Director turns the tables on student filmmakers

15th January 2018

An internationally award-winning director put upcoming filmmakers from Stratford-upon-Avon College through their paces during an intense workshop designed to develop their skills at working with actors.

Jane Gull, UK-based director of 2016’s My Feral Heart, led the session which focused on the actor-director relationship. It incorporated several role-play scenarios requiring the students to portray film directors with different personalities, while the other members of the class took the roles of actors.

Jane explained, “I wanted them to understand what it was like when the shoe was on the other foot; different styles of directing have different effects on actors and, as a result, this affects performances.”

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Film director Jane Gull (left) with HND creative media students James Campion, Matthew Carlton and Alisha King

Jane, whose next project is an animated film she created alongside care home residents and primary school pupils, has one clear goal when working with new filmmakers. “When I worked as an actor, a lot of directors lacked basic communication skills, making it very difficult to give a good performance.

“Hopefully, I can help the next generation of filmmakers work more collaboratively with actors and produce better films.”

HND creative media student Daisy Venus, 18 from Wellesbourne, participated in the workshop and is keen to put what she learnt into action. “I think one of the most important things I’ve taken away from the class is to be confident, while not being too forceful. If you treat everyone with respect, you’re much more likely to get a better performance.”

Jane’s visit to the College has already had reaped amazingly positive results. Inspired by a screening of My Feral Heart, A Level Film students subsequently wrote reviews of the film and submitted them to Into Film, an educational organisation which promotes the use of film in teaching – and two of the students, Katie Jellicoe and Harry Gibbons, so impressed the judges that they were awarded review of the week on the Into Film website.

Find out more about the College’s Digital Media Production courses: Digital Media Production courses