- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Alex Lynchehaun
The point of OUFF is to get as many people making films as possible. Film should be a big thing in Oxford; all over the internet everyone’s got cheap equipment and people are just going out and making stuff. It should be the same here. OUFF’s not a production company, it’s a centre for people to learn the skills and then go out and make stuff.
We run filmmaking workshops; it’s all based around DSLR filmmaking because they’re so cheap. A £2,000 camera 5 years ago is as good as a £500 camera today. The point is to get people confident and motivated enough to make films. In the past it was hard to make even a crap film, you needed reels and reels of film, whereas now you just need a hard drive.
At the workshops we have a guy called David Tolly who knows a lot about cameras and lighting and he comes in; sometimes it’s hands on and we shoot a very basic scene with different camera moves and lighting techniques. Other times we just watch short films and dissect the technical aspects of them, working out why certain things work and what choices have been made.
We had a festival last term and there were a lot of talks. We had a guy called Joe Bateman who heads up the Soho rushes short film festival. He came and talked about how the internet’s expansion has changed everything. Filmmakers need to get on it. The head of production at the BBC gave a talk in Oxford earlier this year and said that it’s very hard for a big and slow moving organisation like the BBC to adapt to changes. We’re small and fairly new and so it’s much easier to adapt and get involved with social networks and youtube.
We also had Ross Howieson give a talk; he directed a film called What Would Ridley Do? There’s a clip of Ridley Scott, it may be on youtube somewhere, saying that if you want to make a film then you’ve got no excuse not to just go out and do it. This film is a comedy about a group of filmmakers who think their screenplay has been bought by a big production company but instead they’ve just been given money to make a film themselves, so they have to go out and try to learn how to be filmmakers. All Ross Howieson had was a DSLR camera, himself and a group of three actors and over a few weekends and one week in Scotland they just went and made a feature film.
A guy who used to be vice-president of OUFF, Ashish Ravinran, is actually going to shoot a feature film after his finals, in a couple of weeks at the end of term. I think it’s going to be largely improvised, although it’ll be worked out a little bit beforehand. Then he’s off to film school in California. Michael Hoffman, who directed The Last Station, founded OUFF and directed a film with Hugh Grant when he was here.
When I finish my degree I don’t want to go and do psychology. I’ve become kind of obsessed by guys on youtube who just make short films and sketches and the advertising on their videos and the T-shirts they sell is their livelihood. The plan is to hopefully spend this summer kind of testing the water.