Studying a Film degree isn’t just sitting around watching movies and eating popcorn

It’s harder than you think

When I was first asked what I wanted to study at university, I confidently replied, “Film and Moving Image Production”. Much to my dismay, many discounted my choice claiming that it isn’t a ‘real’ degree, and that I would have no chance of getting a job as they sarcastically wished me luck with my future.

Anyone studying Film has been at the tail end of these comments for a while now. We were ridiculed for picking Film Studies at A-Level, which only escalated when it came to picking a university course. Personally coming from a film class of just four, reactions we’re used to hearing include, “what that’s actually a course here?” or, “you’re so lucky that you get to spend the day watching films!”

Many expect us to sit around and watch films all day and question why we are paying £9,000 to do so. To be honest, some may wish this were the case but it couldn’t be further from the truth.


In reality if we’re not editing in the darkest room possible then we are probably planning or organising something. Pre-production is everything and takes up all of our time. We can’t even watch something on Netflix now without somehow relating it to our current projects, the thought is always in the back of our minds. Honestly, we can’t watch Riverdale in the same light anymore.

We have to watch rogue films

Alongside the seemingly endless amount of pre-production, we also have workshops, inductions, seminars and lectures to juggle. Our lectures are based around the screening of a film, but believe me when I say this isn’t as easy as one might think. The films screened are incredible and offer us so much insight and inspiration into the genre, but they aren’t blockbusters – we don’t all gather together to watch Star Wars every week, more like films about evil ants (Phase IV, look it up).

It’s genuinely challenging

Film isn’t the hardest degree, but it is more challenging than most people think. People get the idea that because it is entertainment, it is something that can easily be done. However this industry is a really tough audience (if you’ll pardon the pun) and is ever-changing.

It’s like The Hunger Games…kinda

You could compare a Film degree The Hunger Games; there are so many stories waiting to be told by so many people but only a few succeed and make it big. This becomes most prominent when we all gather together for table readings of each of our scripts, a process that takes about two days as we all get so engulfed into each person’s characters and conflicts.

Looking around the room and seeing so many talented directors and screen writers is at first a worry, then you realise that you get to spend the next three years working with a group of incredible people and it’s amazing.

Your coursemates are always chill

Film studies students expect nothing less and take everything in their stride. Everyone is creative and open-minded whether that be in film, fashion or fine art.

People are constantly sharing their work even if it’s a film they made back in high school or their newest short film on their YouTube channel. In a sense everyone seems to be constantly working as we are all so passionate about what we do.

We’ll be the ones at the midnight screenings

Yes we might stay up until 5am to watch the Oscars live, go to the midnight screening of Rogue One or constantly rave about the films that inspire us most (La La Land I’m looking at you), but that doesn’t make our degree inferior. You do science, we do Scorsese – and we couldn’t be happier.

So the reality of doing a film degree is a lot harder than you might think but it is so worth it, you meet the most amazing people and pursue your true passion even if it does result in a skeptic or two.

Roll credits.

University of East Anglia