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Re-applying to NFTS, London


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#1 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 10:07 PM

Hey guys, (Sorry for the length, I'm fairly confused about where to go from here.)

I'm having a bit of a dilema. I have applied to the NTFS for their MA programme in Cinematography for the last 2 years and been rejected - that's fine they rejected Roger Deakins twice, I can handle that.

My concern is that I was planning to apply again this year with a new showreel, but it's a little thin on new material.

I'm part of a group of filmmakers who shoot shorts, music videos and experimental films, we all have day jobs teaching drama & film to youth and then shoot on the side. Unfortunatley 2 of our big projects I was relying to showcase my new and improved skills were postponed due to scheduling conflicts.

I've also just landed my first feature length production as DP which i just found out is also being postponed - it's a no budget shoot, no pay - which is fine and I expect to learn alot, I'm also considering taking 3-4 months out later this year to visit a friend in LA and maybe take some courses at UCLA extension programme and hopefully do some freeby work on some shorts there.

So all of this has made me doubt whether I should apply again this year try applying for the 2010 entry instead with a kick ass reel or just not at all perhaps specialized short courses are the way forward?

So after that long winded yak, here is the real question!

If I do apply with a similar showreel this year will am I wasting my time and will it hurt my future applications if I do?

If I don't apply this year will the school see it as my not being serious enough about Cinematography?

Is my time going to be better spent continuing to work on these short films etc...and learning through my own experience? I feel like I'm lacking experience by not shooting & lighting for film - everything I've Dp'd on has been HDV or HD so far.

Since I currently reside in Hong Kong I find it difficult to find courses locally that provide training - I need to work on my lighting skills and they just don't have anything like that here.

I would really like some peoples opinions on any of the above thoughts.

Thanks,

Jacqueline...
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#2 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 08:24 AM

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the positive reply, I think you are right, it's just hard to break the mentality of if I go to school I will be better and I know that may not be true.

Jacqueline
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#3 Ralph Tabith

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:39 PM

I am thinking of applying - I have about a 5 minute showreel of stuff i have, but it could be more - but 5 mins of stuff i am happy with. Do you think that this is Okay? And why is the fee so pricey, £50/$100 is a little steep.

Is the NFTS quite free or regimented? If anybody has been it would be great to hear opinions

Edited by Ralph Tabith, 06 May 2008 - 03:39 PM.

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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 04:43 PM

Why anyone would want to go to a film school in a country where filmmaking is at best a fringe artform I have no idea.
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#5 Ralph Tabith

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 12:51 PM

Why anyone would want to go to a film school in a country where filmmaking is at best a fringe artform I have no idea.

Well at the moment Phil I am doing it for the love of doing it - I am not kidding myself into thinking that I am going to earn a living out of it.
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#6 Serge Teulon

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 01:02 PM

Well at the moment Phil I am doing it for the love of doing it - I am not kidding myself into thinking that I am going to earn a living out of it.


Ralph,
I think that you are kidding yourself if you really believe in what you said. Maybe not at this stage but if you persevere and continue to push yourself then there is no reason why you can't earn a living out of what you do.

Our world is tough, but we are not alone! (Sounds like a line out of somewhere :P)

Jacqueline,

I went to Ravensbourne and although it is different to NFTS I must say that I learnt more from working on shoots than I did at uni.
The nfts has got a very good rep but I think where it stands ppl in good stead is the contacts that you walk away with.
Most of the ppl in that place today are our industry of tomorrow.

Good luck in your choice!

S
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#7 Ralph Tabith

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 01:08 PM

Ralph,
I think that you are kidding yourself if you really believe in what you said. Maybe not at this stage but if you persevere and continue to push yourself then there is no reason why you can't earn a living out of what you do.


I should say that if someone offers me money to ever do this gig, I would of course without a doubt take it, as everybody would, but I am not really at this stage doing it for some ridiculously paid pie in the sky dream..

i think that make sense...?

argh curse the keyboard i am too tired to get across my intonation!

Edited by Ralph Tabith, 07 May 2008 - 01:10 PM.

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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 03:07 PM

> I am not kidding myself into thinking that I am going to earn a living out of it.

That makes you one of the very few people I've ever met in this country who actually understand what the situation is.

P
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#9 Daniel Smith

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 03:19 PM

Most of the ppl in that place today are our industry of tomorrow.

This is where people look at my signature and think, 'oh shi...'....

I went to Ravensbourne and although it is different to NFTS I must say that I learnt more from working on shoots than I did at uni.
The nfts has got a very good rep but I think where it stands ppl in good stead is the contacts that you walk away with.

So how did you find Ravensbourne, BOPer I presume?
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#10 Ralph Tabith

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 11:58 AM

Do people think that 5 minutes is enough material for them to make a decision?
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#11 Serge Teulon

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:11 PM

This is where people look at my signature and think, 'oh shi...'....


So how did you find Ravensbourne, BOPer I presume?



Are you still at Ravensbourne?

S
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#12 Daniel Smith

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:11 PM

Are you still at Ravensbourne?

S

Yep, in my first year, still 2 to go.
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#13 Freya Black

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:34 PM

Do people think that 5 minutes is enough material for them to make a decision?


Quite probably but the question is more 5 minitues of what?

