MA Film and Television: Research and Production student, Talla Buffery, tells us more about her experience studying at the University of Birmingham.
Why did you choose Film and TV at the University of Birmingham?
“I chose to study my Master’s in Film and Television: Research and Production at Birmingham because I wanted a course that would challenge me both theoretically and practically. From essays to pitch presentations, I was able to build on my speaking, teamwork and writing skills. These assessments are not only fundamental to a career in film or television but also really focused on my individual interests and passions; we were able to personalise every title or project, which made me even more excited to do them. This also meant that I could waffle on about all my favourite television shows – in fact, we were encouraged to – so what other convincing could I possibly need?
“We have full access to an extensive amount of kit, which is constantly being added to, that we can experiment with from the first class. In preparation for the final audio-visual dissertation, the modules leading up to it allow us to practise our practical skills in films that are a couple minutes long, five-minutes and then 25-minutes. Additionally, the course holds several short film competitions – so there is plenty of opportunity to take advantage of everything this course can give!
“Lastly, the placement period during term two and three sold this Master’s to me. I'm not aware of any other course in the UK that offers you time working in television, specified to your personal interests, which I find incredible and absolutely invaluable.”
What has been the highlight of your course?
“It’s hard to choose one highlight out of the entire course, but I would have to say the placement period in term two. Jemma, the placement coordinator, is a constant support from start to finish and does her best to match you to where you want to progress in your film or television career. She helps us fix up our CVs and helps with cover letters before they are sent off and prepares us for interviews. During this time, you can have one placement that runs for a longer time or shorter placements to make up the allocated placement period. The people you meet, recognise (television is a small world!) and get to work with is such an amazing experience that no other course could have offered me.
“Other than this, if I had to pick favourite assessments, I thoroughly enjoyed writing the placement essay and creating the guided editing project. There is absolutely no limit on our creativity and this course is, fundamentally, the best thing I could have done to kick-start my career in television. It has helped me discover where my true passions lie and what I can really excel in when I put 100% of my effort into it.”
What have you learnt from your programme?
“The real question is what HASN’T this course taught me? Before starting, I had no idea about how the film and television industry worked. I learnt so much about pre-production processes, filming and post-production, from how to research and develop an idea to how to use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit footage. I can say with full confidence that this Master’s programme has helped me to break down and understand the film and television world in a way that makes sense to me. I now know, for example, where to look for certain ideas, what frames and shots I should use, how to manage light during filming and in post-production and how to feel proud of the work I have done! I can graduate knowing my course has instilled a new form of confidence and self-belief in myself that I would not have developed on my own.”
What is life like as a student at the University of Birmingham?
“Life as a student at the University of Birmingham is incredible. Everyone is so lovely, kind and welcoming – both students and staff – and there is a large emphasis on making the university a second home. There is an endless and ever-growing list of societies to join, events to attend and Fab nights to attend at Joe’s! The facilities are modern and up-to-date, with a wide range of study spaces to choose from, whether this be in the library group study rooms or in the Law building.
“I was terrified of starting as Master’s student, worried that no one would be interested in the social side of things – but I was proven very wrong! I have made friends for life and the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association (PGMSA) society always has a social event on. This has all contributed towards me finding the right work-life balance whilst at university and I will be very sad to leave – a year goes by faster than you’d like!”