How to get the most out of studying a Masters in Producing at film school
Speak to almost anyone who has studied a Masters, and they’re likely to tell you the same thing: boy did it go fast! Multiple projects completed, skills strengthed, connections made, portfolios boosted – all in the space of one whirlwind year. Needless to say, it can help to have a game plan in place before embarking upon postgraduate study.
This week, we asked one our graduating MA Producing students, Karen Simon, to reflect on her last 12 months at MetFilm School and share some advice to those considering a similar route into the creative industry. Here’s what she had to say…
Take advantage of the fact that you’re at a film school, which means that you’re surrounded by other aspiring filmmakers alongside established industry professionals. This provides an incredible opportunity to begin building your network. As a producer, you’ll want to be able to pull together a crew that you can rely on, so the sooner you figure out who you can collaborate with effectively, the faster you’ll be able to build a team you can trust. So get involved in side projects, work with students across all the other courses, and make use of the fact that you’ve got access to mentors who can guide you through every aspect of the film industry.
From day one you’ll be told that filmmaking is all about collaboration – which I’ve learnt is imperative being a producer. When you enter the programme at MetFilm School, you’ll see some of your fellow students will have less experience than you, while others will have plenty more, but you’ll always be able to learn something from each one of your peers. Keep in mind, however, that collaboration doesn’t simply mean working with other people. It means staying open to new ideas, being able to be challenged, and willing to take advice.
3. Play Nice
Though initially, you may see other producers as competition, fellow producers can actually be your allies, teachers, and friends. They will be the ones who you can brainstorm with, get advice from, grow alongside of, and even team up with. This is not a zero-sum industry — one producer’s loss does not equate to your gain. As you move along the programme, you’ll soon figure out the type of producer that you want to be and you’ll see not every project is right for you.
4. Plan Ahead
Four months sounds like plenty of time to work on your graduation project, but between developing your idea, pre-production, production, and post, four months fly’s by in no time. When you have an idea in mind for your grad project, it’s never too early to start developing it. The further along you are with development, the quicker you can get into pre-production once you begin the graduation project module. This way you’ll have enough time to plan accordingly and ensure you’ve plenty of time for post-production. If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s that you must not underestimate the time required for Post and all of its elements.