The BFI Academy is a nationwide program open to young people from anywhere in the UK and from any background, the BFI Film Academy offers a real chance for talented 16-19-year-olds to be part of our future film industry.

In this weeks guest blog, BFI Academy Student and Millie Bennett reflects on the masterclass from University of Essex lecturer John Haynes on the theory and principles of film editing.


Already half way through the BFI Film Academy Course at Signals, we’ve learned some truly invaluable skills such as how to light a scene to reflect a mood with Jamie Weston, how to utilise sound equipment for the best possible recording with Jim Blanche and how to transfer scripts to the big screen with Jane Gull.

Last week we were visited by John Haynes, film lecturer at the University of Essex who talked to us about the skill of editing. Beginning with continuity editing, John showed us a variety of classic films where the 180 degree rule, 30 degree rule and shot reverse shot were all evident in order to make the film successful in terms of continuity, or in other cases, the films overlooked these ideas thus making the continuity flawed. John also talked about the French New Wave cinema where editing was used to demonstrate this idea of a fresh new start within the cinematic world, including rapid scene changes and shots that go beyond the 180 degree rule, a technique also used in 1941 film Citizen Kane – clips from which John also showed us.

His enthusiasm for what he does was extremely apparent throughout the session

Not only was John Haynes’ lecture fascinating in order to see the decisions that go into editing scenes and rules applied, it was also extremely informative and for me, someone who is hoping to do film at University next year, a great insight into a typical University lecture. His enthusiasm for what he does, especially Soviet Cinema, was extremely apparent throughout the session.

After John’s lecture, we met in our film production groups to discuss planning and production for shoot day on the 17th December. Within our separate roles, the skills that we as individuals are learning are priceless, either by refining already existing ones or learning brand new ones. For my own role as producer, I am significantly improving my organisational and communication skills through the process of creating our film. Within the next couple of weeks everyone who is a part of the BFI Film Academy course at Signals is working extremely hard in their own time to ensure that our films are a success when we screen them at Firstsite in January – production schedules, castings, scripts, storyboards, shot lists and more are ensuring that we are very busy. It is an exciting process that we are very grateful and enthusiastic to be a part of!

Millie Bennett


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"For my own role as producer, I am significantly improving my organisational and communication skills through the process of creating our film." - Millie Bennett