Alan Seaman is an experienced freelance film tutor who works for a wide variety of venues, particularly Phoenix, Derby Quad, and Nottingham Broadway. Alan teaches primarily on our ten-week ‘Talking Pictures‘ course for film enthusiasts.
Alan, tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you get up to when you’re away from Phoenix?
I’m usually pretty busy with my stand-up comedy work, compering gigs around the Midlands. I read a lot of crime fiction. I also try to write but there hasn’t been much time for that in recent months.
I like to walk the dog, cycle a bit… nothing too unusual really! I’d listen to Radio 3 and 6Music all day long given the chance.
How long have you been a film tutor, and what made you want to go down that route?
I’ve been a film tutor for about 15 years now. It was a compete change of direction for me. I’d spent a few too many years working for an insurance company but spending my spare time watching world cinema at the old Phoenix building. I took the plunge and went to university as a mature student – first a BA in English Lit and Media/Film, and then a Film Studies MA helped me to move into teaching.
How do you prepare for your courses? How do you like to run them?
I try to find relevant materials that will enhance the screenings, so I’ll read interviews with the directors, listen to Radio 4’s Film Programme, read Sight and Sound, and so on. Anything that will help the participants understand what they’re watching.
What can attendees expect from your Talking Pictures course?
An informal class setting where everyone is encouraged to contribute. This course is about discussion as much as it is about me bringing in clips and information to contextualise our viewing.
If you could pick just one, which film character do you most associate with?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure that I know the answer, and if I did it would probably just worry me and anyone who knows me! (It’s not Hannibal Lecter though.)
What’s the best film you’ve seen at Phoenix this year?
It’s a toss-up between Wild Tales and Timbuktu.
If you could programme a day of films, what would you choose and why?
I think I would be totally indulgent and go for all my favourite comedies: Annie Hall, Withnail and I, This is Spinal Tap, The Ladykillers (Ealing version)… that’s probably enough for a day, allowing time for eating cake in between each film.