Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to popular questions below.

 

What do the children/teenagers do in your filmmaking courses?

In all Sparks filmmaking courses participants join in with practical filmmaking activities.

It’s all about getting stuck in and making films.

Young filmmakers take on all the responsibilities behind the camera and in front of it too.

We use exploratory tasks to workshop ideas and to learn about filmmaking techniques. Most filmmaking courses also include a production element, where young filmmakers apply their learning to their own film projects, which they produce together from scratch.

Every child or young person taking part in our filmmaking courses spends time directing, shooting, crewing, acting and editing alongside production design. This gives them a solid foundation of filmmaking skills and a wide range of knowledge in how films are made.

What skills will my child learn?

Typically, we expect participants on filmmaking courses to develop skills in the following areas:

  • Directing Skills
  • Photography & Moving Image Skills
  • Editing Skills
  • Acting for Camera
  • Producing Skills
  • Screenwriting
  • Production Design and Art Department, e.g. Costume Design
  • Technical Skills, e.g. Sound and Advanced Photography, and Craft Skills, e.g. Visual Effects (Studios 4 and 5)

They also develop skills in storytelling, visual literacy and a host of different creative and project-based skills, such as teamwork, communication, time management and leadership.

Our filmmaking classes are more detailed than filmmaking holiday camps, although every film course has specific learning outcomes and offers the chance to develop filmmaking skills.

How do your age groups work?

We offer filmmaking courses for ages 5-18. 

 

Studio 1:

Ages 5-7 (School Years 1-2) 

 

Studio 2:

Ages 7-9 (School Years 3-4)

 

Studio 3: 

Ages 9-11 (Schools Years 5-6)

 

Studio 4:

Ages 11-14 (School Years 7-9) 

 

Studio 5:

Ages 14-18 (School Years 10-13)

 

Course content varies for each studio group, with creative and technical difficulty advancing through the age groups. 

My child is a beginner, will they enjoy filmmaking?

Our filmmaking courses are creative, fun and engaging, as well as having technological challenges too.

We encourage a friendly, positive atmosphere with lots of collaboration. Everyone’s ideas are listened to and everyone is welcome.

Film class sizes are small, so each young filmmaker receives plenty of personalised attention from our instructors, as well as having the chance to develop meaningful friendships.

If your child shows signs of being creative or visual, then we’re confident that they’ll enjoy our filmmaking classes.

We offer trial classes, as well as money-back guarantees on trial periods, so you’re able to give it a try before fully committing.

My child makes a lot of their own films, what will they get from taking part in your courses?

For experienced filmmakers, our film courses offer the chance to deepen their knowledge and skills.

We explore several different technical disciplines, including screenwriting, directing, camera department, art department, editing and screen acting. We also explore different artistic styles and techniques associated with different genres or established filmmakers.

Our film courses also offer the chance to build a portfolio of work and their experience of working as part of a film crew.

All of our projects include creative collaboration with other like-minded young filmmakers, meaning that crew members can often take on more ambitous productions than they might make independently.

My child has been before. Will they get something new out of coming again?

Yes, many children take part in our filmmaking courses on a long-running basis, which helps to develop film skills and knowledge.

Our filmmaking courses have built-in progression steps to make sure they are continually learning new things and developing their skills.

We’ll always share the particular focus of each programme beforehand, so you can see if it’s something that lines up with their interest. Our filmmaking holiday camps usually explore a set theme. Filmmaking classes are more detailed and offer opportunities to focus on technical learning. 

Who are the teachers?

Our filmmaking courses are all taught by professionals from filmmaking and arts education backgrounds.

Many have formal qualifications, e.g. degrees in film production, as well as a range of professional expertise from filmsets and independent film productions.

Everyone is DBS-checked and undertakes a Sparks training programme in order to qualify as a filmmaking instructor with us.

Our staff ratio of 1:8. This is often 1:6 in practice, especially with younger children.

What are your course fees?

Fees for filmmaking courses start from around £11 per hour.

Fees vary at each film school location and also depend on the nature of the course. For details of local fees, please find classes at your nearest film school here >>>

We have flexible payment options, including monthly or termly payments.

We also accept payments with childcare vouchers and the Childcare Choices scheme.

Through our Sparks Communities programmes, we offer film and media courses for children who face barriers to participation. We’re committed to increasing accessibility and widening participation. For more infomation on our Communities programme, please take a look here >>>

What equipment do you use?

Each Studio group uses different filmmaking equipment, with technical difficulty increasing through the age range.

We always aim to achieve a balance of both production standards and ease-of use, so that filmmakers can make the most of their production time with us.

We also make sure that there is plenty of equipment available within each filmmaking course, so that every student has the maximum opportunity to get hands on and be creative.

