Engagement in Established Professional Networks

Event 1

Date: 21st January 2017

Event: 6 of the Best Fest

What happened: 6 of the Best Fest is a film festival that celebrates women filmmakers. On the day I went, I watched the films The Levelling (2016) and Light Years (2015). There was then a Q&A with Rachel Robey, the producer of The Levelling and Esther May Campbell, director of Light Years.

How I engaged: Because I want to be a producer in the future, I asked Rachel Robey a couple of questions. From this I learnt that Rachel fell into producing and it isn’t something she initially wanted to do. This was quite interesting as it wasn’t until I started university that I realised that producing is my forte. She also said that if one wants to go into producing, they must know which area they want to work in, whether it be TV, film or something else. I found this rather surprising as the book Producing for TV and New Media claims that regardless of what you’re producing, “the creative, financial, technical, and interpersonal skills required are similar for all producers” (Kellison 2009: 4). However I do think Rachel’s comment still stands and knowing what area you want to work in is definitely important. But ultimately the skills needed will always be transferable to other types of productions.

Reflection: I think it was helpful for my professional development to go to a Q&A, especially this one in particular, as I learnt a lot about the kinds of funding available for filmmakers. For example The Levelling was partially funded by iFeatures which is “Creative England’s low budget filmmaking initiative supported by the BBC, the BFI and Creative Skillset.” (iFeatures, 2014). It was also great to learn how these people started their career, as these kind of stories are always interesting to hear. Seeing so much support for women in the film industry was amazing and inspired me to carry on doing what I’m doing. Nonetheless, I think it would have been more beneficial for me to talk to the producer and director after the event had finished. This could have allowed me to learn more about the ins and outs of the production of the films, as well as created a professional relationship with these filmmakers.

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(YouTube, 2017)

Event 2

Date: 6th February 2017

Event: Filmmaker Networking

What happened: This was a typical networking event that takes place every first Monday of the month in Birmingham. To put it simply, a range of people from actors to producers, were in a room and they all talked to each other.

How I engaged: Over the couple of hours that I was there, I talked to a few people. This included writers, film scorers and producers. Funnily enough, I also met the person who viewed my CV, video application and offered me the interview for NCS The Challenge. One of the most memorable people I talked to was Pip Piper, who is a producer for Blue Hippo Media. My chat with him was helpful as he discussed how the media industry lately has been growing in the West Midlands so it’s a good place to be situated right now. He also talked about raising money for productions, and suggested using crowdfunding as a last resort.

Reflection: Finding out that this networking event takes place every month has been crucial towards my professional development, as this is now something I can go to regularly. This can lead to me finding projects to work on in the future and if there are others who regularly attend, like I intend to, I will be able to create real relationships and hopefully we can professionally benefit each other.

Networking Event

Event 3

Date: 13th – 18th March 2017

Event: Berlin Film Festival

What happened: Other than watching a bunch of films, I went to 3 events that helped my professional development. These were:

  1. In Another World: You Can Be Everything (Berlinale.de. 2017b)
  2. Berlinale Shorts V: Back to the Future (Including Artist Talk) (Berlinale.de. 2017a)
  3. More Than Words: Subtitling and Live Voice-Over (Berlinale.de. 2017c)

How I engaged: During the Q&A of the second event, I built up the courage to ask questions. As there was only one woman on the panel, I discussed with her her thoughts on being a female filmmaker. I also learned that the majority of the filmmakers there found the editing process of their film to take the longest.

Reflection: Going to Berlin Film Festival was an unimaginable experience and I’m incredibly glad I went. It was the first real film festival I’ve been to and was great to know how they work before my own films start being featured in them (wink wink). Even if I didn’t actually participate in all the events I went to, I learnt a huge amount! For instance, the third event was about subtitling where I learnt what type of software they use and how it works. More importantly I found out about reading speed, how many words can be on one line in a film and how subtitling can be used for marketing.

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Event 4

Date: 23rd February 2017

Event: Striking Lighting: Tim Hall – Emmy Award winning lighting director

What happened: Tim Hall gave a talk about his career as a lighting director for live events. He then had a 5 minute Q&A at the end.

How I engaged: I didn’t necessarily engage in this event, other than in listening and taking notes.

Reflection: I don’t think this event was particularly helpful towards my immediate professional development. One of the reasons for this is because I don’t intend to work with lighting on live events on TV in the immediate future. What’s more, I found myself to be a little confused during parts of Tim’s talk as he was getting very technical and I have very limited experience in working with lights. However this has given me a new-found insight and respect for lighting for multi cam live events.

Event 5

Date: 1st March 2017

Event: Realities of Filmmaking Talk and Q&A

What happened: Erin Cipolletti and Ryan Michael were invited to this talk by lecturer Brad Porter, who all had a part in creating the film Josephine Doe, which had been accepted into Manchester Film Festival (2017). Brad had a discussion with them about the procedure of making the film and the difficulties that came with it.

