought a good topic for this new blog would be a reflection on one of my favourite modules from second year. So I have decided to write about ‘Wired’, an extremely popular film-making module available to Film, Theatre and English and Theatre Studies students at Warwick. This module is predominately practical in nature due to its gearing toward honing and developing a multivalent skillset useful for the successful technical and creative execution of dynamic performance on video. These skills ranged from: script writing, to directing, producing, editing, lighting and sound design and more. Not only this but, as a theatre student, the chance to delve into the world of film-making was extremely appealing as I have always had a keen interest in media but unfortunately have not had the opportunity to explore it at school. Additionally, the module offers an opportunity to test out all these differing roles in a supportive environment nurtured by qualified professionals in the field of film.
So, over the 18-week run, students are firstly required to make two short films in groups of varying sizes. These two films are graded and will be worth 30% of your final mark. In my year, the brief for the first assessment was to create two two-minute films that accompanied two different two-minute instrumental tracks of the groups choosing. The specification for the piece required a sense of narrative, something which was extremely difficult to deliver under the time limit, but it forced my group think in an abstract way, which in turn, helped us create films packed with metaphors and flashbacks that helped us make the most of the time we had on screen.
During our shooting time of these first two short films, we had weekly sessions with module convenor Tim White, who gave extensive tutorials on the technical side of film-making, including camera work, and how to use Adobe Premier Pro editing software. The course is designed for a range of abilities, from beginners to advanced film-makers, and it is also important to mention that within the class in my year at least a third of the students were familiar with editing digital media, something which I hope is a reassurance for any novice editors eyeing up this module (like my former self) because chances are someone in your group will have the foundational skills already.
As well as editing tutorials, we also had sessions with John Costello, author of Writing a Screenplay (The Pocket Essentials: Film). Costello covered the varying stages of pre-production, in other words: preparing a script, sharing useful resources, and how to book kit. During these sessions both Tim and John gave feedback on our prospective ideas for our first assessment films. Also, after the first six weeks, they took a look at our work in progress footage and gave extensive guidance on how to tighten our work, for instance creating more dynamic story-telling and narrative, producing cleaner shots and transitions, and how to achieve more concise editing, and more effective lighting.
Once our first assessment was finished and we had a class screening of all our works, we moved onto our second assessment, which was worth 70 % of our final grade. This time we formed groups of 3-5 and spent the rest of second term making a full fifteen-minute short film. Our usual weekly sessions in the editing suite learning the art of film-making were now spent out on set, or with our groups planning our production schedule. During this time I learned so much about a range of things such as: group dynamics, communication, spreading work evenly through a team, building a sense of narrative and creating three-dimensional characters, even how to write credible dialogue successfully, and much more. The work load definitely increased in the second term as you quickly begin to realise the sheer amount of careful planning and preparation needed in pre-production, the hard work that takes place on set, and not forgetting the hours spent in post-production perfecting and finalising your film. All in all in both assessments my groups hard work came to fruition and we created first class films that we were extremely proud of. I would recommend this module to any film/theatre students that have an interest in film-making as the module gives a well-rounded insight into competent film-making.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and let me know if you want any specific topics covered in September!
All the best,
P.s Below are some pictures of my time studying the Wired module: the first is a picture of me out filming in Leamington Spa, and the next couple are stills taken from our first assessment films where we created an avant-garde piece.