Former NCL Film and Television student; Duncan Formosa has recently acquired some impressive production credits through his editing work for Axis Studios.
Axis is an award winning animation and VFX studio which has its roots in Glasgow. Over two decades the company has built up an impressive client list and reputation, working with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and opening studios in Bristol and London.
“I’ve been working at Axis for nearly 2 years now and it still amazes me just how many projects we manage to get out in such a short period of time, from TV shows, video games, trailers and music videos.
It’s been really exciting watching the projects start off as storyboards and keep building up until it finally gets released. It always feels good seeing people react to it and knowing I had a part to play in it. Every project that I’ve worked on since I’ve been there has been a great learning experience for me and I feel like I’ve really grown as an editor in such a short period of time and a lot of that has to do with the fact I’m working with a great edit team who have been really encouraging from the moment I started. I can’t wait to find out what else is to come and how much more I can grow as an editor.”
“Duncan impressed all of us with the commitment and dedication he demonstrated throughout his HN Film & Television course and it’s great to see that hard work pay off with the production credits he’s now gathering through his work as an editor with Axis.
I’m hopeful that at some point soon, he’ll join us for one of our “Tuesday Talks” virtual lectures and can share his journey and experience with our current Film and Television students and show us some of the projects he has worked on in more detail.”
– Michael Grant, Film & Television Lecturer.
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NCL Film & TV were delighted to be joined this week by BBC presenter, Film Critic and Director Mark Cousins, as part of the Tuesday Film & TV appreciation lectures.
The online talks devised by lecturer Kim Beveridge, have featured a range of Film and Television industry practitioners, including a link up with the Outlander Production Trainee Programme in Wardpark Film and Television studios, Cumbernauld.
“The Tuesday morning guest speaker slot has become a popular feature within the department and has been well attended by students from all levels of our courses. I think having the opportunity to listen to and ask direct questions to such a variety of high calibre guests helps.
Listening to John McPhail’s enthusiasm for film was contagious and hilarious. He explained the multi layering of genres within his 2018 zombie film ‘Anna and the Apocalypse’ and how the subtle colour changes throughout the film helped communicate theses shifts.
John also recalled his research into the genre of musicals in preparation for directing one for the first time. He explained that songs are opportunities to stop the action for a moment, allowing use to really listen to a character’s musical monologue of hopes, fears, and desires.
Ex-Outlander trainees Lauren Lambie (production) and Keith Pflug (camera) chatted openly with the students about their experience of the program and the specific workings of their departments.
Lauren’s swift career progression from production runner to assistant show runner was fascinating. Her on set anecdotes illustrated the importance of the production office within TV. Starting at the bottom as a runner is an opportunity to get your foot in the door and if you’re passionate, hardworking and have common sense, regardless of academic experience you can work your way up. Lauren also shared her hopes to progress to her dream job as script supervisor and at some point, write her own adaptations for screen.
It was great to welcome director Mark Cousins this week, hear him talk about his love of film from an early age and the inspiration behind his most recently released feature ‘Women Make Film’. Mark gave us an insight into how early film historians overlooked the vast majority of women’s achievement within the industry. Both here in the West and more significantly, in other non-English speaking countries.
As a self-confessed Feminist, Mark explained his compulsion to address this with the making of ‘Women Make Film’, a film that invites the world to glimpse at what they’ve been missing out on in the form of his road trip, archive montage film narrated by narrated by Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Sharmila Tagore, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton and Debra Winger.
During the Q&A that followed, Mark also spoke about his admiration of Iranian film, and how the dilemma of young filmmakers today is not how to make a film, as technology like mobile phones has now given everyone that ability. But what story to tell?”
To aid his final year studies at New College Lanarkshire, HND Film & Television student Ronan Smith has been awarded a bursary from the Royal Television Society and STV.
“To be honest, it was quite intimidating when I applied for the Royal Television Society, I had to go into depth on my background such as where I came from, my struggles, my education and why I was applying, showcasing some of the work I had done with New College Lanarkshire previously. Which in fact was the easy part.
I then had a two-hour phone call with the Bursary manager Anne Dawson. This was a tough task as sometimes I stammer when speaking to new people, especially on the phone, but I felt at ease as the call went on explaining about what I had written in my application and she was lovely to speak to.
After I was just waiting with anticipation to see if I would get a callback, they first had to speak to my lecturer Alan Moffat and get his input on whether I would be a good candidate for the RTS Bursary Program. To my surprise I got a call back letting me know that I had been accepted for the bursary scheme, I was over the moon, waiting for the moment I could post it on social media. Recently I had my zoom induction, and it was amazing to be surrounded by so many amazingly talented people, I am eager and excited for what is to come.
A massive thank you to Alan Moffat and Michael Grant for helping me all the way from NQ to HND, I wouldn’t have gotten this far so fast with the college and becoming a member of RTS without their continued support! “
– Ronan Smith, HND Film & Television student.
