24 March 2015

What’s waiting for you after film school? We speak to graduate Filmmaker Anirudh Ganapathy

By Danny Kelly | Categorised in News, Alumni Interviews

At Met Film School we love to keep on eye on the exciting careers that many of our alumni move on to. What’s even better is when they decide to come back and talk to us about it in person!

Want to find out more about Met Film School and the practical filmmaking programmes offered?  Request a prospectus now.

This month Anirudh Ganapathy – one of our finest BA Practical Filmmaking graduates – was nice enough to not only pay Ealing Studios a visit, but also sit down with us to discuss his time at Met Film School, and how influential his degree has been since leaving to become a 1st AD in India. Over the last two years he has worked on the comedy film Bobby Jasoos, and most recently he wrapped up shooting on Tanu Weds Manu Return, an upcoming sequel to it’s successful predecessor.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with Anirudh about his time at Met Film School.

What made you decide to join the Practical Filmmaking course at Met?

I was 19 and I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I didn’t know how to do it. I had no connections to the industry and I tried to speak to people but it was just not working out. So I thought it best I studied, because there’s nothing better then acquiring knowledge on something that you actually want to get into. So I started doing research – looking at film schools – but the course here interested me the most because it was so hands on and the word “practical” actually meant something. And Ealing Studios too, with the history of cinema and the culture, that was a bonus.

Do you remember your first day here?

Yes, very clearly! I remember everything!  I met my first tutor – Jessica Townsend – and she said “you are going to shoot a film today”. I was like [gives shocked expression]. I mean, I only know where the record button is on a camera, and she said “you are going to direct a film today!” I was really scared because I didn’t have a story in mind, I didn’t know what I was going to make. But we went ahead, we did it, I shot my first film on my first day of school, and that was a great experience.

The Two Year Practical Filmmaking is quite vast – it has all sorts of modules. Was there anything in particular that you really fell in love with?

It was everything really. I started out wanting to be an editor and I tried that for a while, and then I looked at the cinematography guys and thought, “they’re cool!” – so I’d jump there. I did some modules with that, had some great tutors and it was just so much fun. Of course I wanted to be a director eventually, but I felt that to be a good director I needed to know all the other aspects of filmmaking really well. So I got into sound for a bit too and then eventually some directing.

How influential has being a Met Film Graduate been for you in gaining work within the industry?

It has been really helpful because in India it’s such a big industry and as a newcomer you have to start at the bottom. You have to start as an intern, and then you go up the ladder – slowly! So really it takes 5 or 6 years to get to an Assistant Director level. 

But I did my first feature film as a 1st AD, and I bet that’s because I walked into the industry with some knowledge, and understanding of a film set. If it hadn’t been for the school, I’d easily have lost about 7 years of my life. Without the school, what I learnt here, the confidence I gained from all my tutors, the knowledge I acquired, I wouldn’t have got to this level in a year and half.

Based on your experience at Met and after, what kind of advice would you give to someone considering going to film school?

Do it! Go to film school – study, learn! A lot of directors have said, “film school is not the way to go, you should learn on set”, but that was the 80’s! People don’t have time to teach you on set anymore, and if you don’t know what you’re doing they’ll just ignore you completely. When you work on a film set you have to know why you are there, and you will only get that from studying and acquiring knowledge – going through the two years that this school gives you. Get the education, get the degree, and then move on.

Check out this additional video from our YouTube channel of Anirudh talking about the importance of networking while at film school.

Want to find out more about Met Film School and the practical filmmaking programmes offered?  Request a prospectus now.

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