"At LMA we are very proud of the fact we offer students hands-on, practical experience and our latest masterclasses are testament to this."
Tony Ealey, LMAs Creative Director
LMA is virtually bringing industry experts from Hollywood studios, including Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Bros, to its students for a series of live masterclasses.
The media, music and performing arts institution, co-owned by Robbie Williams, is streaming the weekly sessions live to the homes of all Creative Media BA (hons) students; across the Film & TV and Gaming departments.
During the sessions, guests answer questions from students, as well as talk about their progression in the industry, how their career started, how the industry is evolving and some of the biggest projects they have worked on.
Some of the first to appear in the line-up include Kevin Spruce, who animated Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Mark Swift, who is currently producing Croods 2 and previously produced Penguins of Madagascar; and Stephen Cavalier, who worked on the animation for cult classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as directing BBC’s Planet Dinosaur. All guests have previously worked alongside LMA’s Creative Director Tony Ealey.
Tony said one of the silver linings of the lockdown is the support from big names, who have time while at home to share their wisdom from all over the world.
He said: “We regularly host masterclasses for students on campus, but this calibre of international practitioners would normally be extremely hard to tie down. Usually they are busy, travelling all over the world creating their next big blockbuster, but the lockdown has enabled LMA tutors to tap into our industry contacts to come and give students a real insight into the specific roles and responsibilities of their chosen careers. It has been a game changer and will definitely continue post-lockdown.
“Our speakers are giving students a greater understanding of the changing face of the industry and appreciation of how fluid it is – which is especially important when we look at what is happening at the moment. Creative industries might continue to operate remotely for months and students need to learn to be flexible and creative to adapt to a changing world.
“At LMA we are very proud of the fact we offer students hands-on, practical experience and our latest masterclasses are testament to this. All our tutors are professionals who have worked in the industry. What we really want to instil in our students is the ambition and confidence to show them what they can achieve. Our speakers are normal people, who were passionate about what they wanted to do and have accomplished amazing things. It shows our students not to be daunted and to reach high.”
LMA’s creative response to the lockdown has also included setting up various networks of remote support for students. It has reimagined its courses, which would usually rely on physical presence and contact, and adapted them to the online environment, including hosting regular virtual classes and exploring ways for students to showcase their work digitally.
Students have continued to show their excellent creativity by sharing short films they have made during lockdown, ranging from elaborate stop motion animations to recreations of their favourite scenes from movies, all done in isolation at home.
Other departments have also been using their talents to give thanks to NHS workers fighting coronavirus and to help keep community spirit high during the pandemic.
The LMA Choir joined forces remotely from their homes to stage two amazing lockdown performances, features the vocal talents of all 13 members. Following overwhelming support for their first virtual performance last month, which saw them take on Simon and Garfunkel classic, Bridge Over Troubled Water, the group recently staged a rendition of Ben E. King’s poignant song, Stand By Me.
BA TV and film student Nathan Mort, from LMA, said: “Kevin has some amazing experience. He was a BAFTA winner for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and worked on the Hippogriff named Buckbeak in Harry Potter. He had some incredible motion capture footage to share with us. My favourite part was seeing behind the scenes of Bradley Cooper doing his lines for Rocket Racoon. There was a quote he said which really resonated with me too, that ‘the best directors are those who listen to their crew and take on ideas from them’. It is something I will take with me throughout my career.”