Hello, Lukas, it is very nice to talk with you for a little bit about your studies, so tell me how did you choose to study film and television production? What was your main motivation exactly selecting University of Westminster?
Well I started out in the theatre when I was 12 by learning the craft of acting. I was very lucky to be taught by a Professional Theatre Director Jonas Daraškevičius and in the two final years of being in my Drama Studio “Vaidyba” I understood that I did not want to abandon what I learned in being creative and artistic so I decided to proceed onto Films and Television. I did not continue in theatre because Film is a broader medium and I always had a big passion for camera visuals.
Creative industries as well as the film industry are considered to be precarious and very competitive fields, what do you think about it?
Mostly all professions are competitive and always the best people win and achieve. It all depends on how much work you put in in developing yourself in your profession. In the Film industry you have to constantly live and breathe film, make films your life and then you will end up in one place or another. Even though it might be quite stressful to get a good job at first but it’s not your usual rat race, 8 hour work day profession and that is particularly appealing to me.
Regarding your discipline content, how is it organized, can you tell us more about it?
We are constantly given assignments. Even when we are finishing one film we need to start working on another. We usually go to the University 4–5 times a week and there have been times that we edited over the weekends. We are constantly working and thinking and that is really beneficial and develops us a lot. But that is what is good about education you are constantly being pushed forward, no time to hold yourself back.
Comparing film production studies and practices to other countries, do you think it is more beneficial choose to study in UK than any other country?
I was talking to a MA in directing graduate who studied her BA in America and she said that you have more freedom in creating any content that you like in the UK and more unorthodox ideas are welcomed and accepted. Then again there are a lot of down to earth reasons for choosing UK like not needing a visa, or a work permit. That applies to all of the EU countries, but then again I was the most proficient in English of all my second languages and this profession requires a lot of communication.
How would you relate your study experience with reality, do you think you will be able to use skills you gained to you career opportunities?
We are taught a lot about the whole production process of film making. We have to prepare all the production papers, pitch our ideas to the tutors. We also have technical workshops with film equipment. What we learn is very real and when you apply for a job position you can say with confidence: Yes, I know how to do that and that.
There are some professionals in the film industry who claim what it is more beneficial just to go and work in the industry instead of taking three years course. What is your opinion about that?
Doing a Course in film means that you can dedicate 3 years of your life into developing yourself as a very competitive and educated film person. And also you have 3 years to try and make all of your most interesting and exciting ideas come to life, there is a lot of room for error and advice. You will not have that in a serious working environment. For instance, my course mate was working in the industry for 3 years and she had been on big film shoots, but she choose to come to the course just because she felt that she was not learning enough on sets.
We would like to ask about drawbacks of your study related experience, do you have any criticism, opinion about how some things could be changed in the course? What would it be?
Well one of the hardest things is that everybody wants to have big roles instantl. And you have to put up quite a bit of a fight to be a director or producer on a project. It is pretty calm in the first year, but later on in the second and especially third year when the most important films are being made people who don’t get the roles lose interest and the will to work. It is quite a personal thing and not everybody is doing so. All in all, I think that it is hard but also fair that you already have to learn how to inspire others and make them believe in you. But I am very satisfied with my course at the University of Westminster. It has a very good reputation all across Europe, one recent student film “The Miserables” was nominated for an Academy Award in the international student category in Hollywood.
Do you think the fees of the courses in UK are worth its quality and content? What is your opinion about a recent increase to 9000 per year for BA?
It very much depends on your course. If you are doing a theoretical course where you have lectures only for 14–21 hours a week like business or accounting it is quite a lot of money to spend on just coming in to sit down, listen to your tutor, get assignments and use the University’s library. In my Course at the University of Westminster you really get your money’s worth because of all the film equipment that you can take out to do your films, you get professional editing suites which you can use 24⁄7 and also the professionals that come from the industry to share their experiences and give good advice. So if your course can offer you more than just the basics it is very worth it. And don’t be so frightened about the tuition fee rise; UK has a very generous loan system aimed at helping you get an education.
Tell us a little bit about the projects, practices you work with at the moment, why do you like/do not like it?
In the first semester we got down to the basics of making films and stories, but in very challenging ways. In the example for the first exercise we had to do a silent film only with 12 shots and a continuous flow of action. All these basic exercises really built up our knowledge of filming, editing, scriptwriting and now we proceed into the second semester where we have to do actual documentaries, Multi– camera TV shows and dramas. Also we will have our first short feature films made at the end of this year from the scripts we wrote in the first semester. I like it because you have to work a lot on pre-production and post-production not just film or directing. Sometimes you don’t get the roles that you want but then again it is always good to learn a new position.
What kind of film are you interested in? Do you familiarize yourself with any particular style, historical period of cinema?
In am interested in Dramas and human relations, the tragicomedies and absurdities of human life. It all comes from theatre. I am still developing and searching for new and original film styles. I do study the history of Cinema and there is a lot to learn from old films in terms of analysing them critically. I like the early French new wave films (1959−1965) for what they stand for, but I follow contemporary films more.
What would you suggest other young creative, considering to study film industry related courses in UK? Any tips, mistakes better not to be done?
Definitely try and go to the open day events at the Universities that you choose. Then you really get a sense of what the University is like. Also it is very good to put some research into what have the films of course that you are applying for won in film festivals. That really shows off the quality of the course. And for the courses that require a portfolio don’t get off put by that, even if you don’t have very good quality material or content you can still persuade your interviewer with your strong desire to be a film maker.
What about the area you live, does it have fascinating film scene, independent cinema institutes, etc?
I live in London and there are a lot of cinemas around as well as a lot of unorthodox ways to go and see films, you can join secret film societies where you get a short notice before a screening and you have to show up dressed thematically according to the film that will be shown. There are also rooftop cinemas and so on. The best thing of London’s film scene is the British Film Institute, where you can go and see a lot of various films from current and past periods, get to Q&A with film directors and learn a lot from them. The most fascinating film going experience for me was the London Film Festival where many international films were shown for the first time and you can learn about the upcoming talents in the world as well.
Thank you for your time, we really appreciate it!
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