Camera Equipment:

Camera equipment ranges from iPads and HD camcorders with our younger studios, to DSLR cameras and broadcast standard/industry spec cameras with our older studios.

All the cameras shoot in Full HD or 4K and are chosen for their ease of use, combined with image quality and the ability to withstand any potential accidents like drops.

Studios 4 and 5 also work with additional lenses and filters.

Grip and Other Equipment:

We use a wide variety of additional equipment, such as tripods, dollies, gimbals and sliders.

The crews also use clapperboards and other on-set equipment to help teach about professional film production and how to work as part of a film crew.

Each Studio also has access to a green screen, as well as use of indoor lighting and reflectors.

With Studios 4 and 5, we also work with sound equipment, including different mics and external sound recorders.

Post-Production:

We edit using iMovie with younger studios and Final Cut Pro/Premiere Pro with older studios. Studios 4 and 5 also occasionally use After Effects and other post-production software.

Do we get copies of the finished films?

Yes, every filmmaker receives a copy of their work at the end of each filmmaking course. These are usually sent to you once a course has finished and we’ve completed post-production work on them.

Films are added to filmmakers’ portfolios, which demonstrate their progress and can be used as part of their record of achievement.

We also celebrate by showing productions at family screening events.

Can I book with Childcare Vouchers?

Yes. We welcome all childcare voucher schemes, including Childcare Choices.

To place a booking using Childcare Vouchers, please get in touch with us and let us know your voucher provider.

We’ll set up an account for you, at which point you’ll be able to place a booking online or over the phone.

Are you inclusive of children with disabilities or SEND?

We welcome children with physical and sensory disabilities, as well as children who are neurodiverse.

We usually find that if your child attends a mainstream school, we can most likely support their needs in our filmmaking courses.

Many of our team have experience of working in SEND environments.

We always recommend that you speak to us beforehand, so we can put in place any strategies or adaptations that will improve their experience. 

Through Sparks Communities we also offer specific projects that are designed with additional needs in mind.

What is your background? How long have you been running?

Sparks film school first opened in 2010 in Balham, South West London.

Since then, we’ve open up many more Sparks film schools and now have over 20 film schools for children and young people nationally.

You can find out more about our company history here >>>.

Will my child get a certificate?

Will they get a certificate?

Yes, each filmmaker receives a Certificate of Achievement in recognition of their learning.

 

The Sparks Syllabus:

With our weekly classes, filmmakers work towards our filmmaking syllabus, which progresses from one level to the next.

Each year, they’ll be working towards a new level, with increasing skills and technical challenges, which are recognised with Awards. There are 3-4 Award levels per Studio. 

 

Arts Award Accreditation:

Some of our filmmaking courses also work partners including the Arts Award scheme to offer formal recognition of learning and artistic development.

What's your cancellation policy?

Weekly Filmmaking Classes:

Cancellations made within 14 days of registration are eligible for a refund, with a pro-rata deduction for any classes attended. No refunds will be given for cancellations made after this time, although credits to future projects or filmmaking courses may be offered at the discretion of the local management.

For students enrolled on the monthly plan, parents/guardians must provide one month’s notice of membership cancellation. 

 

Holiday Filmmaking Courses:

Refunds will be processed in full to cancellations made 14 days prior to the course start date. No refunds will be given for cancellations made after this time, although credits to future projects or courses may be offered at the discretion of the management.

In the event that a participant is unable to attend a Sparks activity, due to sickness, holiday or a decision by the parent/guardian not to attend outside of the cancellation period, or once activities have begun, Sparks is unable to refund any course fees. The management may offer a transfer or a credit at their discretion and Sparks will cooperate with any travel or event insurance claims. 

You can find our full terms and conditions here >>>.

You can also find help with managing your online account and fee payments in our Help Centre

What are your Covid-19 measures?

All our activities are risk assessed, including for Covid-19. We implement a lot of safety measures during our filmmaking courses.

 

Measures include:

  • We work in bubbles of up to 12 children, with up to 2 instructors
  • Regular handwashing/hand sanitising
  • Our team use PPE during sessions, including face coverings
  • Lots of regular room and equipment cleaning between each use (using high alcohol wipes)
  • Travel using one-way system around the building
  • Use of face coverings for students in line with DfE recommendations

 

We also ask that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms tests before attending and that students engage with twice weekly school testing systems.

 

We update our Covid-19 measures regularly. If you have any concerns or questions about Covid-19 security, please get in touch with us for further information.

 

You can also find our Terms & Conditions relating to Covid-19 here.

Who can I talk to for more information?

We suggest contacting the Head of your local film school.

You can also contact Sparks Head Office here.

We can help with any further questions or information.

You can also visit our Help Centre, with details on how to manage your bookings with us.

Can’t find the answer to your question? 

Get in touch with us below… 

Phone: 020 71019329