Life through the eyes of a Film & Digital Art Student

An insight into the Film & Digital Art course at UCA Farnham from a Year 2 Student.

22 Jan 2019

My name is Alexander Wiseman & I’m in my second year of study in Film & Digital Art (FDA).

More often than not, my course is often displaced to the shadow of Film Production, the university’s largest course. However, the differences greatly outweigh the similarities. Here’s a snapshot of what life is like through the eyes of an FDA student at UCA Farnham.

I should explain, I did start at UCA as a Film Production student, however, at the end of my first year I transitioned to Film & Digital Art Year 2. Why, you might ask?

Well, whilst I believe Film Production is a terrific course in learning and developing skills in the sense of the traditional film industry process, the attraction to FDA was born out of its seemingly endless flexibility. Its range of specialisms is what attracted me personally. Film Production gave me the option of Editing as a specialism, or Cinematography, or Directing. FDA on the other hand, offered me the ability to satisfy all of my creative interests and inclinations, being able to take workshops in editing as well as workshops in directing.

But what is the actual experience like?

It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and the most work too.

In Year 2, for example, you have an essay in which theory lectures, shared with Year 2 photography, begin pretty much from the outset up until November, once a week, from which you then begin to develop your 3000-word essay. Meanwhile, you will have been developing your installation to be put up in January, of which you can create anything in the realm of the theme of Maps & Networks, which will be displayed in the Hockey Gallery or any place of your choosing (given the right permissions and planning).

If you choose the Pro Tools specialism or Avid Media Composer specialism (or both) you would have workshops each week for a given time alongside this which are highly detail intensive.

Finally, there is a studio shoot for a short film which starts in late October. Pre-production and shooting commences in the massive film studio (G12) in late November, having been developed by production crews with guidance from tutors, and this is just the first term!

Do you even have a chance to breathe? If you are organised, which you will need to be to keep on top of it all, yes. But is it stressful? No, at least I have never felt stressed with it.

This is because given the course’s class size, you have easily available one-to-one time with your tutors. For example, you have frequent opportunities for tutorials in which to discuss any concerns you might be having, or struggles with workload with the tutors, and they will work with you to make sure you can do the best you can with whatever circumstance you may be in.

Currently, I have been doing (a little) too much extra practice in the Avid Suite and have unfortunately potentially developed RSI in my right wrist. This is obviously a potentially devastating problem for potential editors and I was so thankful for how quickly my tutors responded. I was told I had to rest for at least a week, I was supplied a trackpad by the post-production office to ease any strain on my wrist (set up by my tutor without me even having to ask) and I have been offered a potential extension on my installation deadline by my wonderful Course Leader Rosie Gunn because she understood I had been unable to work.

Stress does not create the best work, and the tutors understand that and do their best to make sure that, whilst the workload is high as there is so much to learn, the students can manage and flourish.

This is just a fraction of the experience and day-to-day of my course, I would highly recommend you check out the course blog & page on the UCA website for more information.