Disruptive Film Education: Film Training Strategies in London

Most film students I meet tell me they decided to go to film school because they wanted to become a writer or director. They enter a higher education degree in writing or directing. Then they wonder why their skills are so incredibly unmarketable. And I ask them if they have considered a disruptive film education.

This is an area that I and Raindance have some serious experience. Firstly, I started devising the Raindance education process in 1992. In the process I decided from square one that I would only promote and develop courses that I myself would be interested in taking. And since I am a fidget, the courses would have to be entertaining as well as informative.

Not your typical film school programme

Most film school programmes have segregated strands of study. Directors are in one box, cinematographers in another, screenwriters in a third box. and so on. This is the way film education is structured. And there are advantages to this system. advantages that are rooted in the film business model of the 1930-i960’s. In this model, students are offered employment in specific roles in studio-like companies.

Traditional film schools are wonderful places to learn about filmmaking. Cinematographers will learn how light and lenses interact. Film directing students will learn about traditional industry protocol. And screenwriting students will be taught scene and character theory. This is all useful stuff.

But there is another way.

Disruptive film education

Here is the second film education model. One which originates with Raindance. And one for which I was awarded a PHd by Open University in 2009. It goes like this:

Instead of having multiple postgraduate degrees, Raindance has just one filmmaking degree. Traditional film schools put you into a box, lets say, the screenwriting box, and expect you to stay there. At Raindance you negotiate your own learning pathway. That’s why our MA award is worded as “Postgraduate Degree In Film By Negotiated Learning“. You can study what you want. When you want. There is nothing else like this.

At Raindance we recognise the film industry is undergoing fundamental changes. To accommodate these seismic changes Raindance works with each and every individual student to design a unique study programme and career pathway that will enhance the chances of a student sustaining a career in the creative industries. This is disruptive film education at work. Rather than a sage on the stage, we offer our students a ‘guide on the side’.

Each of our students has a unique and totally personal pathway. Be it documentary, directing, web series, screenwriting, virtual reality – or any other film related goal.

What should I expect from Raindance’s education programme?

Did you know that 41% of our postgraduate students achieve ‘Distinction’ – possibly the highest in the world?

And this is because students spend hours and hours with their personal mentors and advisors. Our staff are working professionals who teach in their spare time. This is what makes our film training so unique. This is why  every single graduate ends up working in the creative industries.

How does Raindance disruptive film education work?

If you buy into my belief that the film industry is rapidly changing – this might be the programme for you. If you are able to manage your own time without relying on a classroom experience, then this might be the course for you. If you are able to delve deeply and do a personal skills audit and be prepared to design a programme that allows you to develop tour strengths and overcome your weaknesses, then most likely this is the course for you.

If you want to come to Raindance to learn filmmaking. Then you will be sadly disappointed.

At Raindance we don’t teach filmmaking. We make filmmakers.

Find out more about the Raindance postgraduate film degree here. And let me know if you would like an individual one-to-one meeting to explore how this programme might be good for you and your career ambitions.



Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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