Fostering film careers

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// DESTINATIONS STRAND //

PEIXUAN JING is an award-winning filmmaker, currently studying for a Media and Communications MA degree here at Coventry. In conversation, he reflects on his goal of returning to China to become a successful filmmaker within a growing and extremely competitive landscape.

I’m aware of the increasingly furious competition in China’s media and communications market, so I set my mind upon better equipping myself with advanced knowledge, through further study in the UK, where the level of media development and education is world leading. My aim is to achieve a competitive advantage for my future career.

In 2014, Peixuan graduated from the Communication University of Shanxi in China where he studied Television Drama as a director of photography. “I continually exerted myself to learn as much as possible and to integrate theory with practice”.

Peixuan’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as he won a National Scholarship twice, and a University Scholarship an impressive six times. He also succeeded in his aim of mixing theory with practice, by winning internships at the CCTV-5 TV station (China Central Television) every summer vacation. Here, he honed his camerawork skills, and was involved in shooting sports programmes including CUBA Basketball Matches, Steppe Horse Racing, the Equestrian Championship and the IAAF Diamond League. Peixuan reflects on the nature of shooting in a live TV sports environment where there is no definite shooting plan, and explains that at first he was very nervous about being put on the spot to capture something very quickly on camera. However, “under the patient guidance of the programme director, I gradually mastered the essentials…and rebuilt my confidence”. It was here that he also learned the importance of team work in a film crew environment, “a good team relied on everyone’s effort, for each camera operator and crew member was in the service of the whole effect”.

In terms of his filmmaking goal, athough still studying, Peixuan has already begun to build a strong portfolio of his own creative film work as a director and DoP. He is most interested in the genres of documentary, adventure and travel.

A a student back in China, he was the cinematographer for a short film called The Lost Way, by director Wu Ze. The film was shot in the Shanxi provence, and is a half-hour long adventure based live action drama. The Lost Way won an award at the 5th China Student Television Festival.

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More recently, as part of his Masters course at Coventry, Peixuan has recently made a short film called The Rain. It is non-dialogue atmospheric black and white piece, consisting of 150 separate shots, and set to the piano nocturnes by Mozart.

One of the essential things that Peixuan has learned, is to seize the opportunity to learn from others wherever possible. He explains that during his internships working on broadcast television programmes, at the end of every shooting day, he would take the initiative to exchange ideas with colleagues and listen to their feedback. This is how his camera work gained maturity both technically and creatively, and how he developed his confidence to think independently.

He also looked to broaden his skills beyond camera work –

Aside from photography, I also paid attention to learning program planning, post-production, and writing skills. In my view, program planning is the key to the success of each program. Although my ideas were naturally rejected many times, I kept on brainstorming creative ideas until my planning was eventually approved by the director. 

I also came to the realisation that the cultivation of independent thinking was more important than the mastery of technology, because independent thinking is the foundation of unique photographic and film work.

In conversation with Peixuan Jing, MA student in Media and Communications.

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