Always wanted to be a director? To create a masterpiece that captures a special story in a certain way? Studying film draws on both our imagination and intelligence. It opens up a range of unique opportunities and ways of seeing and telling stories.
Whether your passion is to be filmmaker, director, producer or cinematographer, there’s no doubt that no one gives better advice than a current film student. Here, we chat to Sydney Film School student Laura Towell about her experience of studying film, the highlight of her studies so far and why listening is the most important thing you can practice as an artist.
Why did you choose to study at Sydney Film School?
I chose to study at Sydney Film School straight after the tour. I remember walking in for the first and any nerves I had quickly diminished as I was immediately met with a warm and welcoming environment. The teachers I spoke with all had such a passion, not only for film, but teaching in general. It was place I could see myself spending my time and putting the work into.
What is your experience being a Sydney Film School student?
SFS cultivates an environment of care and intimacy. When developing as a filmmaker, that care feels so important. You’re allowed to be vulnerable and make mistakes. At the same time the teachers understand they are readying you for a business, they take your work seriously and aren’t afraid to challenge you both as an artist and an individual.
Highlight of your studies so far?
So far, the highlight of my studies (and the delight of film schools in general) has been getting the chance to talk with like-minded people. Finding others who share your passion is the best way to develop as any kind of artist. It’s also been a joy to be met with people who look at filmmaking in a way I had never thought of before. These differences have kept me engaged and challenged my thinking in a way I wasn’t expecting.
What has studying at Sydney Film School taught you?
Studying at SFS so far has given me my toolset as a filmmaker. It’s taught me the importance of learning and relearning the fundamentals in order to develop your unique voice as an artist. By putting in the work and learning from not only my teachers, but also my diverse and passionate classmates, I’m finding a new perspective on filmmaking and finding the kinds of stories that I want to tell. All while being presented with the knowledge to tell them.
What is one piece of advice you would offer students who are considering studying
I would say the most important thing is keeping an open mind, art is something so personal and film is a career with so many pathways. The first thing you’ll be met with in film school is a group of people each with their own dreams and stories. The best thing you can do is not take this for granted. Keep your passions, and share them, but know that listening is just as important. The more you learn from different perspectives the more you’ll have to bring to the table as an artist.
What are your future dreams, hopes and aspirations?
My dream is simply to work in film. There is a real beauty to the collaboration present in film as an art-form, and my dream is to be part of that. I would love to be a producer, as I think finding people with stories and being a part of a team to realise them, is just as important as bringing my own stories to life. As human beings, I think the only way to create something that can represent all of us, is through the knowledge and acceptance of different points of view, especially points of view that have been so under-represented in film so far.
Excelsia College will be running a virtual Open Day on Saturday 29 August. Those joining the event will also be able to find out details about the ground-breaking Bachelor of Screen Production launching in 2021 in partnership with Sydney Film School. It will consist of a course overview, Q&A about the degree, and a My Creative Film Career session where the Executive Chair of Sydney Film School Simon Hunter and actor Jason Perini discuss how to unlock your film possibilities. Secure your spot below.