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BRIT school (film & media production)(6 Posts)
My son has been offered an interview and workshop at the BRIT school for their film and media production strand, at the 16+ level. We're excited -- he wants to be a director and has struggled with boredom and overwork in the academic subjects he dislikes.
But I can't seem to find out much about it. While there seem to be stars from, and attention to, many of their other strands, including music (Adele, Amy Winehouse) and acting (Tom Holland) I can't find many reviews of the film program or how its graduates do later on, besides the school's own website. Anyone have any experience with it?
The most important thing in the film industry- despite the burgeoning of courses from GCSE and above(I'm a film teacher !) - is work experience. it still remains true in film that it's not what you know but who you know, to a large extent. this is a shame because it disadvantages so many, and is a reason why the British industry is still so dominated by white males from London and other metropolitan areas!
Therefore, I think your DS is incredibly lucky to have a place and should grab it with both hands. the school will provide, I am sure, excellent contacts and experiences.
I guess the reason we have heard of Adele etc doing well out of the school is because international pop stars are more famous than film producers and directors?
If your DS is absolutely dead set on this challenging and stimulating career path , it is definitely a great thing to have this place and he is lucky to be in the 'right place at the right time'
I have sent students off from film A level to do degrees in film. In that time, they have built networks and gained confidence : many of them now have excellent jobs in film, journalism and TV.
Thanks for the reply. Can't believe nobody here has heard anything about the programme and replied - an earlier thread about the school generally found a fair few BRIT parents here. Shame no one seems to know about their film production...
My child has been offered a place on the same course, but 14+ but they want to be a radio producer and therefore more interested in radio production and wondered if anyone had any experience as to whether this course covers film rather than radio and whether they would be better off going to a different school - tad confused
Wonderful how does one even go about applying for such a course?
Agree it's total nepotism. What a brilliant opportunity though
Have a friend who's DS did the same course. Not a positive story I'm afraid. He's in his 20's now and still not been able to get so much as an internship, a bit of runner work here and there but nothing to sustain a living so is working in a supermarket. My friend regrets ever allowing him to go in the first place- by going at 16 he limited his options so much that now if he wanted to do something else he isn't remotely qualified. As well as this, the course gives kids a huge superiority complex- at 16 they all think they are the next Stephen Spielbergs and this arrogance is well known when employers are looking for someone to take on board. When my production company was choosing a new intern, the name of where they studied meant absolutley nothing- what stood out more was their passion for the industry as well as their strong all round skills (E.G. We preferred kids who had worked part time jobs so weren't afraid of getting stuck into gruelling labour as this generally means they have a positive attitude and don't think they're better than people who know much more than them). It is well regarded in the industry that kids coming up from drama school with no work experience in any form of job have snooty attitudes and aren't willing to work or follow instructions because they think they know better. When we
Film is very, very hard to teach in a school. Film and media degrees and btecs have only been around for the past 10 or so years, and most people working in the industry today do not have one and so they really aren't that well regarded (at the minute- I expect in the next 20 or so years this might start to change). You can learn the basic theories and how to use the lower end equipment, but what matters more is enthusiasm and people skills. The Brit school will instill confidence into him, but in my friends DS case he left with arrogance and entitlement.
Specialist schools place a lot of emphasis on 'graduation' type films. Whilst these are great as they teach students valuable lessons about working in a time and developing ideas, unfortunately in the working world they are totally irrelevant. All too often we see young people handing in CV's with links to their college/university portfolios who think that because they've made a smashing film they've got a fast track into our company as we'll instantly want them to be part of our team. That's not how it works, because anyone joining a production company who has less than 5ish years of working history is going to start at the bottom and work their way up. They aren't going to be making films on their own for us, they're going to start where we all did- making coffee, tidying up cables and ferrying actors around (and having a smile on their face whilst they're doing it because they're genuinely excited to be watching how things are done). There's no fast track- knowing people in high places will help you get your foot in the door to being a runner but that's about as far as it will take you- it doesn't automatically make you a director.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you and your DS should be cautious about the Brit school. If he has his heart set on going than I urge you to support his decision, but make sure that for the next two years his head doesn't get too big. Make him aware that having the Brit school on his CV doesn't automatically make him employable- we are faced with so many CV's that we often don't even read down as far as where they've went to school, if they have less than 3 recent runner credits then there's someone with more experience than them who we'll choose instead. It's harsh but true unfortunately. Encourage him to seek part time work to build his people skills as that will go much further in the industry than a qualification. As well as this, having a focus outside of school will remind him that a life outside the Brit school exists and will also prevent burnout.
I imagine when you're in a school with such a well regarded name, it's easy to get swept up in the superiority bubble and I think that's what happened to my friends DS. Please just make sure to keep him grounded and remind him it's not a ticket to automatic success- it may be a good stepping stone, but if he doesn't have the right attitude he will be no more valuable to the industry than any other tom dick and Harry.
Sorry that my post has been very negative, I just feel from what Ive watched over the years it's important to share the real industry with people. You should be proud of your DS and he should be proud of himself- I'm sure the course has had thousands of applicants, so to be offered a place he's clearly demonstrated he's got something special! I wish him every luck in his studies and hope this has been a bit insightful
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