Career in Filmmaking: Aiming for an Oscar, BAFTA or Cannes award?
For Shraddha Thorat, it was her immense love for films that made her join an undergraduate course in filmmaking. “Films always had my interest in fact from a very young age. My parents always wanted me to have a degree and then get into films but luckily after I passed my 12th grade I got in,” says the third-year student of BSc Film Making at Whistling Woods International, Mumbai (WWI). Making films is meant only for those who are passionate about films and don’t mind the struggle to make it big.
What is filmmaking?
Filmmaking can be described as telling stories through pictures and sounds. It involves transformation of a concept to visuals. It is divided into three categories; Pre-production involving planning your film; Production of filming the movie; and Post-Production, which involves editing and giving final touches to your film. Filmmaking caters to various genres such as mainstream fiction, advertising, documentary and educational content on social media sites.
Growth and demand
R.D. Balaji, Head of Department of Chennai-based SRM Sivaji Ganesan School of Film Studies, that offers BSc Film Technology, shares that media and entertainment indusSomnathtry in India is showing 18 percent annual growth rate. In another three years, 3 lakh trained professionals are required to meet the industry demand. The sector that caters to advertisement films, corporate films and documentaries is also witnessing high growth demand for professional filmmakers. The rise of regional cinema is also fuelling demand for professionals.
How to get admission?
Admission to an undergraduate course is based on your 10+2 score, with a minimum of 50 percent marks. Usually institutes take personal interview to judge your ability and creative thinking. A few institutes conduct their own aptitude tests and selection is based on the weightage of entrance test marks. Prominent institutes like FTII Pune, conduct their own admission entrance test but graduation is a must to get into FTII. If you wish to make your career in sound design or recording, then you must have a Physics background to understand the concepts of sound.
Course and curriculum
BSc or BA degree in Film making is usually of three-year duration but a few institutes offer four-year courses as well. The curriculum is based on the principle of learning by doing as per the industry needs where focus is on comprehensive practical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking. Usually film institutes offer semester-based curriculum divided into six semesters. “The courses are not very different except that the BA students get to do practicals in the first year while the BSc students don’t get such an opportunity,” says Shraddha.
At Whistling Woods International, the first year of the course is treated as ‘foundation year’ where students are introduced to the concepts of film and media. In the second year, it takes on your career interests in which students gain deep knowledge of films with their different aspects of making or technical perspective of learning such as producing; cinematography; sound design; VFX; editing; direction etc. with special focus on their specialization, which one can choose in the final year.
Annapurna International School of Film and Media, Hyderabad (AISFM) offers four-year undergraduate degree in filmmaking where first two years are meant to give students an overview of the facets of filmmaking and thereafter introduce them to more advanced concepts and equipment of filmmaking.
“We are taught about story, camera, images, sound and how their interplay creates something truly beautiful. The course blends theory classes and practical assignments to help us better grasp the concepts taught,” states Harshvardhan Chand, student, second semester of the first year of a four-year Bachelors’ Degree Course in Film and Media at AISFM. “Also other subjects that we are taught, such as Philosophy, Psychology and History of Western Art help us garner better understandings of the human psyche,” he added.
Final year is focused on specialized subjects like Direction; Script writing; Cinematography; Production; Editing; Screen writing; sound recording and design; Visual effects etc. which is purely based on your interest area. Your prior learning will help you to choose the right career path for you.
Learning and teaching
Institutes use the latest equipment to provide industry-based training to their students. Amit Tyagi, Dean, Film and Television Institute of India, Pune shares the uniqueness of FTII teaching, “We expose our students to world cinema and to lots of film analysis where we break down films into their competent parts. From these, students understand the art, craft and techniques of filmmaking, which help them in their own filmmaking.”
Usually, institutes maintain a balance between theory and practical classes and provide industry exposure to their students. They conduct workshops and arrange industry professional’s visits to imbibe the industry’s best practices. According to Somnath Sen, Director Outreach and Affiliation, Whistling Woods International, “We are absolutely industry-oriented. All our faculties are working professionals and are encouraged to work off campus so that the latest technology and methodologies become part of our pedagogy.”
Where do you fit in?
Film industry is very broad-based with different segments, and gives plethora of opportunities based on your specialization. “A lot of projects are being outsourced to India and we are getting a lot of work, specifically in post-production which means that there is space for almost every student passing out of a filmmaking institute,” says Delna Dhamodiwala, Vice President, HR at Prime Focus World, which is a renowned name for post-production purpose worldwide.
All production houses are looking for young, trained, and enthusiastic professionals. After completion of this course one can join film; television; advertisement agency, documentary industry etc. Usually preference is given to freshers who are hired to work as assistants so that one can be trained according to their own unique methods of working and aptitude.
If I have a dream to tell a story and want to communicate it, there is a technical medium to it. It also involves a lot of team play as there are lot of different people involved who will help you communicate your vision on-screen. So, this is where a dedicated professional, who’s gone through a film school, helps a lot because you learn different aspects of bringing your story alive on screen like the creative, technical and human aspect of how you communicate your vision to the director or photographer, costume director, production designer, art designer, editor and also listen to them. You also learn the best way to tell a story involving all these people and that’s where film school plays a very important role. It also acts as an initial platform where you can make all the mistakes and learn from them at the film-school level so that when you reach the professional level, you are far more trained and aware of yourself as a person and a film-maker. I think this is why people joining the industry are coming from trained backgrounds as they want to make a mark for themselves.
Shashank Khaitan is the director of the hit movie Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
What recruiters look in you?
Recruiters always give preference to the best fit candidates for their organizations. “We prefer candidates who have completed a specialized course in post-production, specifically in visual effects and its broad arena or have significant experience in a similar industry,” says Dhamodiwala. “We offer a package which is commensurate with the industry standards to such graduates who have completed a VFX course and cleared our evaluation rounds.” she added. According to Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean, AISFM, “Opportunities are plenty for the talented, hardworking, and disciplined team players. In this new generation career, there is no upper ceiling on anyone’s growth. You can make your own future if you have the entrepreneurial spirit.” So, if you harbour dreams of walking the red carpet at film festivals, don’t wait. Just do it.
Institutes in filmmaking and courses
BSc/BA in Filmmaking with specialisation in Cinematography/Direction/Editing/Producing/Screenwriting/Sound Recording & Design; VFX
KIIT University (School of Film & Media Sciences), Odisha
Bachelor of Film & Television Production
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Filmmaking
BA (Film & Television Production)
MIT School of Film and Television, Pune
BSc in Film Making (Specialisation in Direction/Cinematography/ Editing/Sound Recording & Designing
BA Programme in Film, Television and New Media Production
Deviprasad Goenka Management
BA Film, Television & New Media Production
L V Prasad Film and TV Academy, Chennai
PG Diploma in Direction
BSc (Design - Film &TV Production)
M.G.R. Government Film and Television Institute, Chennai
Diploma in Film Technology and TV Production (Cinematography)
Postgraduate Programme in Cinema
Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
Post Graduate Diploma in Direction & Screenplay Writing
SRM Sivaji Ganesan School of
BSc Film Technology
CMR University, Bangalore
Manipal University, Manipal
MAF (Masters in Film Making)
GNA University, Phagwara
BSc Film Making
Kishinchand Chellaram College
BA in Films, Television & New media
Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University, Jaipur
BA in Film and TV Production
Ajeenkya DY Patil University, Pune
BSc in Film Making
St. Joseph's College, Bangalore
Bachelor of Visual Media & Film Making BVOC (VMF)
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