“Ronan had approached us over the summer months to inform us that he had applied for the bursary and I was contacted by RTS shortly thereafter to provide a reference. It was important that I spent a bit of time writing this up as we are as a team, acutely aware that there are groups underrepresented within the Creative sector. These include people from BME communities, females in technical roles and males from SIMD 1 and 2 post codes. Students such as Ronan struggle to get a foot in the door due to lacking connections and having no personal role models with backgrounds in the creative sector. They have to make their own connections and coming on a college course and applying for the RTS bursary marks the start of that journey.
Ronan still has much work to do and RTS are fully supporting him by providing mentoring opportunities, signing him up for workshops and engaging him to write up how he is progressing with his studies.”
– Alan Moffat, Film & Television Lecturer.
The Royal Television Society offers two types of bursary schemes; the Technology Bursary and the TV Production and Journalism Bursary. The schemes are designed to support people from lower-income backgrounds to pursue a career in the television industry. For more information please visit:
HNC Film & Television student Graeme Ross recently completed a short feature, documenting his immediate family’s experiences and thoughts over lockdown.
Most of the footage was shot towards the end of Graeme’s NQ course in Film and Photography at New College Lanarkshire and over the Summer break before he began his HNC.
“A look at what Quarantine Life was like in the Ross Household.
This was a side project for college once we all got put into lockdown that ended up not being necessary to complete, however after recording a lot of footage I still wanted to complete it.
It’s no where near how I wanted it to turn out…. but at least all that footage hasn’t gone to waste.”
– Graeme Ross, HNC Film & Television student.
“Graeme has put together a really nice little document of his family’s experience over this unprecedented period, which also demonstrates the range of production skills he has picked up from his NQ course.
We’re all looking forward to seeing more features from Graeme as he develops his practice this year on the HNC Film & Television course.”
Like the other Film & TV courses, HNC Television have recently returned to college for their “one day fix” of face-to-face teaching.
Lecturers, Alec Cheer and Alan Moffat, took the students out on location for some socially distanced filming and worked through some of the Covid-19 health and safety procedures the department have put in place.
This includes how the equipment is handled and cleaned on the way in and on the way back out. The students were introduced to some of the roles within a Unit including Director, Camera Operative, Clapper Loader, Sound Recordist and Boom Op. They were also guided through the 2m social distancing rule whilst being taken through the procedures for “slating” shots.
“Shooting any content under the new Covid-19 H&S Guidance is adding a bit of time to your day so it’s important that you factor this in and plan ahead. We will be taking the students through what this will look like for their own short films and use the opportunity to teach outside on location.
The upside to the new “normal” is having smaller groups to teach which means we can get through more in a day. The learning is more hands-on and the students are much more attuned to what is going on during a shoot. Filming making is serious fun…and it’s great that the students are back behind the camera!!!”
The Film & Television department have recently begun a virtual lecture series available to all their course groups.
Lecturer Kim Beveridge writes:
This semester’s program of guest speakers is a direct response to us all feeling isolated, missing the physical social interaction that college and a working life normally gives us.
I thought having a weekly opportunity to bring the department together, chat with industry professionals from Film and TV and hear them discuss their experiences might boost the spirits of all of us and inspire us to keep creating as well and giving important insight into what’s happening out there, in the world of Film and TV.
It’s important to maintain and keep building on the department’s relationship with the industry, making sure we have our fingers on the pulse of what’s currently happening, especially during COVID-19, so we can be responsive in our teaching and adaptable to the industries needs.
In our first episode, we caught up with film maker Graham Hughs, director and writer, performer of ‘Death of a Vlogger’. He spoke to us about the challenges of making low budget films and gave us some insight into his process and where his ideas come from.
I’m excited to be welcoming Tam Dean Burn on Tuesday, 15th September, he’ll be joining us for a chat about this career as a performer in Film, TV and Theatre, his passion for activism within his work and his punk approach to film making
The program is ongoing and dates and speakers will be confirmed nearer the time. With everyone being so zoom literate now it has given us an opportunity to connect in ways we might not have in the past, we’re not restricted geographically, so maybe an international guest is a possibility for the future? Ultimately the goal is to build on this program, so speakers can join us in the college, in person to present their work, chat and take questions from the students, face to face.
Other future guest speakers in the series will include:
Over the lockdown period HND Television student Jasmin Ewing got involved with the digital project Scenes for Survival, a collaboration between BBC Scotland and National Theatre of Scotland creating a specially curated new digital programme of work that is available online.
The fruits of their labour, Happy Ark Day is a short film shot entirely in isolation by Jasmin who also plays the role of the daughter alongside her real life mum; Liz.
“Happy Ark Day was my first professional job in terms of both acting and production! This film was produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project and The Tron Theatre with support from Hopscotch Films.
