ICTheatre x Screen and Film School Collaboration – Short Film ‘Jack’
There are so many wonderful benefits from studying at ICTheatre – the ethos, incredible faculty and forward-thinking curriculum to name just a few. But it’s also worth noting that ICTheatre has some fantastic connections too. Degrees from ICTheatre are awarded through BIMM, meaning students have the opportunity to collaborate with both BIMM and Screen and Film School students over their three years.
I recently got to make the most of these connections, as I took part in the creation of Short Film ‘Jack’, created by Screen and Film School third-year students. I thought I’d tell you all about it, so you can find out more about how these connections benefit us, both during and after our training!
The collaboration and partnership of ICTheatre, BIMM and Screen and Film School bring ICTheatre training professionals a variety of opportunities throughout their three years of study. Not only can they gain experience working professionally for or with other creatives in environments outside of the studio, but they also get to collaborate with them on project ideas, whether that be writing a song or creating a short film.
I found this especially beneficial when it came to experience in acting for screen. I took part in several workshops collaborating with filmmakers, reading sample scripts and bringing them to life for development and acting in short films. These were my first experiences of working in front of a camera rather than on stage, introducing me to a whole new style of working and allowing me to develop my screen acting skills.
In my last term at ICTheatre, we again collaborated with Screen and Film school students, looking at creating work virtually via Zoom. I completed my training in 2020, meaning Zoom was a big part of our learning that term, and we worked with Screen and Film School to see how remote filmmaking could work in our new and strange climate.
This workshop is where I met screenwriter Will P Maskell, who later asked me to be a part of his third-year final project ‘Jack’; a family-friendly short film about a pumpkin-headed creature trying to make a friend.
This was my first time working on a film set outside of Screen and Film School workshops. We filmed on location in a wooded area and the shoot took three days, meaning I had to consider things such as continuity and scheduling as well as acting. There was still an element of ‘learning on the job’ as with my other Screen and Film School projects, but in a more professional and focused environment.
The crew were very supportive and were happy to help me out if I was uncertain about something, and in turn, I could help Will bring his direction to life. Screen acting is a completely different discipline to stage acting, and it was good to explore the craft more and put my skills to the test in a professional environment.
The experience has helped me feel more at ease with screen acting as a whole, and I feel prepared to take on more professional jobs after this experience.
We know that collaborating with Screen and Film School is a great learning tool for our training professionals – but what about those at Screen and Film School? I sat down with the Director/Writer Will P Maskell to ask him about the experience.
What projects have you worked on with ICTheatre students during your three years of training?
“I’ve worked with ICTheatre students on a number of different projects over my three years. Maybe three or four short films and several workshops as well.
In second year when I started writing, once we were all getting to the final stretch with our scripts, we had actors come in to do read-throughs for us, and that was really fun”
How did working with ICTheatre help you in your studies?
“The workshops were really useful. I’d just started writing, and didn’t have a proper grasp on it all yet so having an actor read through your script helps you notice everything. If it’s not the best, you’ll notice, and if it’s good, you’ll notice.
You can see how the dialogue flows, if anything needs work, and if a character is out of place. It just brings it all to light, taking it from the page to real life.
“It’s really good working with student actors because, like us, they aren’t always 100% sure what they’re doing, so it’s a learning process on both parts”
“If I mess up it’s okay, because they’re also learning. Everyone needs to go through the process of making mistakes, and it’s nice to do that when you know you’re not working with a professional who is going to get annoyed. So it just makes everything feel a lot safer, and therefore easier to relax into the learning experience.”
How did you choose your two cast members for ‘Jack’?
“I chose Jess to play Jack because I’ve known her for a long time, so I’ve seen her act in various places. One of her past performances that stood out to me was a Christmas show where she played a ghost, I thought the way she ran around the stage with a big drape over her head was hilarious, it was also perfect for Jack because his character is all movement-based, so I felt really confident that she could do it.
“I chose Charley because we did a Zoom workshop together and I saw how well she adapted to the situation.
With it being over zoom, we had to get her to set up shots as well as perform, and she just went along with it and adapted well. Her performance was good which of course helped.
Because of COVID we had to skip the rehearsals, so we needed someone we could trust to get the job done. Aside from some teaser trailer shots she filmed to get into character a bit more, we just had to go for it, and thanks to that workshop we knew she was right for the job.”
How was the process of writing ‘Jack’ helped by collaborating with ICTheatre students?
“For us, the biggest help was the teaser shots Charley recorded for us while we couldn’t film properly. Seeing the characters actually moving about, or even just seeing an image of how they’re going to look on screen helps with the writing process.
“When you’re writing there’s nothing to look at, it’s just words on the page that you have to bring into being. Seeing it come alive makes you realise where the depth of your characters are”
“Plus it was a confidence boost for us because we knew how the actors performed on camera and that the action would work. The actors had some kind of rehearsal, so we could feel more relaxed when it finally got to filming.”
Sounds like Will found our collaborations pretty helpful as well! ICTheatre and Screen and Film School have a great partnership going, which has already benefited so many students.
Not only will the Brighton collaborations keep going strong, Screen and Film School are opening a new campus in Manchester, meaning our Manchester students can also start to benefit from this partnership.
Thank you to Will and the crew for letting me be a part of ‘Jack’, it was a great learning experience, but it was also a lot of fun!
You can find more information about Will from his website here, and follow him on Instagram @thewillto_create. Plus, if you want updates as to when you can see yours truly in a film, you can find information on the film Instagram account, @jack_gradfilm.
Think featuring in a short film while you train at ICTheatre sounds like fun? Find out more at one of our next open days. Get ready to join the ICTheatre Movement!
Author: Charley Morgan, ICTheatre Graduate 2020