When trying to get ahead in any industry, there is nearly always the debate about whether education is worth more than hands on experience, or vice versa.
After looking at all of the possible routes to become the best producer I can, a compromise answer has been reached. I will apply for every piece of experience I can find, while also applying for a position on a Masters.
In the UK, there are only 3 producing Masters courses that are Skillet and UK Film Council accredited, Bournemouth, Royal Holloway and the National Film and Television School (NFTS). NFTS has a two year Masters, where as the other two courses are a more traditional one year set up. This is not the only major difference, with NFTS running on calender years (Jan to Dec) rather than academic years (Sept to Aug)
Royal Holloway has its producing building based on the corner on Bedford Square, behind Tottenham Court Road in the centre of London. This gives it fantastic access to Soho, the centre of UK film and TV producing. There were no open days sceduled for the Producing for Film and Television course, so I e-mailed to see if I could visit the building. A week later I found myself sat opposite Gillian Gordon, the head of the course, discussing the course structure and film making in general.
Another week after that, I managed to get myself on an official open day at Bournemouth. Despite its great reputation and knowledgable staff, I have been discouraged by how far it seems from London and the fact that the head of the course admitted that the structure concentrates more on television and digital production.
NFTS has yet to publish an open day date for its producing course, although a massive discouragement has been the £7500 a year fees!
At present, a formal application has now been made to Royal Holloway for September 2009 entry, and an application to NFTS will be prepared and submitted in March/ April for a January 2010 start.
On the experience side of things, various website, such as Mandy.com have provided places to network and try to offer services as a runner or assistant on music videos, short films and even low budget features. We will have to see what this yields for someone such as myself with limited experience.
Networking through sites such as Facebook has also introduced me to friends of friends with aspirations of working in film. From this I have been working on the idea of creating a crew all willing to work for free for mutual experience and their name on the credits.
At present, a short play has caught my eye that was written by someone I know, so I will be asking whether they would grant me the rights to create a screenplay based on their work.