What is networking? Why is it so important?
I remember the first day we started the MAIFB courses, our programme director, Professor Will Higbee, stressed the importance of networking to us. I had no idea what networking was at that time.
According to Google, networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common professional or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. Well, in film business, you will often come across networking in film screenings, festivals, film markets, and after-parties as well. On these occasions, the room is always filled with cinephiles, filmmakers or people working in other areas of the industry. If you’re interested in someone’s work or knowledge, it’s the chance for you to talk to them under these circumstances. Most of them would like to have this informal talk with you or exchange the information you want.
Networking is the common way people meet each other and expand their personal networks in film business. As a producer, that could be the way for you to find your investor and fund provider. Or as a film sales person, that could also be the way to find your next buyer. So as a film business student ourselves, it’s extremely important for us to know how to network with people. It’s the thing we need to face every day in our future professional career.
Where should I start?
So basically, networking is talking to a stranger in a certain environment. Sounds very scary, right? Although I love to talk to people, talking to strangers freaks me out. Especially when having English as my second language, it makes networking an even bigger challenge.
Luckily, the MAIFB programme arranges a series of courses and networking events for us to get used to this process. We had a networking dinner with MA Creativity students and some tutors during the induction, pushing us into this networking thing at the very beginning. To be honest, I was terrified confronting these many strangers at a dinner, since it was my first week in the UK and I was still getting used to the English-speaking environment. Although I’ve only met my classmates for two days, we just stuck with each other as they were the only people I was familiar with at that time. However, that was not what we were here for. We were forced to be separated and talk to the people we didn’t know. It was kind of uncomfortable for me from the beginning, but as soon as I started talking, I found it was not that hard. Everyone came from different cultural backgrounds, and some of them came from the countries I knew very little of. It was fun getting to know their stories. And it was good to know what other programmes are doing in order to have future cooperation. As for the language part, English is not the first language for most people in the room, so we were all listening to each other patiently. The native speakers also showed great support, which I really appreciated.
Later during the courses, we had industry tutors came in and taught us some useful skills in networking. Those were very practical courses to learn from. I’m glad that we have something like these to help us get the hang of networking.
Some tips for networking
As a beginner in networking, I’m going to share some personal tips that help me doing networking:
Yes, it’s scary. And it makes me nervous. But as long as you’re mentally ready to talk, you’ll tell yourself to do it. You can start with complimenting others, which will easily move onto a conversation. Don’t have too much pressure on yourself. It’s just talking, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
I had my business card ready before coming to the UK. As a student, I simply put in my course name and studying level (MA). I also included my LinkedIn and Instagram account, which display my past works.
It proves to be a useful conversation starter. I met one of my favorite directors Anthony Chen, who won Caméra d’Or with his debut feature Ilo Ilo, at a screening in London. He happened to be sitting right next to me and I decided to say hi and introduce myself. When I gave him my card, he was quite interested in my courses and asked me for some details. I met him again the other week after the screening of his new feature Wet Season. That time I was able to have a further discussion with him about his films.
Being polite to everyone is the most important thing. Good manner is always welcome and people like a good listener. It will help you give a good impression.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. That’s true. The more networking you do, the more experienced you will become. Do the research and find out who will be attending the same event as you do, then try to grab them and have this casual conversation. You’ll find yourself gradually getting it as you go.
I’m totally new and was bad at networking before coming to the UK. But with the help and support from MAIFB courses, I feel like I’m not that stressed doing networking anymore. So, I hope these tips could give you some help. Good luck with your next networking event!
Christmas – a season for celebration, relaxation and spending time with family and friends – can often seem incompatible with the demands of being a university student. With coursework deadlines looming and January exams to prepare for, finding solace during the Christmas period can be incredibly challenging. However, that’s not to say that it’s impossible. Finding a balance between your academic commitments and Christmas fun will only strengthen your ability to excel in the former and enjoy the latter guilt-free.
As someone who used to believe that spending my whole day working was the only way to excel academically; I cannot stress enough how misguided this can be. Research has shown that the secret to increased productivity is taking time off. This is because continuous time spent on-task can actually set off strain reactions, such as stress, fatigue and a negative mood. So whilst you should give yourself enough time to complete your assignments, Christmas provides the perfect excuse to prioritise some occasional down-time away from academia.
