CCA Previews ’21: Film Society

By Chu Sida (21A01A), Quartermaster, Alyssa Khoo Wen Yan (21S03H), Treasurer, Loke Sun Yi (21A01B), Vice-Chairperson, and Chiang Yee Ting Isabelle (21A13A), Chairperson

We’re not sure if you know this yet, but you’re actually a wizard. The camera is your wand: powerful, precious, and full of light. Your spells? Film techniques, everything from colour theory to editing tricks. Your Professors of the Arts, calmly waiting for you nervous first-years to step hesitantly across our protective threshold, are our lovely film teachers Ms Joanna Ng and Ms Audrey Tan. Not to mention, we, your excited seniors, anxious to see you arrive from across the moat in your little boats, fascinated by just about everything. Yes, you’ve finally received it: this is your official invitation letter to Hogwarts.

All this is simply to say: film is magic. Think about the first time you watched a (good) film at the theatre—there is no understating that incredible, surreal experience, watching an engineered whirlwind of light and sound that simply tears through the screen and pulls you into it, leaving you floored when you’re flung back into reality by the end of it. If you’ve ever witnessed the absolute miracle that is a film, at some point you’ve probably thought to yourself: how is that possible? What does it take? And you’ve possibly even asked: could I do it?

Our answer? Join Film Society, and let’s find out together.

Film Society, also referred to fondly as Film Soc, is a cosy community of film lovers who are passionate about the craft. Guided by industry professionals and experienced teachers, we are exposed to everything that could help us learn what makes a good film and guide us in creating one from scratch ourselves. This means learning, both theoretical and practical. First, we learn how to use abstract tools such as colours, shapes and symmetry in scenes by analysing classic films. With these tools, we can then better understand the film with all its intricacies and detail. Traditionally, each Film Soc member then gains real-life, hands-on experience by working on multiple projects and final Thesis films together (the latter are displayed at the annual Film Showcase).

Altogether, each Film Soc member is steadily equipped over months of sessions with the skills required to truly appreciate film on a deeper level and engage in meaningful discussion on more thought-provoking pieces. To top it all off, most Film Soc batches attend local film events together (under the guise of ‘research’)! Indeed, the magical journey to becoming a film-maker is tough, but fulfilling. And here at Hogwarts Film Soc, we provide you with all the resources you need to make it just a little easier. 

Admittedly, CCA sessions this year have looked very different. What we’ve described above applies to the generations of students before us who have had the privilege of enjoying the full breadth and depth of experience Film Soc has to offer. Sadly, due to Covid-19 this year, our batch has only had online sessions, focusing mostly on theory and projects that can be carried out virtually—and truthfully, we’re not sure whether we’ll be able to revert back to normal next year, or if this will be our ‘new normal’. But as much as our batch’s Film experience has been cut down due to Covid-19, we have been able to make the best of our situation. For example, we are working on individual short documentaries instead of a joint batch project, which has also allowed us to pick up skills on our own. Though plans for next year are still dependent largely on how the Covid-19 situation in Singapore continues to evolve, we’re optimistic! 

Anyway, given how complex and dynamic and creative film is as an art, it has always been about constant reinvention and adaptation, and we look forward to learning side by side with our juniors as we move into 2021.

To end off, creating a film has countless aspects to it—writing scripts, casting and finding locations, adjusting cameras, handling lighting and audio equipment, directing, and editing are some of the basic skills you’ll be learning to pick up and polish. If all this sounds appealing, or even vaguely interesting to you, look no further! While there may be quite a number of projects to handle, which will require a certain level of dedication, the sense of achievement and fulfilment upon completing them is hard to over-exaggerate. Don’t be intimidated if these skills sound new and unfamiliar to you—many of our members step in completely new to filmmaking. Yet, our teachers, instructors, and seniors have guided batches and batches through this journey. As long as you have an interest in and passion for film, and are willing to stay open-minded, curious, and dedicated, our Hogwarts is ready to welcome you with open arms!

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