What It Takes to Make a Film

My Favorite Course in Film and New Media

Name: Ivy Akinyi
Country: Kenya
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Film and new media
Course: Intermediate Filmmaking Course

The course is about writing, producing, directing and editing short narrative films. It is pretty much a package of all the skills required to make a short film, with more emphasis on direction and knowing exactly what language your film speaks.

I was looking for a place to grow, not just in terms of the craft but also in intrapersonal skills.

Ivy Akinyi, Class of 2020

Why This Course

Although the class is required for my major and for various other reasons, I was genuinely interested in it because of Professor Wendy Bednarz's reputation as one with wonderful transformative eyes in film.

I was looking for a place to grow, not just in terms of the craft but also in intrapersonal skills, and taking this class has done exactly that for me. I still have a long way to go but I am more aware of myself as a film student because of the class.

A Typical Day in This Class

We always start off with news — anything that was going on in the world, and topics we cared about that could find itself in the stories we write.

Then, we move on to the tasks at hand. Often, it would be the type of film we were to make that week. For example, if we were doing a short film that paid close attention to sensory experiences, an explanation of what this meant and key examples from films would be shown.

We watched short clips of different films, related them to the objectives, broke down the different elements of production such as light and sound that helped to portray the theme, and discussed how we could involve them in our own films.

After, we would workshop the screenplays for the films and give feedback to each other on what was working or what to look out for while shooting. 

Scenes from an editing suite.

What I Loved About The Class

I really liked the workshops for the screenplays we wrote and for the films we made. But more so, I loved the exchange edits which involved taking someone else’s work and re-editing it to tell a different narrative, or the same narrative but in a new perspective.

It was the most fascinating experience because with the same footage, we managed to tell the same stories with very different approaches.

Professor Bednarz is a supportive and an understanding professor. Her words of encouragement, "stay strong" is stuck with me. 

Tips On Navigating What Major or Course to Take

  1. Think about what you are passionate about, and which classes support that.
  2. You might see yourself being an engineer or a visual artist, but this is likely to change over time. Time will help to narrow things based on what your goal is, so explore the opportunities.
  3. Reaching out is very important. If you’re confused or torn between decisions, reach out to professors, counsellors, friends, and family. They can help you to see things clearly and from different perspectives.

Why NYU Abu Dhabi?

One word— resources. NYUAD has immense resources that most colleges do not have. The resources range from faculty, equipment, travel opportunities, services for self development, career development, health, leadership, community engagement, and more.

Our small campus also meant the relationships between staff, faculty and the student body are more personalized, which is fundamental to me because that is the best way for me to learn. Everyone knows everyone and that makes it a community despite the incredible diversity.