Fin Woods is one of the participants on our tenth BFI Film Academy (2021). Having almost finished the academy, we asked him about his experience of the course…
I heard about HOME’s BFI Film Academy through my film teacher who suggested I apply. I looked at the description and thought it looked like a brilliant opportunity. In particular, what appealed to me was the chance to make another film because at the time I applied I was working on my A-Level short film, and to be able to learn from industry professionals as well as utilising the facilities at HOME seemed like a great opportunity. I thought it looked like the perfect way to progress my practical filmmaking skills under the guidance of people who have worked in the industry for years.
Since starting the academy I’ve had the opportunity to try out a number of different production roles and it has helped me to understand how to develop a story from start to finish. On the first day of the shoot, I was working as a Director of Photography which involved operating the camera and working with the directors to understand what they wanted. We were shooting a fight scene, so it also involved a lot of holding a heavy camera. I was really excited to do this before the shoot and was super happy that I got to do it for the whole day. It was difficult and involved a lot of planning and camera rehearsals but I loved every second of it.
On the second day I got to try out a variety of roles such as boom operating, directing and assistant directing. Being able to direct was very fun and working with everyone to bring the scene together was very satisfying. Assistant directing was also good, I enjoyed making sure everything went as smoothly as possible.
We’re now in post-production and are editing the film which is also really fun and exciting. I really enjoyed working with everyone throughout the process, the staff were very knowledgeable and helpful and everyone else on the course was a lot of fun to work with on developing a story and sharing ideas to make the best film we could.
As another part of the course, we have had film theory sessions which have guided us through the history of film as well as focusing in on certain film movements such as Italian Neo-realism or New Spanish Cinema. These sessions have really opened my eyes to European and international cinema and have encouraged me to watch more interesting and inspiring films I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of.
I have got a lot from the academy; it’s allowed me to develop my skills in filmmaking and has helped me to have a better picture of how films are made on a professional level and how each of the roles slot into that on set. Next year I am going to apply for the NFTS Craft Residential with the BFI, which is an incredible opportunity that I learnt about through the course. I’ve enjoyed everything about the academy and have been inspired by it to keep working to create films and keep improving.