The University of Lincoln Filmmaking Society is a student-based group focusing on film making, acting, producing, directing and editing around the Lincoln area in the East Midlands.We speak to society president Ryan Keen about the independent film industry and the roles and projects that the Filmmaking Society are involved in. With prominent topics such as illegal downloading, streaming and media equipment, Ryan Keen guides us through what it takes to become a young independent filmmaker and the boundaries that come along with it.
What happens in the filmmaking society?
In the filmmaking society we do a variety of things such as make short films as a group and teach different film techniques. We also have film screenings, and we put on small competitions to win prizes.
Who can join and do you have to be a film student?
Anyone can join, so there isn’t a limit on being a film student. People from all courses with an interest can join, and even alumni can join, as well as members of the public who are not part of the university itself.
How is it funded?
It’s funded by the Students Union. I think we started with a budget of close to £2,000 this year, and you can earn more money from them by gaining more members.
Where do you get your equipment from?
We get all of our equipment from the university itself down at media loans in the MHT building.
What are your opinions on the independent film industry? / Do you believe it’s harder to be a filmmaker these days, what with illegal downloading and streaming?
My opinions on the independent film industry is hopeful, I feel as if there is a lot of potential out there just waiting to be discovered, but as you said with illegal downloading and streaming it is hard for filmmakers in the modern age. However, technology has certainly helped things out in specific areas, there are websites dedicated for freelancers in the industry to find new work every day all over the country, and film festivals from all over the world that filmmakers can send their work to at the click of a button. I also feel that although the streaming services to discredit filmmakers a lot, there is potential for exposure, as everyone, at least everyone at university that I know who use websites such as YouTube and Vimeo everyday.
I would like to know more about what kind of projects you have done in the society (you mentioned that you make short films), and what do you do with the films you make?
So the short film projects we have done with the society this year have just been short comedy sketches that we all collaborated on together to get ideas such as a 1950’s infomercial for the best way to procrastinate, and we’ve done a sort sketch that’s kind of like one of those charity adverts for abused donkeys, but we did it for supermarket trolleys. Although we have worked closely with companies such as Visit Lincoln to showcase what the city was like around Christmas time. The Visit Lincoln videos went on their Facebook and their YouTube, but we haven’t really put any of our videos of anything yet, although we do have a YouTube page.
Do you have any filmmakers etc. in the group who have perhaps won an award for something or had their work entered in some kind of competition or festival?
As far as I’m aware we haven’t had any filmmakers in the society that have won an award or had their work submitted into a festival, but I could be wrong.
You also mentioned that you get your equipment from Media Loans, what type of cameras/editing software do you use?
Typically the equipment we get from media loans will usually be an Sony FS-100 as everyone on the committee can book that out and has had training on it, but if I needed to I could get the Canon C100, as I have had training on that. There’s a lot of editing software available to us at university, but I think the two that everyone seems to use is either Premiere Pro, or Avid, although there are other ones to use like Adobe AfterEffects, or if people are unfamiliar with editing software like those, iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are extremely easy to grasp. I actually just completed editing my showreel of work on iMovie and it got me accepted for a Masters so it’s still a quality product.
Is there a specific age range to join the society for people who aren’t students?
There isn’t an age range for the society, we welcome everyone from all ages, but I presume the university or the Students’ Union might have an issue with under 18’s coming along, I’m not too sure.
Is there any advice you would give to a young person interested in becoming a filmmaker?
My personal advice to a young person wanting to become a filmmaker is to just put themselves out there, it sounds cliché and cheesy; but it’s true. If they put themselves out there and get enough work down as possible, whether they’re creating the work themselves or helping others to create, then it can all go into their portfolio of work and allow them to gain valuable experience and skills or what to do and what not to do.
Can you tell me more about the freelance website? Do you have any experience of this platform yourself or do you know anyone who has?
The website I believe it called Film and TV Pro, I am on the website and I do get notifications every day letting me know of jobs going in the industry, some jobs are paid; others are not, but I haven’t had any experience with it myself or know anyone who has. I’ve put myself down for a few jobs such as script work or a camera operator, but never quite got the job, but that’s just another learning experience from the website.
Written by Anna Clark