So, what to do when you’re not working? Arranging a Christmas dinner with some of your closest friends can be a great place to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re not celebrating the religious elements of the season, or don’t particularly fancy roast turkey, simply choose your own menu and location and take the opportunity to relax with your friends before term is out. You could take the afternoon off and head down to Exeter’s Christmas market, grab a coffee on campus with a coursemate, or make a weekend plan to venture out of Exeter and soak up the countryside.
There is of course a tension: whilst you can spend time with university friends during the first couple of weeks of the festive season, this can often be at the expense of keeping in touch with family and friends back home. It can sometimes seem strange that during Christmas, a traditionally family-orientated time, you’re spending half of the season hundreds of miles away from them. So why not pick up the phone and reach out to a family member or a friend from school? Ask them about their Christmas plans, share your academic anxieties, and remind them that you’re looking forward to catching up with them soon. Sometimes, a little reassurance is all it takes.
Please don’t let my suggestions swamp you. All I’m saying is that you need to balance your academic workload with some fun over the Christmas season. You’ve worked hard all term so reward yourself with some down time and you’ll feel much more refreshed when January comes.
SSLCs – I’ve got a hunch that most students at Exeter wouldn’t be able to tell you what the acronym stands for, let alone what the bodies are actually responsible for. Yet, Student-Staff Liaison Committees are one of the cornerstones to ensuring that the student experience at Exeter is continuously enhanced and improved wherever necessary.
So, who are they, and what do they actually do? Student-Staff Liaison Committees are made up of a handful of student Academic Representatives, a Subject Chair, and a discipline’s Director of Education. Meeting at least once a term, Academic Representatives are charged with putting forward praise and/or concerns from their peers about their academic experiences. The aim is simple: to reach a positive outcome for all students. Admittedly, whilst that may sound a little opaque, SSLCs work tirelessly to ensure that students’ concerns are addressed and remedied wherever possible; often by seeking clarifications on methods of assessment, suggesting improvements to specific modules, or highlighting areas in which a department could improve in its engagement with students.
To delve a little deeper, I recently sat down with Filipa Torres, a third-year International Relations student who currently serves as Subject Chair to the Politics SSLC. Initially answering “what don’t we do?!” in response to a question about what the role entails, she provided the following summary of a Subject Chair’s responsibilities.
“A Subject Chair is the contact point between the student reps, the student population as a whole, and the department. I attend meetings, write agendas, keep up with the feedback that student reps are reporting, and engage with lecturers.”
Filipa’s duties are primarily carried out during meetings of the SSLC. From my experience as an Academic Representative, these meetings are thoroughly productive and worthwhile. On chatting to Max Jablonowski, a second-year International Relations Representative, he too described the meetings in a similar fashion.
“The meetings are very chilled. We discuss any questions, the Director of Education comes along, and there’s no pressure whatsoever; you can speak whenever you like, and you won’t be limited in what you do say.”
It’s important to remember that these meetings aren’t a forum for simply expressing negativity, but instead, they provide a unique opportunity to propose creative and innovative solutions to the issues that are raised.
One example of this is the recent creation of a Peer to Peer Mentoring Scheme within the Politics Department. Having received feedback from first-year students that they feel ill-prepared for January exams, the SSLC, in conjunction with the Politics Society and various members of staff, set about recruiting volunteer second and third years to lead workshops on exam technique. The scheme will begin piloting two sessions this December. This is just one case that highlights the positive change that can arise as a result of SSLC action.
So, if you’re not convinced of the good that SSLCs do on your behalf; get involved and stand for election to one when the next cohort is recruited. Or, take it from Max, who reflects that being on an SSLC has provided him with opportunities to “meet plenty of new people, allowing you to build greater relationships with staff and students”, Filipa, who stated that a lot of the satisfaction she draws from being in her position is that “you’re representing a lot of students, and that keeps you going”, or me, in that I wholeheartedly believe that they’re the best way to go about affecting academic change at Exeter.
In the meantime, be sure to reach out to one of your Academic Representatives if you have any concerns about your academic experiences at Exeter; we’re always willing to listen.
