Brian Morris is a Senior Lecturer in The School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He teaches in the Media program and his research interests include city identities, urban cultures and television.
Final year RMIT Bachelor of Communication Media students recently held two ‘Future Media’ events. The purpose of these was to showcase research and media production undertaken for their final degree course (Media 6). Students worked in groups throughout the semester to analyse an aspect of the current media industries and then produced a related media object that embodied a ‘what if?’ proposition about the future. Topics included the future of cinema, video on demand, big data, freelance media workers, podcasting, the analogue revival, youtube careers, digital identity, children and the media, and future video technologies. Course Coordinator Dr Brian Morris explained that ‘the course gives students training in researching where media industries might broadly go next, or at least what key challenges they face now and this assists them in the ongoing process of figuring out individual career trajectories as well as exploring the broader social implications of ongoing technological change’.
Staff and students in the BComm Media program have been making use of some of the exciting new spaces in the Swanston Street Media Precinct that is a feature of RMIT’New Academic Street Project. New event spaces, classrooms and studios have been coming online since mid-2017 and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Media portal space – end of semester studio celebration
Graduate, staff and student work is featured in this year’s St Kilda Film Festival, which highlights the top 100 short films in Australia.
The festival is now an Academy Awards qualifying event, with award-winning films from the festival eligible for consideration in the Short Film Awards and Documentary Short sections of the Oscars.
RMIT is a proud sponsor of the annual festival, providing the Under The Radar Best Youth Film award.
A number of RMIT graduates, a staff member and a current student have had films accepted in 2017.
Films by Bachelor of Communication (Media) graduates showing at this year’s festival include Happy (Stacey Kwijas), Tinseltown (Corrie Chen), Fim Creswick (Emma Haarburger, who also produced two music videos), and Reading the Wind (Adam Ricco).
Firus describes his film A Prickly Affair as a short character-driven documentary focusing on the themes of environment, the vitality of age and Melbourne’s thriving artisanal culture.
He said the most valuable parts of studying at RMIT are the contacts and practical opportunities available to students.
“For example, last year, in my first year of university, I received an internship opportunity through RMIT for the advertising company CHE Proximity in South Yarra,” he said.
“It was there where I met many media professionals who offered advice on my practice.”
Firus wants to use his degree to acquire a position in video advertising with a view to transitioning to a motion picture or commercial documentary director.
Program Manager Rachel Wilson said it was important to acknowledge how unusual and special it is that a film made during a students first year is accepted into such a major festival.
“We are all extremely impressed with Michael’s motivation and dedication to exploring the many opportunities in the field,” she said.
Staff member Ashley Perry, a lecturer in the Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) and a graduate of the Bachelor of Communication – Media directed Police Officer TAKAGI which was also selected for the festival.
The St Kilda Film Festival runs from May 18 to 27, 2017 at the Palais Theatre and the St Kilda Town Hall.
Interactive documentaries by a group of RMIT Media program undergraduate students have been selected to screen by Maroondah City Council’s ArtSpace.
The works are part of the ANZAC: through the eyes of young people exhibition supported by the Department of Veteran Affairs, Anzac Centenary fund.
RMIT lecturer and studio lead Dr Seth Keen worked with ArtSpace curator Lisa Byrne and RMIT students on remixes of a documentary made by the Walkley Award winning filmmaker, Andy Drewitt, on a 2016 youth theatre production, ‘Carrying Home’.
“The partnership with ArtSpace happened when I saw the opportunity for students to work at a professional level with a filmmaker, theatre director and curator,” he said.
“This studio was a challenge in regards to facilitating the students to work with the complex real-world technical and creative constraints of the exhibition brief.”
Byrne said the collaboration was about creating a voice for ANZAC through an intergenerational engagement with some stories that had their origin in Maroondah.
“The students provided more specific engagement with this documentary material through topics such as loss, trauma, women, memory and remembrance,” she said.
“The resulting works that were chosen for the show reflected a thoughtful and engaged consideration of what it was like, particularly for women left at home and the issues they faced.”
The students sourced and added extra material to support their ideas within the films to tell multilinear stories around ANZAC, producing a contemporary, youthful engagement and voice on ANZAC.
RMIT student Eloise Large in the Bachelor of Communication (Media) is one of the producers of a selected interactive documentary, and joined City Councillor, Mike Symon, and theatre director Sharryn Mullens as a guest speaker at the launch of the exhibition.
“We, as a collective, were given an opportunity to produce a visual art piece that represented what ANZAC meant to us,” she said.
“For my team, the outcome was unexpected in relation to producing a perspective on trauma, through the use of frame-by-frame animation.
“In our studio, there was a wide variety of perspectives created on ANZAC, and our project is just a small portion of the amazing work completed in our studio.”
Maroondah Mayor Mike Symon said this unique ANZAC exhibition is a refreshing, contemporary engagement with an important part of Australia’s history.
“The collaborative creative process of this exhibition provided RMIT students with the ability to reflect on the emotions of people living during World War One,” Councillor Symon said.
The themes present a contemporary engagement with some of the prominent people of World War One that have a significant legacy in the City of Maroondah.
The ANZAC exhibition runs until Sunday 21 May at ArtSpace Realm, 175 Maroondah Highway Ringwood.
Tech company Intel has extended its San Francisco production internship program to students in Australia for the first time.
Andy McCallum, a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Communication (Media), spent September to December 2016 in a paid internship from Intel, which also covered his housing costs.
Andy was selected for the Intel Production Corps (IPC) program in his final year of study in 2016.
