Sunday, 20 July 2014

G - R - O - W

Now that the internship cycle is complete, it is time to assess the whole process and adjust my Goals, consider the Reality of my past and present professional career by taking into account my Options and the Obstacles that I had and will have to face, as well as plan my Way forward.



Since the beginning of this course, I was aiming to apply for internships because I strongly believe that even though education is, to quote Nelson Mandela, 'the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world', all of your theoretical knowledge is somehow useless if you do not put it into practice. Taking all of the theory of the course and applying it, by evaluating the structure and work conditions of the cultural sector (or, in my case, the film sector), is the best way to actually acquire knowledge, since you observe real examples of what you have learned in class. Internships can also make you more employable, which is really important in a city as competitive as London, especially for me, a foreigner, who has never worked in the UK before, a country where employers really value UK based work experience.

Bearing in mind that my long-term aspiration in life is to work in the film industry as a film producer or, alternatively, a festival director, an internship was also a way for me to gain some expertise on the field, since I had little experience in the film industry. Looking at my original goals for this internship, I feel really satisfied with what I achieved, since I got the chance to work at a respectable British film festival, and I developed a nuanced perspective of the cultural economy and cultural labour.


Realistically speaking, based on my previous academic and professional experience, it was highly unlikely that I could get a job at a production company. The choice to prioritise on applications for film festival positions was a conscious and logical one, since my previous experience in events would make it easier for me to find an internship. After all, a film festival is the best place for film industry members to network and explore new job opportunities, let alone if you are actually working at said festival.

Looking back on my CV before this internship, I see a man who, even though he is quite inexperienced in the field, he seems really passionate about film culture and film events. Because of my home country's financial situation, art projects are rare and it is really hard to get into the film industry, since people rely almost exclusively on their own social and professional circles to find people to assist them in their projects. However, if I am completely honest, I feel like I should have tried to get a more active role in film festivals, and take some film production lessons that would showcase my interest in the field. However, I choose to live my life with no regrets, as the 'game' is still on, and there are still plenty of opportunities for me in the near future. Better late than never.



Before my internship at EEFF I was aiming for an exciting but yet approachable organisation, which could potentially offer me a position based on the experience I already had. I could not hope to work at the BFI or the BBC. It is not that I would not love to, but even though I dream big, I also like to be realistic. Since I had experience in festivals and events, it was more feasible and logical to search for an internship at a medium sized organisation.

From now on, I feel more comfortable setting my expectations higher. Breaking into the film industry is hard, as you usually need to have good connections, or be someone's personal recommendation. This experience at EEFF opened up a lot of new opportunities for me; it got me an interview at MoMA, and a lot of connections in the UK film industry, even though with low-profile people who still struggle in the field. You have to start somewhere though, right? 

Way forward

Bearing in mind that I do not wish to return to Greece after my studies, I will focus on sending as many CVs as possible, for jobs in film production and festivals, but this time in a Production Assistant position. The good thing is that there are so many different ways to go if you want to embark a career at film events and film production, and I wish to explore all of them. The main goal is to make my breakthrough into film production, in any capacity, by the end of 2014. Not necessarily with a high profile, stable, or well paid job; just something to explore how things work behind the camera.

Furthermore, I am considering that a good way to go would be to focus on part-time, or project-based jobs, so that I will have the opportunity to get experience in all different kinds of positions; after all, a producer needs to know how everything works so as to tie all of the different aspects of a project together. Moreover, a lot of film institutions offer short courses on film related subjects, and I believe that it would be a good idea to attend some courses on film production so as to reinforce my academic knowledge on the matter.

I already began sending CVs for jobs that I find appealing, but, for now, the immediate focus of attention should be on my dissertation so that I ensure that I will achieve a respectable, if not excellent, overall grade in my MA. When all of my academic duties are over, I will resume the job hunting more intensely, with the hope that by the next 4 years I will be producing my own feature films. This time I will be the one submitting films for festivals and not the other way around! 


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