One of the hardest things about the Christmas period is that whilst there are so many deadlines and January exams to study for, this is also the time of year with the most festivities. It seems impossible to get it right; on the one hand, staying in and studying means you are doing your best in your degree. However, on the other hand, knowing friends will be getting mulled wine from the Christmas market while you sit inside on a dark, cold evening is enough to make you lose interest in working completely. With seasonal changes in light affecting mental health and overworking meaning you can be at risk of burnout or anxiety, getting the balance right is vital.
Here are some tips which I’ve found helpful in keeping on the right track.
1. Make sure that when you are studying, you are doing it effectively, and right
Understand the way that you work best. For me, waking up at a regular time and working in the morning is easiest – it’s when I have the greatest amount of energy, clarity and focus.
2. Establish a routine at the beginning of each week
Use a weekly planner – free online with a quick google search – and decide when you are going to work, what you are going to work on, and when you are going to stop and relax.
3. Don’t be overambitious
Be realistic about what you can actually get done in a day.
4. Pomodoro your way to greater focus
Human beings are incapable of focusing for large lengths of time without breaks, so try the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 25-40 minutes and work solidly. Take 5-10 minute breaks in between these chunks and step away from your laptop, make some tea, put up some decorations or do something else you enjoy.
5. Start your assignment today!
We’ve all been there; a deadline feels like months away but before you know it there is only a week to go! Don’t be the person stuck indoors over Christmas because of deadline procrastination, get going now!
6. Eat that Frog!
I use Brian Tracey’s Eat That Frog ABCD method to prioritise my work starting with the most important, scary tasks – the ‘A’s’, things you absolutely have to get done – all the way down to the ‘D’s’, bits which you could leave until later. You tackle the most horrible things at the beginning of the day when you have the most energy, and then that spurs you on to do the others. It also means if you don’t get the D, C, or even B tasks done, there is no guilt sucking your motivation the next day, and when you stop to enjoy coffee with a friend, you aren’t stressing about work.
7. 10 minute time trick
Struggling to get started? Just put on a timer for ten minutes and tell yourself that you will work steadily for just that tiny amount of time, no matter how terrible what you achieve is. Switch your phone off, close your door and do it. Telling yourself you just have ten minutes removes all the pressure of perfectionism, and before you know it, you’ll be pressing repeat on the timer and getting stuck in.
8. Don’t overwork
No matter what you might think, as long as you are doing your best that is enough. We are only human. Don’t completely cut out downtime just to get your deadlines in. Your mental health and wellbeing comes first…
If you need support now or over the holidays, speak to your lecturers or reach out to the Wellbeing team.
Written by Evanna Kappos, studying English Literature.
The application process for Masters in International Film Business is not complicated, however, you should start a few months in advance. The good news is once you create your profile in the system it allows you to update each section at your own pace, go back and forth through the steps, and once you are satisfied and have completed it all then you can hit submit.
November – December Start filling the application form by first creating a user profile on the official website of the University. Make sure you read all the requirements. For the application process you will require these documents:
January – Application Submission: Make sure you submit your application by January as the University will take time to make their decision.
February – Acceptance Letter: Once you are notified that you are accepted in the university (which is usually one month and a half later, in most cases) you need to think about accommodation. They will also ask for the deposit fee** (usually 1500 pounds-which will be adjusted with your tuition fee later), which will secure your offer. Try and arrange the funds as soon as possible.
March – Accommodation: It is hard to find accommodation since its a short term in Exeter and longer in London. It is advisable to apply in student accommodations/ INTO (accommodation offered by the university) around March and April. June Visa: You can apply for your visa 3 months before your date of travel. Since the course starts in September, you should be able to start applying for your visa in June. The process to apply for a visa, the visa getting approved and it coming back to you will take at least 2 months.
Make sure you have enough time to carry out the visa process carefully. Read the visa requirements carefully when you apply and make sure you prepare all the necessary documents beforehand.
August – Pack: Start packing and get ready to leave! It is almost time, and by now you should start preparing all the things you want to carry from home.
**In case you are a Chevening scholar, you may be exempt from paying the deposit fee. You can request them to secure your offer and exempt you from paying it immediately.