The partnership with Intel and universities from Australia (RMIT and UTS), the UK and the US, is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students in relevant disciplines.
In the program, students work in teams for the media production division of Intel’s in-house advertising agency, Agency Inside, in roles such as producer and editor, and in areas as diverse as animation/motion/VFX and sound design.
Yogiraj Graham, Director of Production, Intel Global Production Labs, said the goal of the IPC program is to integrate students into the production workflow, so they can really experience the pace and process of agency life.
“We of course take time to explain and educate the team, but we also have high expectations of them,” he said.
“Andy came in with some background in short-form documentary storytelling that I think he was able to leverage very successfully, and, coupled with his optimistic attitude and generally flexible nature, he flourished here.
“During his time with us, Andy and the rest of our Fall IPC team worked on a couple of projects by themselves, with supervision, but also had a chance to shadow or contribute to a variety of projects that Intel Global Production Labs created.”
McCallum said he felt incredibly lucky to have worked for such fresh and exciting company in the tech capital of the world, San Francisco.
“I think more than anything it is important to stress that we were given real projects with real budgets and deadlines to deliver on – we weren’t simply given menial tasks,” he said.
“Feeling the team of interns grow and mature into our roles throughout the program was one of the more rewarding aspects of the experience – the confidence and conviction of our production team grew leaps and bounds over the course of three months.
“We got to experience and play with all sorts of gadgets – VR, drones, depth perception cameras … it was really cool to experience day-to-day life in such a cutting-edge company!”
RMIT’s Codesign studio with Lentara UnitingCare responds to social issues they face and has also led to the ongoing employment of two graduates and one third-year student.
The Lentara Codesign studio is a cross-disciplinary collaboration in the School of Media and Communication with an agency of one of the largest community service based not-for-profit organisations in Australia.
Lentara UnitingCare is at the forefront of social innovation, facilitating a wide range of services, including asylum seeker housing, emergency relief programs and family services.
Lecturer Dr Seth Keen, who leads the studio with Dr Neal Haslem, said the partnership between Lentara UnitingCare and RMIT Communication Design and Media students was established in 2016 to directly facilitate the development of social innovation and entrepreneurship through codesign, responding to the social issues faced daily by this organisation.
“Last year, students developed creative and digital responses to a range of Lentara projects, including their annual Winter Appeal, Asylum Seeker Housing campaign, Men’s Shed, a Shower Bus for the homeless, and developing store identity branding for their recycled clothing initiative,” he said.
Graduate Bryce Riddle is working as a Digital, Print and Communications Assistant within Lentara’s media and communications department, undertaking a range of creative and strategic tasks, including digital content development, video creation, social media management, web updates and news writing.
“It all began through participation in the RMIT collaborative studio in 2016, where the students had executed some fantastic projects that Lentara didn’t want to let go to waste, so they decided that they wanted to hire one of the students to continue the work and implement it,” Riddle said.
“Three of us interviewed, and I guess we all brought different skill-sets that could assist Lentara, so they brought us all on board!
“That was initially a 12 week internship, and we’ve gone on to become members of the team, which has been a wonderful opportunity and great transition from university life into the professional world.”
Keen said it has been amazing to watch students in the studio last year return with their Lentara manager as employed graduates and present to the studio, and work with students on 2017 projects as guides and mentors.
“I could not have hoped for a better outcome in regards to the integration of scholarship with industry practices,” he said.
Gemma Halloran, who is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator of Lentara said that as an organization they broke new ground for their agency in 2016 by collaborating with RMIT and furthered this with the placement of three students in paid internships at Lentara.
“The quality of the work that the RMIT studio developed and the high standard of career readiness in each of the internships has led to them becoming permanent assets in the Lentara marketing and communications team,” she said.
“It is wonderful that they will now have a chance to reflect on the work in the 2017 studio collaboration, to provide insight and to support their RMIT peers to work through the real world design problems we as an organization face. “
This year in the collaborative studio, the students will be delving into a broad range of projects needing digital communication strategies, designing print and media campaigns, and developing identity and network strategies.
Riddle said that together with his fellow Lentara staff, he will be assisting the RMIT groups and trying to provide extra insight to help them reach further with their projects and goals.
“Since I experienced a similar journey last year, I have an understanding of the thought processes required to tackle the issues presented and additionally have inside knowledge on Lentara and its services,” he said.
RMIT students had a chance to work nad/or observe behind the scenes through placements in the new ABC drama Newton’s Law.
Students in the School of Media and Communication had an exciting work integrated learning opportunity on the set of the eight-part drama series produced by Every Cloud Productions in association with the ABC, Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
Created by the team behind Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries,Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, Newton’s Law stars Claudia Carvan as a suburban solicitor who returns to the Bar.
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Co-producer Anna Molyneaux and Development Manager Katherine Fry said Every Cloud Productions is keen to support the development of creative talent, particularly those based in Victoria, by offering students access to a hands-on experience in departments relevant to their studies.
“Maggie worked with our production manager both in the office and on set, observing and assisting in the many practical areas that keep a production ticking, from attending casting and production meetings to assisting with the daily administration that is essential throughout the production process,” co-producer Anna Molyneaux said.
Professor Lisa French, Deputy Dean (Media), said Every Cloud Productions is leading the industry in efforts to redress the gender imbalance; the company has more women than men in key roles and actively recruits women.
“This is unusual in the film and television industry where women are generally the minority across most roles,” French said.
Some scenes were shot at RMIT’s city campus in the former Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, giving media students on campus the opportunity to observe first-hand prime Australian television drama being shot literally next door to their classrooms.