As has already been implied here Beaconsfield is the pinnacle of film education in this country, each year they take on new students in the single digits. The outrageous sums asked for applying to the place are probably to discourage too many people from applying. Back when I was still silly enough to work on film school shoots, I would hear the MA students constantly complain about how they weren't at Beaconsfield. The feeling was that they weren't at the only film school in the country that mattered and they were probably right.

Someone here was implying that the people who graduate from the NFTS will be the people who make up the new industry in the u.k. and this is probably true except that it won't be true of all the people who leave the school. Just to put it all further into perspective!

The bottom line is that the NFTS is almost certainly incredibly hard to get into, as such you need to make sure that your reel is as amazing as possible and you will probably need a good dash of good luck also.

You need to take time to make sure you have a really, really good reel.

love

Freya
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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:49 PM

> I am not kidding myself into thinking that I am going to earn a living out of it.

That makes you one of the very few people I've ever met in this country who actually understand what the situation is.

P


I think it's the circles you are moving in Phil.
Probably the location doesn't help either.

I think theres lots of people out there who totally understand the situation, don't forget, a lot of them who do understand the situation aren't involved in film and video! Often people are really into the idea when they are younger and then face the harsh realities of the world of paying rent and stuff and find a way to satisfy their economic situation.

love

Freya
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#15 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:05 AM

Hi guys,

I think a lot of us are in the same boat. I finally decided not to apply this year - I just didn't have enough new material that I thought was top notch. I think the reality for most people at our level is most of us have regular or part-time jobs to pay the bills and shoot on the side - I work freelance in Hong Kong as a Drama teacher and also as a Filmmaking teacher and do no-budget shorts, music vids on the side and the occasional paid corporate gig when it comes around. What do you guys in London do, Hong Kong rent is expensive but everything else is pretty cheap - I don't know how I'd get by in London?

At the mo I don't feel like what I'm shooting is enough to gain as much experience as I would like - too much time passes between shoots, that why I'd like to study full time again so I can concentrate soley on the craft.

I'm planning to go to the states for a couple months to visit friends and hopefully shoot some shorts there and take some short camera courses at UCLA, I've also been looking in to the workshops in Maine. Regardless of what happens I hope to have a wicked hot showreel for next years applications. By then my situation may have changed anyway - but that's the plan.

Does anyone know how many applications NTFS get every year?

I'm interested to know what everyone who is thinking about going into full time study of Cinematography is doing for work and/or filming?

Jacqueline
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#16 Freya Black

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:21 AM

Hi guys,

I think a lot of us are in the same boat. I finally decided not to apply this year - I just didn't have enough new material that I thought was top notch. I think the reality for most people at our level is most of us have regular or part-time jobs to pay the bills and shoot on the side - I work freelance in Hong Kong as a Drama teacher and also as a Filmmaking teacher and do no-budget shorts, music vids on the side and the occasional paid corporate gig when it comes around. What do you guys in London do, Hong Kong rent is expensive but everything else is pretty cheap - I don't know how I'd get by in London?

At the mo I don't feel like what I'm shooting is enough to gain as much experience as I would like - too much time passes between shoots, that why I'd like to study full time again so I can concentrate soley on the craft.

I'm planning to go to the states for a couple months to visit friends and hopefully shoot some shorts there and take some short camera courses at UCLA, I've also been looking in to the workshops in Maine. Regardless of what happens I hope to have a wicked hot showreel for next years applications. By then my situation may have changed anyway - but that's the plan.

Does anyone know how many applications NTFS get every year?

I'm interested to know what everyone who is thinking about going into full time study of Cinematography is doing for work and/or filming?

Jacqueline


I know it seems harsh but I think you are totally making the right decision!

Also I think you really need to contact Morgan Peline. I'm not sure what he is doing these days but he actually studied at the NTFS and is really a very talented cinematographer. Whats more he left the U.K. to try and start a career in Hong Kong! It seems to me that you guys would be a perfect match for helping one another out by helping each other get work on each others shoots and to get more experience. I'm sure that Morgan will be looking for more contacts in Hong Kong.

He is still a member of the board so drop him a line and explain your situation! :)
Maybe he can help.

Lining up shoots in the US also seems like a great idea too as that is where the industry is. Maybe if you post in one of the local areas on this board that are near to where you will be you might be able to find shoots to work on.

love

Freya
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#17 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 09:58 AM

Hey Freya,

Thanks, that's interesting news that Morgan is here - he gave me some solid advice for applying the first year I tried. I'll look him up and see where things go.

Lv Jacqueline.
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#18 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:53 PM

My concern is that I was planning to apply again this year with a new showreel, but it's a little thin on new material.


Jacqueline, can you show the showreels you have applied with, please?
Just out of interest.

Edited by Edgar Dubrovskiy, 29 May 2008 - 05:53 PM.

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#19 Serge Teulon

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 03:41 PM

Yep, in my first year, still 2 to go.



To be honest it was a bit too techie for me...I was also looking for the creative stuff and they just didn't cover that side at all. So I left with my degree feeling a bit disappointed and disenchanted.
I trainee'd and assisted on a lot of promo's, commercials, films etc.. whilst studying there and that complemented what I was missing!


How is it going for you?
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