My mum and I both have acting agents and they got us to audition to play a mother and a daughter. We both sent in a self tape, recording a scene each, and a couple of days later, received a phone call to say that I got the part!
Rehearsals took place over two days, where we met the company and crew members via Zoom meetings, and had one to one sessions with the director Kol and the company manager Sophie, just rehearsing the scenes.
I was extremely lucky that I had college equipment at home with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to made this film as good as it is! The shoot lasted for 3 days in total. They discussed how it wanted to be filmed, shot ideas and lighting placements.
We were also given a storyboard to work from which helped us significantly; The experts of lighting, sound and camera had a consultation with us, about the do’s and dont’s during the filming process which was really helpful.
It was also an honour, taking advice from industry professionals that work for the BBC! that was pretty awesome!!! Everyone was very helpful and supportive as my mum and I had to film, light and record the sound by ourselves! This was a huge task for us to complete. The filming required a lot of concentration and attention to detail, as we had to be aware of continuity, pay attention to the casting of shadows from light sources, and most importantly, making sure that the shot was in focus!
Thankfully, everyone was extremely pleased with what we had filmed and were ‘over the moon’ with our content. This piece is quite different from the other ‘Scenes for Survival’ films – the main focus of the film wasn’t solely based on the effect of the coronavirus outbreak -although there is some relation to an extent – the film is based on a play that hasn’t yet been on stage, and is a condensed version of it.
I loved the script, I felt like it was quite easy to connect with my character, as we share the same qualities, in ambition, determination and teenage strop! Hahaha…
I feel like we turned this beautiful piece of writing, with the help of the National Theatre of Scotland,into something special, that audiences can connect with.”
Jasmin Ewing – HND Television Student
“Everyone in the department was most impressed with Jasmin’s feature Happy Ark Day. The quality of her technical skills in setting up and shooting the feature are there for all to see. We were also taken by the quality of the acting performances from both her and her mum. This is a great addition to Jasmin’s production CV and we’re looking forward to seeing what she produces in her HND year at NCL.
With a new academic term now underway in the midst of a pandemic, it is still massively important to make efforts to stop the possible spread of coronavirus.
The Film & TV team spent the summer working on timetables to ensure that their students could return safely for the new academic session.This included reducing the capacity of class sizes, capping the number of days the students would be in college and spreading each of the course groups across the working week. Within the classrooms themselves, each student has been assigned a workstation which they will use exclusively throughout the year. The staff room and techbase have been moved to ensure that the “Film & TV bubble” does indeed become a bubble.
Other measures the department have put in place include designing a student questionnaire back in July and sending it out to all students in advance. This sought to ask various questions such as ICT requirements, the distance each student would be travelling to college, any equipment students already had at their disposal and any caring responsibilities they may have.
Students were also asked to complete a Film & TV Production Coronavirus Basic Awareness module through industry body Skillset before starting the course. Before any face-to-face teaching can begin, they have also been issued with separate guidance on how to conduct themselves whilst in college.
“We identified as far back as April that we would be facing huge challenges if the situation had not changed by August this year.
Having been the person who took responsibility for the timetabling of our courses since merger, I predicted that the 40% estate capacity would have a huge bearing on what a “working day” would like. I began to work on versions of a timetable that struck a compromise between bringing the students into college for face-to-face teaching whilst driving the learning and teaching remotely using a combination of Zoom lectures, teams guidance and meaningful self-directed study through project work.
We thus have to adapt and hope the learners can see we are making a huge effort to make this work for them.”
-Alan Moffat, Film & Television Lecturer
Face masks at the ready. Face-to-face teaching begins on Monday 21st September. Fingers crossed it will continue…
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Vestigial cast: Jamie Strachan, Ross Cowan, Richard Naylor, Emma Armstrong and Liam O’Gorman. Photo: James Reid
2019 HND Film & Television Alumni; James Reid and Conor Purvis have kept themselves busy over the lockdown period collaborating on a treatment for a post apocalyptic thriller set in Scotland with their fellow New College Lanarkshire graduates from the Performing Arts department, including actor Jamie Strachan.
“Vestigal” is set in various locations across Hamilton and follows four young individuals surviving strange times as their lives are turned upside down by a mysterious stranger.
James Reid writes:
“It all started with a conversation late at night between Jamie, Conor and myself… All 3 of us started writing, combining and editing an idea until we had a pilot written then we deleted that and started again.
The 2nd draft had a much better tone, you could feel there was something going on with these characters that left you asking a few questions.. Now it’s suddenly started to materialize, it’s kept us sharp and focused on working on a project, and it’s given people in our group, Actors, Crew etc, something to take their mind off the world and media at the moment.”
The team are in talks with various networks to partner up and possibly broadcast the show which will be serialised, once the pilot is shot by the end of July 2020, with a view to a national television debut by the end of this year. You can read more about the project in an article in the Daily Record at this link.
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