20 January 2012

Meet the Alumni – Vanessa Williams

By Cassio | Categorised in Alumni Interviews

Our Meet the Alumni series is designed to give you an insight into what our recent graduates are up to and their experience at the Met Film School. 

This week we meet Vanessa Williams who studied One-Year Practical Filmmaking.
Why did you choose your course at the Met Film School?
I chose the OPF course with the Met for several reasons. I looked into schools across the US as well as England, and many of them were extremely expensive. They also offered little chance of holding a camera, or making your own film. Instead, many of the courses I looked at required an aggressive personality type. They consisted of large classes with one elected director, camera man, and writer for each film made. This was not suitable for me as I wanted the experience of working in each department without having to fight tooth and nail with my classmates. In addition, many courses expected you to pay for the cost of film as well as your course fees. Because the Met taught on digital, the costs were greatly reduced, but the amount of learning that could take place was multiplied. The Met offered a course which would guarantee you to come out with two short films that you wrote and directed, which for me was ideal. I chose the Met because I saw this as the best opportunity for me to learn everything I needed to work in film.

How would you describe your time at the School?

Full On. The course was across one year, and I think I literally spent the full year at the school. Five days a week I came in for classes. After which our whole group would go to the pub to discuss ideas and films. Then every weekend we would film exercises. We started rotating pubs every month or so because we were getting so sick of them! The last three weeks of the course, while people shot their grad films, were the most full on. While the grad films were shot, I stayed with a friend in Ealing and slept on their floor so I could get up and get to the set on time. It was non-stop, but also great training for the real world. This was the beauty of going to the Met. By being so intensive, you have the opportunity to connect with every member of your course. We made friendships, and real relationships developed between us and our tutors. We became like a family, and still work together to this day.



What was the highlight of the course?

Personally, I loved my editing course. I was taught by David Gamble, the editor of Shakespeare in Love. He had a great sense of humor and a good taste in music. He took the time to teach our class about the rhythm in editing, and how music connects powerfully to a cut. He gave us really useful exercises to teach us a variety of ways of cutting. I think he is the reason why I have ended up as an editor myself. When I graduated he got me my first internship, and acted as a reference for me on a number of occasions. Having teachers who can share their industry experience is a wonderful opportunity.



Do you have any links to your Met Film School projects (youtube link, url)?

Some of my Met Projects can be seen in my directing showreel on vimeo



What were the advantages of being taught by industry professionals?

Aside from the knowledge they have of their subjects, they also have great insight to the workings of the industry. They are wonderful sources for advice and information. And many of them are supportive and will endeavor to help you get work once you graduate.

What projects have you worked on since completing your course?

Since graduating I have worked in a number of areas of film. My first job was as an intern in the editing department on St. Trinians. After that I began to work at a small web company called Net121 producing, filming, and editing corporate videos for their sites. I worked my way up in that company to be head of the film department. When I moved to NY I freelanced as a production coordinator in NY and as a script reader for a company in LA. I eventually moved to Seattle where I volunteered at Reel Girls, an organization teaching filmmaking to young girls, and was also heavily involved with the Northwest Film Forum, an independent community cinema. In Seattle I was employed as a festival coordinator for the distributor Typecast Films (who released Iraq in Fragments), before I moved on to freelance full time. I regularly worked as an editor for Microsoft, as well as working on other corporate videos, music videos, short films, and helping with film challenges. Currently I am back in London working at Technicolor as an editor in their QC department. I primarily work with their client, Disney Channel, ensuring quality programming.

In addition to working on other people’s projects, I have also worked on my own films. In 2008 I wrote and directed a short entitled Hart which played at 9 festivals and won Best Fantasy Short at Maelstrom Film Festival. Currently I’m in preproduction for another short called Red Summer which I will shoot in July. I want to shoot my first feature next year.

It’s been a wonderful few years, although of course very hard work. I don’t think I was paid regularly for the first three years after I graduated. However, if you work long enough and hard enough, I believe it is very possible to stay in the business!



How can we get in touch with you? 

You can always email me at notthatvanessawilliams@gmail.com


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