These days students have endless education options to learn tips and tricks of the trade, from the less formal streaming of online vlogs and podcast tutorials to more formalized academic options. For Toronto Film School (TFS) students and alumni who were hired to create the school’s latest brand video, the real learning happens through real-world collaboration and opportunities.
TFS Brand Manager Eugenia Anton says TFS didn’t need to hire a creative agency to lead this marketing initiative. “We’re fortunate that creative agencies are routinely recruiting our students to help them develop award winning production work for their clients so we immediately knew that we could jump in and work with that great talent directly too…. so we hired them,” says Anton. “We gave them the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned on a real set, with real stakes, and the result is a masterpiece in visual storytelling. The participation of students intertwined amongst the narrative of the creative is all kind of meta.”
The new brand video shows the transformation of a girl named Maya, from a creative child directing her friends in make-believe movies, through her experience as a film school student developing her craft at TFS, to a confident adult filmmaker, calling the shots on the set of her new project.
For Morvarid Alinejad, who played Adult Maya, the experience resonated with her own journey. “It was amazing! It was kind of like my own story,” the Acting for Film TV & Theatre alumna says. “Maya is someone who is following her dream, you know, and I’m living that, so it was easy to get into her character.”
The TFS experience is focused on genuine collaboration, raw creativity, and real-world, hands-on practical learning. That’s why the brand video’s producer, Nason Markwell, himself an alumnus of the TFS Film Production program, says it was so important for current students and recent graduates to be involved in the production.
“We knew that we could tell a great story while also making it a learnable experience for students,” he states. And speaking about what the current students brought to the table, Markwell muses, “The team’s diverse perspectives and skill sets really improved the end result. From industry vets to existing students, the diversity worked beautifully.”
Two of those students, Eric Currier and Taisen Colcher, were from TFS’s Video Game Design programs. On the brand video, they had the role of Tech Trainees, and they rave about getting to explore something new.
“As I was working on this project, I just loved the idea that I could actually take the information I’ve learned in video game development and apply it to a different medium and mix it up,” says Colcher. And Currier echoes those thoughts, “It definitely opens up ideas about different avenues and opportunities to use our skills beyond an exclusive focus on video games.”
Bryanny Bailey, a student in the TFS Writing for Film & TV program, worked on the brand video as a Script Trainee, shadowing the Script Supervisor. This is exactly the type of experience, she says, that affirms she made the right decision enrolling in film school.
“What makes people on fire, and alive, and passionate, is being around other people that share that desire and intensity for the same thing,” Bailey enthuses. “When you’re around creative people in class or on sets, you want to be creative. The in-person team experience lights a fire in you.”
As for what advice she would give to an aspiring filmmaker, trying to decide what their next step should be, Alinejad says to be like Maya in the video; keep going, pursue your passion, work hard, and don’t look back.
“I hope everybody sees that a career in a screen productions isn’t just a dream. There are countless career opportunities. Pursue the process. Chase your goals. Find the experts and learn from them. Because after I decided to come to TFS and really pursue this life, every moment I’m grateful for it. I never regret it.”