Erin Annison hails from Penrith and Yehwan Choi comes to us from Lancaster. They started their Level 3 Film Production (equivalent to 3 A-Levels) course in September 2016.
AM: Why did you choose this course?
EA: I was set on doing sixth form, I never thought of College as a place to go to. But I was also sick of secondary life and didn’t like the idea of getting treated in exactly the same way. I came for an interview for Performing Arts and the tutors suggested Film Production might be a better fit. I’d done Media at school and didn’t realise Film Production was an option.
YC: I finished my A2’s at Ripley Sixth Form but I wasn’t ready to go to university. I started off wanting to try an apprenticeship in Engineering. At the interview the tutor asked me if Engineering was what I really wanted to do and I hesitated. I did Physics & Maths at A-Level and everyone says Engineers are needed. The tutor asked if there was anything else I was interested in and I said film. I didn’t realise there was a Film course here I could do straight after A-Levels for free!
Film was a stab in the dark. I love it so much and am so glad I made this decision. My biggest fear in pursuing film was whether it could be a professional career in the future. This course has really changed my perspective. I’ve learnt so many skills and there are so many career options I can go onto. I wish I’d found this course earlier on, but am also happy that I found it now.
AM: Is College like you had expected. If not, why?
EA: There is a massive stigma in schools about college. People think that if you don’t go to sixth form you won’t be successful. That’s not true whatsoever! I was told college would be harsher and stricter, because they wanted me to stay at sixth form. It isn’t! I had to fight to come here. It’s a more mature environment at College, there’s no drama and silly friendship squabbles. There’s no hierarchy of pupils or ‘popular’ groups.
At school the teachers have known you since Year 7 so they treat you the same. There aren’t any uniform rules here, so you can grow more and express yourself more. If you wear bright eyeshadow at school people judge you and say it’s funny. Here it’s all about having a good time and you’re accepted.
YC: Some rules at sixth form are so weird. I got sent home when I didn’t have my lanyard as they said people wouldn’t know be, but I’d been at the school for 7 years! The support system also wasn’t good. If you were struggling, you were sent to a silent study room after school. It seemed like detention, there was no teacher there to help and you were forced to do it.
AM: How would you describe your College experience so far?
Both: We love it!
YC: The tutors are amazing. They give you enough information, enough respect, and the freedom you need. I feel I’ve learnt more here than anywhere. At school I’d revise for an exam and as soon as it was finished I’d forget it all. Here I learn skills that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget… I’ll always know how to hold a camera, compose a shot and edit appropriately.
EA: It’s great to have two tutors. Our primary tutor this year is Simon and next year it will be Dom. They offer two different perspectives and strengths. Simon used to work for Black Sabbath, multiple TV shows, Derren Brown and loads more. He’s had a freelance business and knows how to run one. Dom is fantastic at camera work, drone flying and outdoor filming. It’s excellent to learn from professionals in their own right.
YC: There’s something reassuring knowing that they know what they’re doing and have worked professionally in these jobs. Previous students work is also really inspiring – I was amazed when I saw some of the films they created, they were jaw droppingly good.
EA: I also do English Language A-Level. Fernanda our tutor is brilliant. We have 2 lessons a week and have a week to do homework so we can manage it. She understands I’ve got other things going on and we can email her with any questions we have.
AM: What opportunities have you had as a student at the College?
EA: We are taking part in the Worldskills competition. We have 2 weeks to make a video from a famous Motown song. It’s really eye opening the amount of work that goes into a production – storyboarding, scripting, writing a synopsis, mood board making, research and more. Previous students here have won gold at the national finals so no pressure!
YC: We both went on the London trip in April for 3 days. We went to a film screening with a live orchestra, which was so good! We visited the National Portrait Gallery, as we weren’t utilising close ups effectively. It taught us how portraits show emotions and inspired us. We also were put into teams to complete a brief ‘A-Z London’, and off we went! London has a different atmosphere. We had our own time to look round, experience going on the tube ourselves, seeing Covent Garden!
EA: We’ve also done work for the music students for their gigs at Bootleggers and recorded the Performing Arts students.
AM: What do you learn on the course and what’s the teaching style like?
EA: We are in College 4 days a week with 8 projects over the year. We learn how to film movement properly, how to use equipment like Steadicams, how to build tension. We are now working on our Final Major Project that needs to link to these 3 words … shelter, shadow, silence, guidance. We have the freedom to build our project in the way we want to.
Communication is the key to everything in the film industry. You can’t do everything by yourself, you need to use everyone’s skills and work as a team. You learn how to hear everyone opinions and navigate each other.
The teaching is so versatile and I’ve learnt loads. I knew nothing about editing when I started and now I’m editing films all the time! We are improving our skills constantly. We started with hand held cameras, we’re now using different lenses and next year we’ll be able to operate BBC standard cameras.
YC: At sixth form, I disliked the way I was being assessed. I needed an environment that was more supportive rather than competitive, and this is the perfect place.
AM: What are you hoping to do after College?
Both: Our tutors are encouraging us to look at all the options after College. We could go onto university, an apprenticeship, straight into a job, join freelance groups etc. We’re considering a few things at the moment and will decide in our second year. It’s reassuring to know 100% of film students last year got into their first choice university!
AM: If you could give one piece of advice to people considering College, what would it be?
EA: Come and check it out, it’s really good and an amazing campus. I feel like I’m in a musical every day! Encourage your parents come to the Open Evenings and admissions events so they can see how professional it is. This course was a lightbulb moment… that point in my life where I knew what I wanted to do.
YC: Pursue your passion. I did Physics and Maths at A-Level and hated it. Now I’m doing something I love and am incredibly passionate about. It makes the work so much easier!
If Erin & Yehwan have prompted an interest in Film Production @ Kendal College, we offer a fantastic range of courses. Start your future on our website.
The interview was conducted by Adele Mundy, the College’s Student Services Manager.