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2021 BUFTA winner Ryan Thwaite’s take on Bond University and tips for new film and television students

This year we were thrilled to welcome 2021 Bond University Film & Television Awards (BUFTA) winner Ryan Thwaite to campus for his first semester at Bond. We followed up with Ryan to find out all about his journey to starting university and undertaking a Bachelor of Film and Television.

With his first semester already behind him, Ryan provides insight into his accelerated degree and the excitement of starting university for the first time. From the fun of Orientation Week, to diving into new subjects and learning how to use film technology, Ryan explores what it is that makes a Bachelor of Film and Television degree at Bond so special.

“I was surprised at Orientation when my class went straight into practical activities using the industry-grade cameras. This intro week was a great icebreaker, too, helping all the students in the class to get to know each other,” Ryan says.

“The film subjects I’m taking right now are Image, Photography and Visual Design, Screen Business, and Screen Editing. I’ve enjoyed them all so far and I feel they have a good balance of theory and practical learning.”

Studying a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond is the first step for students to pursue their creative dreams in the film and TV industry and discover their own unique passion projects. The accelerated program allows students to complete their studies up to one year faster than their peers at other universities, while having access to exceptional industry partnerships and a personalised learning experience. Bond’s dedicated film and television learning spaces guarantee that students will graduate with working knowledge and practical experience, which will certainly stand out in both the Australian and international film industries.

2021 BUFTA winner Ryan Thwaite

“My fourth subject this semester is called Critical Thinking, which is part of Bond’s Core curriculum. I find this subject like the philosophy subject I took in high school. Initially, I was wary of the Core subjects and didn’t know if I’d like them. However, it has been good to take a subject not directly related to my degree. It’s helpful in the long run because it teaches you other skills that will make you a great candidate for employers.”     

The Bond University Core curriculum instils global awareness and leadership qualities to prepare students for the transition to employment and real-world learning experiences. The program comprises four core subjects and aims to develop widely recognisable skills for all students and disciplines. Supporting students like Ryan with their understanding of communication and collaboration through the Core curriculum is what the Bond experience is all about. 

For new students who are about to select their subjects for the upcoming semester, there are some helpful ways to structure a timetable. Spacing classes out across the day with large gaps in between allows for greater flexibility to squeeze in some extra study time before heading to the next session. It can also be an opportunity to take a mental break, have a bite to eat or catch up with friends on campus. 

On the other hand, for students like Ryan who want to maximise their time spent on campus with back-to-back classes, especially while working a part-time job, a schedule with more classes on one day is preferable. 

“I would recommend new students to choose subjects immediately after each other, as the ten-minute gap between sessions is enough to get to the next class. Each faculty has a specific building and area, so there isn't too much walking in between,” he says. 

“Try to apply as soon as subject and sequence documents come out to have the first pick at class times. 

“My subjects are condensed into four days instead of five, which is good – it’s nice to have one day off during the week to rest, have fun, and catch up on any work. It also gives me enough time to keep my part-time job on weekends.”   

The Film and Television degree is designed to enable students to push the boundaries of their creative and filmmaking processes. Bond’s smaller class sizes and experienced academics combined mean that more students have access to opportunities, such as the University’s partnership with Screen Queensland. This partnership was launched in 2019 to create a collaborative working environment for industry creatives and Bond University students. Known as the Creative Hub, the co-working space located on Bond’s Gold Coast campus sets undergraduate Bondies apart from the rest, giving students as much experience as possible with the foundational elements of a career in film and television.  

Students have full access to state-of-the-art equipment and can draw on the wealth of first-hand experience and industry knowledge that Bond’s teaching staff offer. For new film and television students like Ryan, this means finding the right technology and film gear for upcoming projects is a straightforward process. 

“Don’t feel pressured to buy an expensive film camera, as you can borrow all sorts of equipment, including cameras and tripods, from the Equipment Loan Store,” he says. 

“In the Bachelor of Film and Television, we first learn the fundamentals before going into more specific areas later. For example, Chris Fitchett (Senior Teaching Fellow, Film, Screen and Creative Media) presented a case study of a film he produced. He went into depth about how the film went from an idea to a finished product.”  

As the Bachelor of Film and Television is an extremely hands-on and project-based degree, working closely with Bond’s academics is an integral part of Bond’s student success.  

Of course, it’s not the only perk of life at Bond. Between classes, students can enjoy campus facilities such as the Sports Centre which includes a gym and swimming pool. Students can also get involved with on-campus social sport opportunities, as well as networking and social events through the Bond University Student Association (BUSA). 

Similarly to his classmates, Ryan’s downtime consists of trips to the café with friends and study sessions in the dedicated film and television studios. 

“There are always groups of people at Lakeside Café with their friends and doing assignments. 

“The library has quiet workspaces too; however, I stick to the film and television labs - they are enclosed areas only accessible to film students,” Ryan says. 

Bond's Bachelor of Film and Television aims to inspire tomorrow’s professionals and to support young filmmakers such as Ryan to graduate with the essential skills to become a creative leader in the film industry. As the winner of BUFTA, one of the most rewarding and recognised competitions in the Southern Hemisphere, Ryan looks forward to continuing his journey and fulfilling his dreams as a proud Bondy. 

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