This is the second in Folio’s three-part series Welcome to the pARTy, where we ask upper-year arts and design students to share their experiences with the incoming class. Read part one here.
Starting university can be daunting. As an arts student, you may be faced with juggling new friendships, foreign technology, and unfamiliar skills. Either way, these experiences are the first steps to becoming more confident in your work and in yourself.
Lori Atik, a third-year film studies student, shares her first year experiences below and welcomes you to the pARTy.
What’s something you wish you knew about your program going into first year?
I wish I knew to keep reminding myself that not everything I do is going to be perfect and not to get discouraged so easily.
Why did you decide to go into film studies?
I enjoy film and honestly I wasn’t expecting to get accepted. But when I did I thought, if they see something, then there must be something there. I got excited and I knew that I always wanted to do something involving art and film is another medium of art.
In high school I did photography and I really enjoyed that. I used the darkroom and developed pictures, and throughout my life I was always the kid in my family who would videotape stuff and then edit it together and make silly videos.
What were your favourite classes and why?
Not a lot of people liked this course, but it’s called Visual Studies and there’s a lot of measuring involved. This is a course where we had to actually draw and I think it’s more for people who like scenography and maybe want to go into art direction. I really enjoyed that course actually because I think I want to go into art production.
What were some of the projects you did in that class?
We had to make a maquette. We had to make something out of cardboard and basically use recycled materials of any kind and create a sort of set for something of our choice. So, I built a house on a hill with some cardboard and other random recyclable objects.
Another thing we did was something with film noir. We chose pictures from famous movies from the film noir time period. We traced them so they were so in detail, they looked like the actual photograph. It wasn’t perfect because I’d never done that before, but it was pretty cool.
What were your least favourite classes?
I think that would have to be Film Technology because I don’t think I ever want to be a cameraperson. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but maybe it was one of the harder ones to pay attention in. There’s a lot of terminology there and stuff you need to know about voltage, plugging stuff in, and memory cards. It’s all important information, but for me I wasn’t as interested.
Did the first year of the program help open you up to those different areas that you might not have known?
Yeah, first year was really good in getting a taste of everything that the film world does offer. But even after first year, like for me, I was a little confused about what I wanted to do. And second year I think was one of the harder years, but after I completed that, I realised that I wanted to go in the art direction route.
Everyone finds what they want to do in their own time, so they shouldn’t worry if they don’t find it at first.
What building/room did you do most of your work in?
All of my work was done here in the School of Image Arts building. Every single film class I had was here.
Are there rooms where you could just work on projects?
We have the lounge in the lobby and there’s also the pit downstairs by where the cage is, where you can rent all of your equipment. Most students hang out there and do their work.
In first year you use film, so there are the film cutting rooms. Now they put a few of those machines in the pit too, so you can use that space.
I do believe on the second level where the photography students are, there’s a lab there with tons of computers, so if there’s no class in there you can use that too.
Where’s your go-to place to buy supplies?
Mostly, I’ve gone to the cage. The cage has a nice stock of supplies. You can buy Kodak film there and we give it to a lab upstairs on the third floor where they develop all the film for first year.
You have to pay for it, but sometimes we had a free roll of film given to us because we’re students.
If you can’t get it from here, there’s a Downtown Camera near and there’s another photo store (Aden Camera) down on Yonge Street where we needed to buy a light meter in first year, so we got that kind of stuff from outside.
Do you have any other words of advice for first years coming in?
Don’t give up. There are points in this program where you feel like nothing is working, but you have to push through it and keep going.
Don’t be intimidated by other people because they’re here to learn just like you are. There’s that saying, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” and I think you have to keep that thought in your head so you don’t feel intimidated and you’re able to speak up when you have something to say.
Photos courtesy of Isabelle Docto