The Journey of a Documentary Filmmaking Student
The Journey Begins
Being an avid film fan and wanting a career in media, I utilised this passion in film, writing and educating filmmakers through a new mobile app called ‘The Crypt,’ created by Horror filmmaker and actor Eli Roth. I soon cemented my working relationship with The Crypt, where I travelled to the USA to the sports entertainment spectacle event of the year Wrestlemania XXX to write a series of exclusives on the new WWE Studios feature releases such as Oculus and See No Evil 2 and the Horror aspect of the WWE. Suffice to say, I was ready for some practical, intensive training and film school was my next step!
I decided to enrol on Met Film School’s Documentary Filmmaking full-time short course, taught at Ealing Studios London. I arrived in Ealing for what would surely be a vital step forward in a long and arduous journey of hard work and determination in the film and media world. In the historic surroundings of Ealing Studios, at the innovative institution of the Met Film School, my dreams of being professionally taught filmmaking within a Studio were finally being realised.
In the first week of the course, we were immersed in the world of filmmaking from the get go. We were taught about the rich history of the evolution of documentary filmmaking from it’s inception to present day, discovering key watershed moments in film history and innovative filmmaker’s works such as those by Vertov and Rouch. Understanding this history and the processes of practical filmmaking is an incredible asset in mastering the key concepts of what makes a great documentary.
Having understood the importance of narrative, character and place in documentary, we went on to explore the methods, styles and techniques of the short film. I would be introduced to the professional video cameras that are used throughout the industry today and would begin to use this equipment in practice exercises. We received a training session for the usage of the equipment from the Met Film School Kit Room team, who really went the extra mile in making sure we were confident and health and safety conscious throughout filming.
It was incredible to learn about the keep principles of cinematography, lighting and sound! Our tutor Sasha Snow provided a highly insightful session explaining the power of sound and light in our films and how it was a pre-requisite to understand it’s role within cinema. The process of creating short films and having a professional filmmaker critique them was useful and incredibly rewarding. I honestly learned a great deal about how to develop my talents as a filmmaker from these exercises.
In learning the aims and structure of the course I would proceed to develop a series of documentary ideas for my film. I researched what access and stories were available and of interest to me, and would begin developing an idea based around the preservation of films and of cinemas.
After collating a vast amount of information on documentary filmmaking I would regularly review my class notes, and the handouts provided by the tutor to maintain a clear understanding of the course content and objective throughout.
In our second week we would put our theoretical understanding of documentary films and the filmmaking process into action. We ventured into Ealing for a series of film shoots that would focus around shooting ‘Actuality’ and location shooting. These shoots allowed me to further develop my skills and confidence as a filmmaker both in the feature film and documentary filmmaking sense. On the Friday we entered the editing suite for expert training in Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple computer usage. The importance of organisation, backing up your work, and the art of editing were fully explored and reviewed as we developed our rushes into short films like flickers of fantasy.
Through the course of one week we had planned, shot and edited visual media that would again be reviewed and critiqued to aid our understanding of how to better our techniques. In essence, this week fostered my development as a filmmaker in handling camera and sound efficiently, effectively and safely.
Additionally we presented our first drafts of our documentary proposals. I had visited a historic cinema the night before for the focus of my documentary. In attempting to understand my obsession with cinema and now filmmaking in a conversation with my tutor, I would think of a new documentary idea that truly captured my love of cinema and why it has and always be of importance to me. Watch this space to see how this project gets developed!
Met Film School run two short courses in Documentary Filmmaking: Part-Time Documentary Filmmaking and Documentary Filmmaking (Full time, 8 weeks)
If you are interested in finding out more about the short courses in Documentary Filmmaking, please visit our website.