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Student Success: Sophie Sumner, Actress

Film & TV Essentials Graduate. Actress. America’s Next Top Model Winner.

Sophie is a model and an aspiring actress from Oxford, England. She took the Film & TV Essentials online course because she wanted a deeper understanding of film production to become a better performer. Sophie chatted with Yellowbrick about her student success and what's next for her.

The course gave me the confidence that I really can do this.

ON CHOOSING FILM & TV ESSENTIALS —

I actually never went to college. I went straight into modeling, straight into the entertainment industry. But I didn't second guess taking the course, I signed straight up. I knew the companies —Tisch, Rolling Stone, and I'd heard of Yellowbrick before. Sometimes you can get quite lost in looking at online courses, but this one really stood out. As soon as I played the first segment, it looked like they'd just filmed it! It was so modern. It was nice, short segments — things you can really get your teeth sunk into.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

There is a gentleman who teaches quite a few of the modules, David K Irving. He is a legend, I love the way that he gives you real advice; just straight down the line and real. He said one of my favorite things right in the beginning. He's like, “you want to be a filmmaker? Pick up a camera” and it's the easiest, simplest advice. He makes this kind of complicated world of film very simple, brings it all together, and makes it accessible for everyone. I think that's so important. Sometimes film can feel like it's a million miles out of our reach,

There's another professor, Janet Grillo, who is really in touch with things young. I wasn't expecting it to be so kind of fresh and current, it's really up-to-date and a current course. Judd Apatow pops in there, which is really fun. He gives some great advice about scriptwriting.

I loved the assignments. One of them is you have to come up with a music video and storyboard it. I enjoyed it so much. I spent days and I drew out all my storyboards by hand and even colored it in with glitter paint which was totally unnecessary. Just by doing the assignment on the storyboarding, I was able to understand, “that's an easy first step. That's how you start. That's how you show your camera angles.” It's been so good for building up my self-esteem.

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

Since starting this course, things really took off. The course gave me the confidence that I really can do this. So I put myself forward a lot more and went for more auditions. I signed up for Actor’s Access and put myself on there. I just really went for it and I booked an indie film called Killington. While doing the online course, I did my first indie film. It was just incredible to be able to take a step out of myself and really appreciate everybody else's job and how much hard work goes into making a film. We had two first-time directors and they're both so passionate and so hard-working, and it was incredible to see their work and understand what they had to do to make it work. 

ON THE PAST & WHAT'S NEXT —

I love how you can learn all these different departments. Going into the post-production for Killngton, it's exciting that I'm going to be following this journey along. I feel very much more in the process and I feel way more confident and secure as an actor — knowing what everyone's doing, knowing what's going on around me, and hopefully, that led to better performance, 

You can come away from this course with that feeling of “I can do this,” and I think that's so important. For so many people, it is just confidence. I think worrying that film is such a crazy industry that many wouldn't have access to, it's not true. We can do it.

To keep up with Sophie beyond Yellowbrick, follow her on Instagram @sophiesumner8.

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