Early last year we covered the efforts of ajjax44 and CX3 to establish a student filmmaking organisation at their university, and thought another look at the arena might be worthwhile. Other universities are fortunate to already have television and film societies, no doubt thanks to other inspired and dedicated filmmakers like the MAFIA boys, and the National Student Television Association (NaSTA) recently had their annual conference and awards session here in the UK.
At the NaSTA conference the various student TV stations from all around the country come together to talk shop, meet industry insiders, accept awards and generally schmooze it up. Nestled in amongst them was an FXhome beta tester, Geraint 'Arktic' Abbott, as part of the LS:TV contingent from Leeds University, where he performs duties as Head Entertainment Editor, amongst other tasks.
Climbing the ladder
"We're a very new station, having only started two years ago," says Arktic, "but we’ve come on leaps and bounds this year, with all the team members putting in a huge amount of effort." Indeed, as anybody that has dabbled in the realm of student television will attest, it's an awful lot of hard work. "Everyone who signs up makes not only a small financial commitment, but also a huge personal one," he agrees.
A tough assignment it may be, but it's nevertheless an excellent way to spend your time at university (when you're not busy studying, of course), offering all kinds of opportunities. "University is a very different place to college or school," Arktic explains, "especially if you’re living away from home. Joining a TV station is a great way of getting to know lots of funky people and settling down. Also, I’m studying broadcasting and I plan on getting a job in television when I graduate - so primarily it is a way of getting much sought after experience."
As a swift way of learning the ropes and getting onto those first all-important rungs of the ladder, working for student television can be invaluable - leaving university with hours of television already under your belt can enhance a CV drastically. "Also," whispers Arktic mischievously, "there are many fit girls who work in TV, so can you blame a guy for signing up?!"
Arktic and the LS:TV crew descended upon Loughborough with the firm intention to have a good time and, hopefully, go home with several awards in their pocketses. "Last year, ls:tv performed fantastically, picking up three awards and a highly commended certificate," recalls Arktic, "so we were apprehensive of having a reputation to live up to."
The way it turned out, they needn't have worried - LS:TV romped home with six awards and two highly commended certificates, including Best Broadcaster 2005. Of course, their Best Broadcaster demo reel benefited from some AlamDV and Chromanator enhancements, always guaranteed to impress the judges!
Gathering of rascals
The remainder of the event involved the usual student debauchery as the LS:TV team celebrated their success, tripping from one Loughborough drinking hole to the next. "It was clearly a great excuse for us all to party like we’d never partied before," says Arktic. While he assures us that he'd like to tell us all about it, his memory appears to have conveniently escaped out a side door - what little he can recall is, unfortunately, unsuitable for a family forum such as FXhome.
It certainly sounds like an excellent time was had by all and their success at the awards will spur them on for the next year. "Currently, LS:TV work out of a very, very small room that used to be a cleaner's cupboard in the student's union," laments Arktic, no doubt echoing the complaints of countless student TV studio managers at universities all over the world. "We don't get much support compared to the more established student newspaper and radio station but we hope that the situation is going to change pretty soon, especially with the Best Broadcaster 2005 award under our belt!"
In the planning stages are several ambitious new projects, including one that is being co-written by Arktic himself. "One that I’m helping to write at the moment is called CHAV! - imagine a zombie film, but with chavs instead of zombies, and you’ve got CHAV!." It sounds like a perfect meld of the splatter genre and social commentary film, if you ask us. "It’ll be an all out action comedy extravaganza," says Arktic, "and a great chance to use some FXhome special effects!"
Aspiring to be this year's Shaun of the Dead, perhaps? It sounds like either classic student comedy or utter lunacy - chances are it'll be a mixture of both. Either way, our congratulations go to LS:TV on their success at NaSTA - here's to next year!
Want to get involved with student TV? Your college, university or school might already have a filmmaking society that would benefit from your skills. If not, you can always follow in the MAFIA's footsteps and set up your own group. Either way, all you need is a little talent and a lot of enthusiasm. Those awards are waiting to be won!
Original MAFIA article
At the NaSTA conference
On stage to collect awards
Filming at NaSTA
Our man on the inside