Kelly Draper is one of the participants on our fifth BFI Film Academy. With the course in full swing, we asked Kelly to share some thoughts about her time on the Academy so far…
Being accepted onto HOME’s BFI Film Academy 2016 was such an incredible opportunity for me as a filmmaker. To not only work on a film set with professional equipment but to also have the opportunity to meet 17 other talented filmmakers all aiming to achieve a different variety of roles in the film industry from set designers to editors and producers. I also met professionals in the industry and developed my skills in post-production and film development. Before joining the Academy, I already had experience working in the film industry, making films and my own film production company, however the Academy has given me such a wide skill set over the past few weeks and has widened my knowledge of film history through the film theory sessions.
The start of the programme began intensely working in pre-production. The team quickly had scriptwriting sessions, fiction filmmaking ideas and storyboarding. I enjoyed contributing a lot of work to each session and increased my skills in public speaking, communication and team-working skills. After finalising the screenplay and having table reads with the cast and crew, the project went into production during October.
My first role on set was cinematographer. I found this interesting as I learned different camera techniques such as working with aperture, shutter speed and the ISO to affect the exposure and techniques I already knew such as how to pull focus etc. I found the different lenses for specific shots fascinating, as I could recreate shallow shots and wider shots. On set, my favourite role was directing. This consisted of visualising the screenplay whilst guiding the technical crew and actors to the fulfilment of my vision of how the scene should be shot. I enjoyed having control over the creative process as I was able to efficiently direct the crew and make sure everyone enjoyed their time on set. Working closely with each member of the team was not only fun but enabled me to increase my knowledge on practical filmmaking. Lastly, I worked as production designer, sound mixer, gaffer (lighting) and as the clapper-loader. The crew all worked together efficiently and we all helped each other throughout each role. Working on a film set has made me become even more excited about working on even bigger productions in summer 2017.
Post-production has increased my skills in the grading of films, consistency in continuity during editing and working with foley sound. Overall, this helped me increase my confidence in the editing process as my strengths revolved around planning and shooting films. I have increased my interest in post-production after working with the team on the film. My confidence grew as both John and Dean (the leaders/mentors for the team) repeatedly showed my work to the class and complimented and helped me develop my techniques in the editing process. I experimented throughout the grading of the film, finding an ever-growing amount of techniques I could use in post-production to change the mood and atmosphere of the film.
Throughout the making of the film I also participated in multiple film theory sessions, a National Film and Television school talk and a BBFC Certification session and talks from professionals in the industry themselves. I also participated in achieving my Silver Arts Award. This has helped me increase my knowledge in the theory behind film such as learning about the beginning of film itself and directors that have changed the film industry such as David W Griffith and the Lumière brothers.
Overall, I am excited to see the final product in cinemas as it has been such an inspirational and educational journey. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of such a strong and talented team and have increased my knowledge not only in filmmaking but also film theory. I would recommend this Academy to other filmmakers out there as it has helped me increasingly grow as a filmmaker.
Find out more about our BFI Film Academy, head here.
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