Regent’s School of Drama, Film & Media students share their experiences and insight into the courses

We caught up with three students from the Regent’s School of Drama, Film & Media and asked them to tell us a little about their courses, their ambitions and what being under pressure is really like.

Hadley is a third year BA (Hons) Screenwriting & Producing Student embarking on her Short film and Major Script project.

Ornela is a second year BA (Hons) Film, TV & Digital Media Production student who is deep into her film assignments for the Short Film Production and Campaign Production module.

Holly is a third year student on the same degree about to embark on her final project, The Completion of the Major Film Production.

Hadley (left) and Ornela (right) with Alix from BA TVFDMP

Q. What are your roles in the assignments?

Ornela: My role for the short film is the writer, but I am also producing and directing it with the help of one of the other second year students. I am director of photography on the campaign film, which is very exciting.

Hadley: I am currently working on my final feature film as well as co-producing and working as a 1st AD on my short film and working on several others in a production or assistant director role. My role involves setting up casting and organising locations as well as particular props and helping to find external funding. On set I will be in charge of keeping everything organized and on time. Helping everyone stay on the same page and work together and cohesively. 

Holly: My Major Production is called Regina, (‘Queen’ in Latin) it is based around a young girl’s journey from working class Liverpool to the glitz and glamour of beauty pageants, however the story isn’t really about the beauty pageant. It’s about women respecting each other and themselves. I have written, produced and directed the film and hoping to take it festivals in the near future. 

Ornela's short film

Q. So are these assignments challenging?

Holly: Challenging is an understatement. But you don’t get anywhere in life taking the easy route.

Ornela: Yes, a lot of work goes into production and direction, for example casting, story boarding, food, locations; everything needs permission to film. All of this has to be done on a budget, which is another challenge in itself because you are restricted but it is also interesting and pushes you to do the best you can do with what you have. It is the most rewarding feeling seeing your vision come alive before your eyes, so all the hard work and challenge is worth every minute.

Hadley:  I am producing my own short film; it is very challenging in the sense that I have added this work to my already full school schedule as well as other projects outside of school. Ensuring I get everything organized and set, while keeping on top of my other work is definitely a difficult task, but one that is manageable. 

Ornela's short film 1

Q. What has surprised you most working on these projects?

Hadley: The level of commitment and teamwork from everyone has been amazing. Everyone’s attitudes have been extremely professional, particularly that of my co-producer and director whose work ethic and vision has inspired everyone involved. 

Holly: That I actually knew more than I thought I did! Even when you think there isn’t a plan, B, C, D or Z, there’s always a backup, an alternative. Giving up is not an option and the further you push to get things moving, funnily enough, the more likely they’ll happen!

ornela directing on location

Q. You have all been doing work beyond your assignments such as making your own films and finding industry experience (both degrees require students to undertake a minimum four week placement).

Ornela: I’m just really putting myself out there. Networking at certain events,) offering help on people’s shoots and really getting an understanding and learning about the different areas and what they require.

Hadley: I have started up a production company with Ornela, which has allowed me to get a large amount of outside work and improve my CV. It also allowed me to really exercise the skills I have learned on my course and put them into action in a productive way. Finding work and organizing my time has been a learning curve but I find myself working harder in school and focusing more as I no longer have the time to avoid taking responsibility. 

Holly: Working at Lionsgate has been a real eye opener for me, as it’s completely different to what I study in class. It’s more of the paperwork/business side of it all, however I have really taken a shine to the Marketing team and the Home Entertainment team, which has made me question (in a good way) whether there are more routes than just producing.

Ornela directing the Outside Broadcast unit at the Regent's Fashion Show

Q. What has that taught you about yourselves?

Holly: I have learnt that everything happens for a reason. If a location falls through, THAT IS OK! As there may be another one waiting for you to find it, which is 100% better than the last. This has happened to me twice in the past weeks, and I am SO glad it happened! 

Hadley: I’ve learned what kinds of people I want to work with and what my standard is and what others’ expectations and standards are for me. I’ve also been forced to not only take the initiative but to also take risks and consider all avenues when trying to accomplish something. 

Ornela: I have learned that I need to give myself time. To plan efficiently and effectively, as planning is so very crucial. I have also learned about the people I would like to work with, and how there is a certain commitment that comes with every role that needs to be fulfilled to the best of your ability.

Ornela, Hadley with students and tutors at 2014 Sitges Film Festival

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