A recent article published by Times Higher Education suggested that universities are failing to equip potential recruits to the UK’s film industry with the skills that the sector needs. Around 40 per cent of higher education students were not learning craft and technical skills resulting in significant skills shortages in the film industry.
Our main priority at Brighton Film School is making sure our students graduate as multi-skilled creative filmmakers who have the craft and technical skills needed in the film industry, which is how we differ to many universities. Brighton Film School caught up with Filmmaking Diploma graduate Pol Camerero Just, who is excelling in the film industry after graduating in 2013:
What are you doing now in the film industry?
“I work as a director of photography and editor for a company called Instinctif Partners, producing corporate content. It involves anything from corporate documentaries to annual results interviews, talking heads, investment videos, etc. It could be a lawyer in London or a telecom in Kazakhstan. Anything in between. When I freelance, I mostly do documentary and music work.”
Have you worked on any feature films?
“I have worked on one feature documentary, Le Chemin des Juifs, with another former student. I oversaw principal photography, editing and colour correction. We shot it in between 2014 and 2015, filming in the UK, Belgium, France and Canada, plus several months of post-production work. The film is now being sent to festivals.”
How did Brighton Film School help prepare you for working in the film industry?
“We all experience the industry in different ways, but no matter how good somewhere trains you, the long hours, busy days and tough clients are only taught in the school of hard knocks. Brighton Film School showed me the roles, how to communicate with people, how to rely on people, to feel empathy for my crew and most importantly, made me hungry for the industry.”
Do you believe there is a skills shortage in the British film industry?
Not at all – I believe it’s a wonderful time to be a filmmaker, especially in Britain. Schools and companies are investing in all the new gear. When I started showing interest in filmmaking back in Spain, we were shooting with mini DVs, but here in England it was all dslrs. Now it’s Blackmagics, Red cameras, fancy LED lights… That’s the new age. Filmmakers now are pretty much requested to know how to shoot, produce, edit, do sound and be up to date with all the new toys. At Brighton Film School, we had the opportunity to have a go at everything, which gives you the chance to have a better idea of how everything else works and that is important because having the knowledge can only make you better in what you choose to do.
These days everything is so accessible too. People are shooting their films on nice cameras, editing them on Premiere or Final Cut, colouring in Davinci (which is free!) and they are learning that being a good editor makes you a better cameraman, and viceversa. Colour grading and sound editing can mix with any of the other, or all! If you are a director or a writer, even better, as it gives you a better view of the things you can achieve with your story, it adds a new dimension.
The British film industry has always been the muscle in Europe, and with the new wave of British filmmakers, it can only get better.”
Do you believe Brighton Film School taught you all the necessary craft skills for the film industry?
“With all the new toys and technology, it’s almost impossible to stay up to date with everything, even if you are working in the industry. Brighton Film School taught me the old school ways and love for the craft and that is what I appreciate the most. I have found myself in situations when I had to look back and think ‘what would they tell me here?’. When a camera I don’t know is given me a hard time I go back to the principles of film and apply them, it works every time. Same with software. How could I grip this? Keep cable ties handy. Always.”
What made you decide to study at BFS?
“I decided to move to Brighton and everything was exciting at that time. Before I moved from London, I found out online about the film school and it just got better. It felt right. I decided to do the 10-week Introduction to Filmmaking course with plans on doing the diploma, and I loved it.”
What was your favourite thing about studying at BFS?
“My favourite thing was the people first, no doubt. Second being able to learn about film and cameras. In this digital world, you don’t see that a lot. Discussing films and stuff with the other students during the coffee break, Gary (the head of school) telling us all the news. Every day was exciting.”
What’s your next project/plan for the future?
“On my job’s side, more exciting projects to come this year, which involves a lot of travelling and big corporate stuff. A lot of anamorphics lately, which is a craft on its own. I’m going to be spending three weeks in my company’s office in San Francisco doing some filming for the team there. I’ll take some time to go around, film some stuff and meet local crews, which is going to be awesome.
On the freelance side, I’m working on pre-production on a documentary I will be directing (and filming) in February that will involve filming the production and recording process of an album for a band in Spain. In my spare time, I continue a feature film script that I have been writing for a few months.”
If you had to say in 3 words what BFS helped you to learn/accomplish in the film industry, what would you say?
“Love the craft.”
If you’re interested in the Filmmaking Diploma, there are limited spaces available for September 2017 entry. For more information click here.