For Chevening Scholarship Application Process:
July- September – Started application
February – First round – selected to interview
June – Conditionally selected
June – Finally awarded with the scholarship
Note: if you’re keen to apply to Chevening Scholarship, start with plenty of time and I mean give yourself enough time to do it. It’s a rigorous process, it’s long, it requires to write 4-5 essays, to answer questions wisely, so it can be definitely exhausting. Moreover, I strongly advise you that do not leave your submission to the last minute, so in any case, you experience any difficulties in uploading the documents you have time.
A dream comes true…
Suddenly there’s a day when all your effort is rewarded and you start receiving blessings. For me, it happened at 6 am on June 6th exactly when I got an email from Chevening saying “we are delighted to inform you that the selection panel was very impressed with your application and interview and have conditionally selected you for a 2018-19 Chevening Award”. I could not believe it was for real until I woke up in Exeter, UK, on September 13th. At that moment, I realised that my dream of studying in one of the best destinations on earth, United Kingdom, was becoming true. (more…)
It can be really scary and exciting at the same time, to go away from home and study in a new country. It is overwhelming to experience different cultures and people from all around the world. The MAIFB course is one such course where you would have a mix of students from different parts of the world. It helps broaden your knowledge about how people differ in different regions and parts of the world. Coming from a country like India, I made friends from the Caribbean, China, America and different parts of Europe. From my experience I can tell you that it is the most enriching experience of my life. But even before I got here, I had a lot of unanswered questions in my mind. Even though I found my way through, I wish I had known a few things before I landed in UK. So here are some tips: (more…)
I have been very lucky in my final year to be blessed with great housemates. In the beginning of the year, I’m sure many of you are concerned about how to be a good housemate to keep everyone’s living situation pleasant. Here is a snippet of my experience and tips for sharing a house at university! (more…)
初めまして、エクセター大学３年生のコナです！最近卒論書くの終わったばかりで今年の7月に卒業する予定です。科目は BA International Relations （国際関係）です。自分ごとですがこのブログでは私の三年間エクセター大学の経験を話ししたいと思っています。私は小さいころからイギリスに留学していたため、日本の学校に行ったことがなく日本語もおかしいなか、エクセター大学にいる日本人と友達できるかなーととても緊張していました。しかしながら、大学三年生になって大学生活を振り返ると、日本人の友達がたくさん作れて、とても光栄に感じています。 (more…)
European Film Market
Business cards – packed, flyers for Green Days by the River (my last film) – packed, smart dress code – packed, passport and most importantly good vibes – packed. I am as ready as I ever will be for my very first Berlinale Film Festival. I have been to festivals such as TIFF, Tribeca and LA Film Festival and found that the bigger the festival, the harder it is to network, get access to panels and see films while the smaller festivals make it easier to get access to people, and have an experience. I wanted to be sure to meet as many people as possible and learn as much about the European Film Market (EFM) and understand the role and importance of this market to the industry and for filmmakers. I made sure to book my flight to arrive on the 6th Feb so that I could get a full day in at the EFM as our accreditation as students was limited.
Walking up to the Gropius Bau I was filled with excitement to enter the EFM and any opportunity that might present itself inside. First through the door, a massive variety sign and magazines everywhere and a guy giving out screen international bags. The place was massive, buzzing with activity, I really had no idea this was happening in the world of film. I had heard of it, but it was one of those things you needed to see to understand it. I walked into the huge lobby area with thousands of companies’ signage everywhere. As a filmmaker it was really exciting to be in a space so focused on selling films. I walked past the stalls with great intrigue, picking up leaflets and sales booklets. Companies from around the world had come to sell their country as a location or try to find distributors for their films. I had never been to a place that had so many movies for sale. It was also overwhelming to think about the competition to have your film sold.
After investigating the stands for a few hours, I realized it was really only sales companies selling movies, I didn’t know why I had the perception that buyers would have stands there also. I really thought I would see HBO, Netflix, Paramount, Lionsgate etc. It was a learning experience to realize all those companies were at the festival, but they were in ninja mode and only seeing the sales companies they were interested in. They were there on a mission to purchase films that made sense to them. The movies that could be their next breakout hit. The EFM represents a meeting place for film business, both formal and informal. It is a time of the year for industry people to meet face to face. I think, I will come back to the EFM better prepared next time.
