Blog #005: Making The Most of Student Films
By Loren Johnson
As they say about any craft, practice makes perfect. At some stage during your acting training you'll need to take the plunge and get real experience working as an actor and the best way to do this is on student films. Now some of you might be asking, what is a student film? It's pretty much what the name implies. It’s a short film usually three to ten minutes in length that student film makers need to produce to learn the craft of film making.
There are so many benefits to working on a student film, as you will soon hear. The only downside is that the jobs are either unpaid or low paid, you might only get $50 to $100 a day - if you're lucky.
One of the great things about being an actor in a student film is that the film makers are beginners too - they're also learning their craft and a small secret is they're are just as nervous as you are, because they may never have worked with actors before (even if they seem confident know-it-alls). Take the pressure off - there's no need to be nervous. They'll make just as many mistakes as you (if not more) so let go of the nerves, have fun, and practice your acting skills.
It’s a great opportunity to explore your creativity as you usually have a lot more creative freedom to try different things with your characterisation than you would on a standard industry project.
Student film sets are also often a lot of fun as creative minds work together, learning along the way, to make the best product they can. And you will also no doubt walk away with interesting or funny stories for life. The innovation that can happen on a film set to get around technical or creative problems is quite remarkable!
thirty minutes and help pack up because this is the best time to network. During the shoot the film makers will be too busy to chat. By networking there will be a high probability that you will then be given other roles on other student's film in their class, or the same student's next film.
Another bonus to working on a student film is that you will learn how to make a film, or at least hold a lighting stand. What I mean is that the crew will be very small compared to a professional production. Sometimes if you're not in a scene you might be asked to give a hand by holding a light stand or some wires off the ground so the cameraman doesn't trip over them. Watch, listen, lend a hand, and you will learn a wealth of knowledge that will help you understand the process of film-making which will in turn help you to become a better actor.
Student films are usually only one to three days of filming so they don't require a large time commitment which is a relief for the majority of beginner actors who have a regular job. It's also the best way to start to build up your showreel which you will need if you want to take your acting career to the next level. A showreel by the way is a collection of your best work edited together. I hope that helps and until next time, stay safe and as always - happy acting.
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