Film Studies Personal Statement
Submitted by Lois
Baz Luhrmann's works are what first inspired me to want to study Film at university. The first time I watched his 1996 adaption of Romeo and Juliet, I was completely entranced by his beautiful Mise-En-Scene and staggering attention to detail within his film. Indeed, I found the use of deep-rooted Shakespearian language crossed with a completely modern setting to be very thought-provoking. It seemed Luhrmann was trying to convey the theme of unconditional love - arguably the cornerstone of Romeo and Juliet - through the idea that, regardless of time gone by, the infatuation felt by the star crossed lovers remains ever strong, even when tested by the modern day.
My love of film led me to complete a MOOC titled: An Introduction to Screenwriting. From this, I learned about good story-writing practice. Most significantly, I was interested by the 3 part structure approach to screenwriting as, when writing stories for publishing, the structure does not have to adhere to this structure to be coherent, unlike in film. I am an enthusiast for page-to-screen adaptions, which I have consolidated through reading novels such as Adaptions: From Text to Screen, Screen to Text. This highlighted to me the many intricacies screenwriters have to take into consideration when adapting from page to screen; for example, a 400 page novel would on average be condensed into an 85-100 page screenplay. Eventually, I would love for my studies to support me in achieving my long-held dream of working on screenplays, whether that be adapting from books to film, or just creating stories.
My study of Film at A Level should provide a solid foundation for undergraduate study; my passion has been nurtured and grown extensively due to the many different films from around the globe to which I have been exposed, learning about the surrealist movement within film has opened my eyes to legendary formalists such as Louis Brünel and Salvador Dali. 'Un Chien Andalou' was of course particularly prevalent as I found the idea of 'dream logic' within film very interesting. Following on from this, I have made two short films during the course that have really thrown me in at the deep end when it comes to practical film making. This allowed me to channel my new found love of surrealism into the pieces I created. Through this, I have reinforced my independent study and time management skills which I believe will be valuable for university study.
Beyond the curriculum, I have enjoyed reading another book on screenplay practice: Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald which detailed the ways in which a successful story is structured and converted into the screenplay format. As an aspiring screenwriter, I found McDonald's 'Seven Steps' template for devising a story profoundly useful. In my spare time, I am currently volunteering at my local art gallery and museum as a 'gallery invigilator' whereby I get to interact with customers who have come to view the media whilst also finding out more about film and art at the same time. I find this very rewarding in the sense that I get to share my own passions with others when they ask questions about the works whilst also letting me absorb an everlasting supply of art and film history that I can apply to my education through study of film noir. As many foreign tourists come and visit the galleries, I have been particularly interested to learn about their descriptions of the differences of Hollywood cinema compared to cinema of their country, particularly in East Asia.
More widely, mentoring a Year 8 student has developed my listening skills as well as being a major responsibility as the student felt he could confide in me. My job as a school kitchen assistant has helped me develop effective team work skills as I carefully plan events for the children with people I may have never met. I feel that this has given me essential communication skills I can transfer into the seminars I will attend at University.