Students from the Directing, Producing, Cinematography and Production Design faculties have completed work on a TV series project — an annual mandatory training task. All four videos created by students of the Moscow Film School for the TV series "Obsessives" as part of a joint project for the production company "AVK production," were accepted by the client and used during the presentation of the series to the TV channel "TV-3." Plus one of the students — Alexei Smirnov — became a director-intern on one of the company's projects.
"The proposal to enagage with students on a collaborative project came from the School. This was somewhat unexpected, but very interesting," says the producer of "AVK production", Elena Kotunova. "We wondered how young directors might interpret our ideas. Coincidentally, at the time when it was suggested, we had started development of the original series in the genre of mystery-thriller. And we decided that the joint collaboration would allow us to better understand the genre and try different directorial approaches to the material. We offered the students the chance to produce a teaser for the series "Obsessives." The result exceeded all expectations!"
During their studies, Moscow Film School students learn how to create both self-directed, and "client-dictated" projects that involve working in a particular format on a brief for a client. The aim of such an approach is to provide students with something that provides learning conditions that approximate those in the real industry. The educational goal is for students to learn the specifics of the production of multi-episode television series. Students of other faculties such as sound engineers, editors, actors, makeup artist and students of the school of computer technologies — Scream School — also take part in these projects.
"Working with the industry briefs is one of the unique advantages of the educational system at MFS" says the Moscow Film School director, Ekaterina Cherkes-zade
Students not only develop their own stories, but get the opportunity to work in teams with real clients —film companies and production studios, mastering the full cycle of production of content for a given format in accordance with the requirements of the industry. Apart from the vast experience and useful connections gained, students have the opportunity to add to their portfolio of projects, which are intended to be launched on air.
"First of all, the students involved in such projects learn quickly to come up with creative production solutions" adds Oleg Strom, curator of the Directing course, who oversaw the work of students on the teaser project. Working to a series schedule requires a high level of professionalism, and therefore stimulates the continuous improvement of students' previously acquired skills, and it does not stop there. Overall, the School's students pleased clients with their cohesion and readiness for mutual cooperation. Cinema or TV production is a collective process and with MFS's students, I see a complete understanding of this fact. Their strengths are their ability to listen, analyse and benefit from their mentors' experience to achieve their goals. Having said this, they still lack the ability to communicate their problems to team members and to work effectively with each member of the group, but this should be something achieved in the future, due to an accumulation of professional and personal experience."
Students took part in the full production cycle: a contest of director's interpretations was held, actors were cast, and the concept was outlined to the client, plus colour and lighting solutions were found. Pre-production and casting took about two months. The teasers were shot with the participation of well known actors such as Svetlana Ustinova, Vilma Kutavichyute, Evgeny Chirkov, Ivan Kolesnikov and others. In winter, the shoots took place, each scene of which required the construction of complex scenes, using mystical, fantasy colours. Post-production was carried out within walls of the School, using its resource base and the efforts of students. The client was completely satisfied with the outcomes.
"We are very happy with the result!" says Elena Kotunova "We saw 4 unique versions of our teaser. Since each project had its own creative approach, we decided to use all the videos in the presentation. If the series that the students worked on teasers for is realised, and goes into production, then we will certainly include many of them in our crews. The main thing that we emphasised to the students was the preservation of the integrity of production ideas. The students were attentive to our comments, and at the same time, if they did not agree with them, defended their point of view. We did not have to explain to novice filmmakers simple truths. They possessed an understanding of all the basics tenets of filmmaking, and we communicated with them as equals. "