Student Blog Squad

How I include environmentally friendly practices within my course

Hi, I’m Jade and I am a second year Filmmaking student. On my course I have been given tips for ways to be environmentally friendly in my uni work and have found my own methods too. In this blog I will be sharing these tips for other students to use in their courses and in daily life.

Card and crafts

Repurposing materials for your work

Films are often very production design heavy, with most of what you see on screen having been purchased or made new. A personal practice of mine and some of my fellow filmmakers at Beckett is to try and repurpose any materials we can. For example, those empty bottles you have, can be re-used for a party scene.

In a film I am currently making for my course, we are reusing cardboard from delivery boxes to make costumes. My repurposing materials is a way we can reduce the waste of materials, while also feeding our creativity by imagining what we can make.

My examples are film specific, however for those on other creative courses such as theatre or art, the reusing of items such as props or materials to make art from is an effective way to be more environmentally friendly in your creative work, as well as trying something different than what can just be purchased.

I believe that the sourcing of materials and their repurposing can go a long way to making things more sustainable.
Cardboard boxes

Cardboard I have collected ready for repurposing into film costumes

Travelling to locations for your course

In pre-covid times, we were allowed to travel around the country to film, however we were encouraged to look closer to home to reduce our carbon footprint. The documentary I made in first year was local to Leeds and I know that many of the documentaries made by other students were also Leeds based, with incredible stories found on our doorstep. I would suggest that when looking for locations or inspiration for your creative work, whether that is film, photography or art, to look close to home; there are infinite influences in Leeds itself and by limiting your travel to find these you are much more environmentally friendly. When travelling to our location, we used public transport to further limit the Co2 emissions if we really needed to travel.

My top tip is to be conscious of your travel choices and their necessity when you are looking at your options. Always look to see what you can do locally to reduce your carbon footprint. 

How to become more environmentally friendly

I think I speak for most when I say that over the past year I have walked and found more new places in my local area than I ever knew were there. This is the perfect opportunity to scout locations for your creative work and by going on foot you are not harming the environment. Within my course we also conduct a lot of meeting on online video services. This includes lectures and group meetings, but in the film industry itself this method is also how they are carrying out location searches around the world and conducting business. When things go back to normal, continuing online meetings could help to reduce travel, both in creative courses and industries but also others, such as business, as it is a perfectly viable option to hold meetings without having to travel long distances.

Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey is an incredible place I've discovered when taking a walk to different places in Leeds

Applying sustainable practices to your daily life (even if you're not on a creative course)

You can incorporate small, easy habits into your life to help with creating a sustainable student lifestyle. Switching from paper documents to electronic ones will reduce paper wastage, and reusing materials in your house décor or whilst making crafts will also extended the life of materials instead of just throwing them away. When you go for a day out, see if there is anywhere in your local area that you haven’t explored before you choose to travel longer distances.

While it can seem hard to find ways to reduce waste in courses where you’re supposed to create, it's definitely possible. By finding different ways to look at the assignments and the materials I have at my disposal, I’ve found there are always ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices. This also applies to daily life outside of uni work. It is vital that we all begin to do this sooner rather than later and I hope these tips provide a starting point to help you.

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