Q&A with a Film Maker - TAFE Queensland Gold Coast

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Q&A with a Film Maker

What study is involved and how much does it cost?
Most aspiring filmmakers study a Bachelor of Film and Television, which at Bond University involves completing 24 subjects across six semesters. The course is a combination of deeply immersive hands-on practical work and creative theory for both film and television, the core components of which are screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, sound, editing and production design. Bond University offers an accelerated three semester a year program, allowing the Bachelor of Film and Television to be completed in two years. A semester of fulltime undergraduate study costs $16,556, with fee help available. Students can also study a Diploma of Screen and Media at TAFE Gold Coast's Coomera campus for 2 months costing $11,770, with fee help available.

Q&A with a Film Maker

What subjects would I need to take, and grades would I need to achieve in high school to prepare?
There are no specific subject or grade requirements needed for this degree, other than successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent. Bond University does not rely solely on the Overall Position (OP) or the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). Rather, a range of criteria is used such as extra-curricular involvement and personal attributes, including outstanding leadership and community involvement qualities. If your high school offers media subjects, these will definitely help you when studying film and television at university. However do not be discouraged if your school does not offer media subjects. Most filmmakers working today did not study media at high school, as it was not offered.

What academic, personal and social strengths would I need to succeed in this field?
First and foremost, you need to be passionate about film and television, enjoy being creative and be excited about telling stories visually. While imagemaking is at the core of what film and television is all about, during your studies you will also be writing scripts, essays and concept documents, because developing your thinking is part of becoming a professional filmmaker. To be part of the international film and television industry you need to be both self-motivated and able to work well within a team environment.

What is the starting wage (and highest wage) once I graduate?
In the film and television industry the starting wage varies wildly. Some graduates will work for small companies on an average starting salary, however some may find themselves working as part of an international film crew employed on big budget film and television dramas earning hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

What are the job prospects?
Currently there is a lot of work in Australia in the television industry, including drama, reality television, documentaries, television commercials, music videos and sport. Employment on Australian films and international films being shot in Australia varies from year to year, but is on the increase. In the production sector, cinematography students enjoy high levels of employment, while the post-production sector, especially editing, has become a significant employer of film and television graduates.

What are the working hours and shifts in a normal working week?
There is no such thing as a "normal’" working week in the film and television industry. On a film you might work 10 hours a day for five days a week, but that won't be for the whole year. If you're a writer or producer, you will have things you need to do (for example, write a first draft) by a certain deadline and it is up to the individual to structure their time to complete the task. Film and television is more of a lifestyle than simply a career. There are nine-to-five jobs, but also jobs that have random hours, or short but intense periods of work.

What’s a day like?
Is every day similar or different? Every day is different because even if you are only working on one project, the stage it is at progresses from day to day. You will also be working with different people in different places all the time. People love this industry because of the close working relationships they form and the amazing experience of producing creative material every day.

Would I be able to travel?
Film and television is an international industry so many graduates are able to secure work overseas, however there is also a lot of work available in Australia so if you don't want to travel you are likely to find work not too far from home.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of this job?
It is a challenge to find out which particular area of the industry you are good at and which you enjoy most - for example it might be writing, but it also might be producing, directing or editing. That is why doing a course at university is such an advantage. You take a range of subjects and learn many different skills before you focus on one particular area. When you are working, the long hours can sometimes be tough. Film and television productions often have very tight deadlines, so getting the job done on time can often be quite challenging.

What are some of the most exciting aspects of this job?
Working on projects that are both artistic and commercial, as well as meeting a wide range of interesting people, including big movie stars. Plus, there is nothing quite like going to the cinema or turning on the TV and watching something you worked on. It’s an amazing experience.

How is this industry changing over time and what can I do to keep adapting?
The technology used in producing film and television projects is always evolving so you need to keep abreast of these changes. The best way to do that is to stay interested, meet lots of people and talk about what is new, exciting or changing. Have an open mind, be curious and stay excited.