How I engaged: Other than vigorously making notes during the discussion, at the end of the talk, I engaged by asking questions. For example, I learned how executive producers work and how they usually expect money back from a production. This is something I’ve never known as I’ve not been involved in a big production. After the talk was over, I asked them both for their emails as I had a lot more questions that I couldn’t ask as time had run out. I also followed them down to the staff office, with a group of other enthusiastic students to carry on talking to them. I asked them if they found people trying to take advantage of them, living in LA, where there’s an abundance of writers and directors. They admitted that there are people who will always try to take advantage of your skills, but you need to realise what you’re worth and be protective over your ideas.

Reflection: This event was surprisingly helpful towards my professional development. I picked up a huge amount of information that I can use if I ever make a short film in the future, which is pretty likely – even if I’m just doing it as a hobby. It helped me realise that if I do want to independently make films, I will most likely need to have another source of income while doing so. What’s more, they told us that they had to enter into approximately 100 film festivals in order to be accepted into just 6. This was somewhat shocking, yet understandable. I loved and appreciated their realistic approach to giving advice about filmmaking, which will assist me in the future.

Event 6

Date: 6th March 2017

Event: Film Skills Brum – End of Programme Celebratory Event

What happened: This event was a celebration held for those who took part in the Foot in the Door scheme and were now finishing.

How I engaged: I met Jemima Walthamstow, who is a creative producer and business consultant. She gave some great advice about being an introvert in the media industry as well as the realities of being a freelancer. I was also brave enough to talk to the photographer hired to take photographs of the event, Phillip Parnell. I noticed that he had light stands around the room, which flashed whenever he took a picture. This isn’t something I’ve seen before and I was very intrigued by it. Phillip was kind enough to show Anita and I exactly how they work and even took pictures of us to demonstrate it.

Reflection: This was essentially the networking event that I went to in February, with a slight twist, so it proved to be integral to my professional development. Not only did I meet new people at this event, I also saw a few familiar faces such as Pip Piper and Brendan O’Neill (who was not only at the first networking event, but was the Q&A moderator for Best Fest). This shows that there are people who regularly attend, which means there is a chance that I can build professional relationships with them. There was a talk given by Michael Gubbins, the chair of the Film Agency for Wales, which was incredibly inspiring.

Online Engagement 

For this module and my professional development I have created a LinkedIn profile; pictures of this can be seen below. As of right now, I haven’t found LinkedIn particularly helpful in developing my career. This may be because I only have 40 contacts, most of which are students I know in person. It could also be because I can’t send messages to any media professionals until they have accepted my invitation, none of which have done so yet.

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Research but No Engagement

I am part of a few Facebook pages which are designed to help people find jobs. While I frequently keep track of what’s happening on these pages, I don’t necessarily engage with others on it. This is something I am aware of and want to change in the future as I believe I can get a lot of great advice and support from them. Below are images of a couple of the groups I am part of.

Facebook Runners.png

(Facebook 2017a)

Facebook Professional Experience.png

(Facebook 2017b)


Berlinale.de. (2017a). | Berlinale | Programme | Programme – Artist Talks. [online] Available at: https://www.berlinale.de/en/programm/berlinale_programm/datenblatt.php?film_id=201703236#tab=filmStills [Accessed 12 Mar. 2017].

Berlinale.de. (2017b). | Berlinale | Programme | Programme – In Another World: You Can Be Everything. [online] Available at: https://www.berlinale.de/en/programm/berlinale_programm/datenblatt.php?film_id=201792497#tab=filmStills [Accessed 13 Mar. 2017].

Berlinale.de. (2017c). | Berlinale | Programme | Programme – More Than Words: Subtitling and Live Voice-Over. [online] Available at: https://www.berlinale.de/en/programm/berlinale_programm/datenblatt.php?film_id=201792520#tab=filmStills [Accessed 13 Mar. 2017].

Facebook. (2017a). People looking for tv work: Runners. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tv.runners/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].

Facebook. (2017b). Professional Experience Opportunities. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mediaopportunities/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].

iFeatures. (2017). About iFeatures. [online] Available at: http://www.ifeatures.co.uk/about.html [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].

Kellison, C. (2009). Producing for TV and New Media: A Real-World Approach for Producers. 2nd ed. Oxford: Elsevier Focal Press, p.4.

LinkedIn. (2017). Sharifah Mian Profile. [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharifah-mian-599912138/ [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].

Manchester Film Festival. (2017). Josephine Doe. [online] Available at: http://www.maniff.com/josephine-doe/ [Accessed 28th March. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Best of Fest – Rachel. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UliYkBOTuk [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].


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