We sat down with BA (Hons) Filmmaking first-year student Hamish Galbraith to discuss everything about life at London Film Academy, from the application process to finding industry opportunities. Hamish is offering his insights and the knowledge gleaned from his first year of study, plus, everything he thinks you should know before embarking on your LFA journey.
Why did you choose LFA?
For Hamish there were two compelling reasons for choosing to study at LFA over other film schools and courses; the hands-on practical approach and the opportunity to collaborate. Hamish found having access to good quality equipment, with practical teaching, was a huge factor in his decision-making process. Now Hamish enjoys lessons spent working with industry-standard filmmaking equipment and a collaborative team effort.
It's not just being sat at desks looking at a screen, it's getting on your feet, getting your hands on the kit and making connections.
What was the application process like?
While Hamish came from an acting background, he hadn’t made many films previously and he thought he might lack the experience needed. However, Hamish’s clear interest and love for all things film shone through and the Admissions Team loved hearing about how Hamish utilised his lockdown experience by pursuing his filmmaking passion and staying creative. It highlighted his clear drive and determination and confirmed that he would be a welcome addition to the BA (Hons) Filmmaking cohort.
What advice would you give to anyone starting a BA Hons Filmmaking Course?
“I'd say, in order to overcome any challenges on the course, you just need to put your whole self into it and be as organised as possible.”
Wise words from Hamish, who as he nears the end of his first year of studies, has found organisation, note taking and engaging with his tutors is extremely important. Hamish knows that any problems or questions he may have can be answered by the LFA team and tutors or by referring to his (well-taken) notes.
What have you valued the most during your time on the course?
I love that we get to work with digital film cameras, especially the ARRI cameras. I would never get anywhere near those normally.
Whether it’s our spacious studios, Sony 4K digital projector and Cambridge Audio 7.1 Surround Sound with Subwoofer cinema, editing suites or extensive range of equipment, we take great pride in providing our students with the practical tools and skills needed to thrive in the industry.
What’s the student experience like at LFA?
An underlying theme for Hamish, throughout his first year of studying, has certainly been friendship. LFA’s collaborative approach has meant Hamish has found connections across courses, year groups and more, which has made his time here even more enjoyable.
You make friends on the course, and you make friends in other years. So, I've got to go and do shoots with people from BA courses from years before my own and you get to find out who you enjoy working with in the process.
It’s these connections and friendships that carry our students well beyond graduation, with a constant network of like-minded individuals supporting each other at every stage and position of the filmmaking journey.
What opportunities has your course provided you with?
Hamish knew that by being committed to his course, opportunities would arise, and it wasn’t long before one of his directing tutors reached out to him to discuss an exciting paid position on set.
One of my directing tutors was working on a shoot and he needed somebody just to do all the small jobs that he didn't need to think about at that time. So, he asked me because he knows from class that I'm organised, I'm on time always and I'm willing to do whatever's asked of me.
This hands-on, industry experience is invaluable and especially rewarding when it’s thanks to hard work and determination – something Hamish has in abundance.
What excites you most about starting your second year?
The promise of summer and a quieter campus is inching closer, and second year isn’t far away for Hamish and the thought of all that brings is an exciting one. For Hamish, the new school year will be a chance to do either a work placement, documentary project or dissertation, with all three bringing new and unique learning opportunities.
I’m really struggling to think about which one I want to do because all have advantages and then the final project is an eight-minute film, with a good budget. That's really exciting!
Whichever Hamish opts for, it’s sure to be another year of growth, learning and excitement, with plenty of opportunities to diversify his skill set and ready himself for graduation and life beyond LFA.
What are your plans after life at LFA?
While Hamish tries not to think too much about what life beyond LFA will look like, he knows he wants to continue to be creative and work in film.
I have an interest in acting as well as writing, but there's a drama society at the school so I can still go to that and get my drama fill. But I think I'm really learning how to work as a director and a writer, as well as all the different departments, which feels like a really good and secure basis for everything.
It was great to be able to chat with Hamish and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about life at LFA and the opportunities our BA (Hons) Filmmaking course can provide. You can watch his interview here:
We wanted to wish Hamish the best of luck with the rest of his first year and can’t wait to see what he achieves in his second.