Berlinale Film Festival
Next on to the Film Festival, which attracts so much talent from producers, directors, actors and crew members. Most screenings have Q&A’s in the main competition and there are special press and market screenings that you can line up and get access to once the cinema isn’t full. A really great place for networking. Just strike up a conversation and make new film industry friends. I saw some really amazing experimental films that I don’t think I would be able to see anywhere else. I prefer to see those types of films over films that will get a theatrical release as you can catch them anytime.
Experiencing the EFM first hand is something I would highly recommend to Master’s in International Film Business Students. The knowledge gained has been perspective shifting as it allowed for a greater understanding of what happens to films that have been made or are in pre-production and how they are sold. It is a true marketplace for movies and networking. The EFM is only one aspect of the Berlinale Film Festival and totally worth spending time at, along with the rest of the festival. This event is definitely worth attending, whether your interest is watching films, networking or trying to find a sales agent or producer, you can do it all at the Berlinale. As a first-time attendee of the EFM, it is the place to be for the business of film-making. Five stars!!! Also, if you get time checkout the Berlin Zoo!!!
Ten years of my life were dedicated to practicing horseback riding. I loved the feeling of companionship that you get when you train with a horse long enough, I loved the speed, the adrenaline, I loved feeling the change of pace when you (gently) nudge him/her to start cantering instead of trotting, and certainly I loved jumping and doing an obstacle courses. My family constantly used this sport as a metaphor of what life can be like, you see your obstacle, you take your time to get ready, you face it and you overcome it. Alternatively, you take your time to get ready, you forget a detail, the horse doesn’t follow through (as horses naturally won’t jump unless you give them the incentive to do so) and you fall down. When this happens, though, you get back up –not necessarily immediately, sometimes it takes a good solid minute to get back up from a bruised ego– you quite literally shake it off and then you try again. Either way you do not give up. (more…)
I applied to the MA International Film Business course with the aim of learning more about how the cinema of my country is received in the international market and how I could contribute to making it even better. Attending the Berlinale was a dream in which I would get to meet professionals from the Indian film industry and get first hand insight on what it takes to represent the country with the largest output in terms of number of films in the world. Well, India’s presence at Berlin International Film Festival 2019 was much better than previous years but slightly underwhelming. (more…)
Even though I am somewhat of an early bird, I still have my mornings and days when I truly don’t want to get out of bed, much less get out of bed just to go to the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. However, even when I’m tired or just not feeling it, skipping breakfast is a no-go for me. Breakfast is an essential part of my morning routine and having a good one helps me feel like I’m off to the right start.
To this end I love finding the balance between something easy and quick, while also being wholesome. Thankfully this is not hard to achieve. It just requires a bit of preparation, but nothing too extreme, I promise. So here are my five to go breakfasts for when I rather spend some extra time in my bed. (more…)
It is that time of year, the time where the questions about your next step become more imminent and the pressure seems to be slightly on as the possibility to apply to a number of universities opens again. Thinking about the future, how this one decision seems to have much more weight than the others in shaping what your life will turn out to be. And to be quite honest the fact that there is a huge variety of options for “what to study?” “where to study?” “why there and not here?”, makes the whole process even more daunting. Now to that added stress factor in that you might be considering moving away from your country to study abroad.
If you are indeed thinking about doing your undergrad or your postgraduate studies abroad, I am not going to deny that it can be harder to make this decision. This is mainly because most of us cannot visit campus on open days and are essentially missing out on the one to one information and the vibe that you can get from the university during these events. As a result, we must rely heavily on the information we find online about accommodation, studies, social life, academic style: literally every aspect of what “uni life” means.
Taking this into account allow me to help you (even in the slightest) by telling you how I came to the decision of choosing Exeter. And why, even though is not technically a “drama academy”, I stand by my choice of studying theatre in a university as opposed to any other option. (more…)
I’m sitting in the train, and it suddenly hit me. “How did half of my Easter break fly by? My exams are in less than 3 weeks and my essays are due in a week!”
Being at the University of Exeter, you might’ve realised that we get pretty long Easter breaks and we often finish all our lectures and seminars beforehand. With about 5 weeks of holiday or more (depending on when your exams start), how do you organise it to get the balance of both work and down time?
This is something I’m still figuring out as I go along this Easter break but I think I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of how I probably should’ve spent the earlier weeks and how to make the best out of the remaining weeks. (more…)