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On the 29th of February I attend talk by filmmakers Erin Cipolletti and Ryan Michael. They came to Coventry University to speak to the Media Production Students about Josephine Doe and the realities of independent filmmaking. First they spoke to us about their experiences and the struggles they have encountered, they then gave us the opportunity to ask questions and network with them.

What I learnt from them was to never wait and “just do it” (as said by Ryan Michael). He emphasised that waiting can delay the process and you will always end up waiting not actually succeeding, he suggested that you pick a date to shoot and then plan towards that date; if you have a date you will have a deadline and are more like to succeed.

They both recommended new filmmakers (like myself) to go to as many film festivals as possible as this will help get a sense of the atmosphere, a knowledge of the type of films accepted in film festivals as well as help with networking.

Erin explained that she began her career as a runner then became an intern and helped a lot on sets. She explained that the best way to progress in the film industry is to help as much as possible on sets and be the one that the “important people” on a set remember due to your helpfulness and because they can rely on you; never say no but don’t try to be over friendly with the directors and producers as they will then find you annoying and always in the way.

They also informed us that the most effective way to raise funds for a production is through grants. There are many different types of grants available such as: Female Writer Grant, Mental Heath Film Grant, Asian Filmmaker Grant, African Filmmaker Grant etc. After receiving one grant then you should go to other grant organisations and ask of they can match your previous grant.
I found their advice and experiences extremely useful as they gave personal anecdotes which made it easier to understand the situation and learn from it. I made notes on what they were saying so that I could refer back to them when creating my own productions. Furthermore, due to their advice, I am looking for film and TV productions in which I could be a runner or intern for, developing my experience and expanding my network. I have also started to research grants that I could apply for my FMP, (a short film about female foeticide) and future projects.
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Ryan Michael and  Erin Cipolletti at Coventry University
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