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shaitan_ghola
02-05-2005, 10:38 PM
Hey, um I'm a highschool student that is considering going into filmmaking as a career.

1)What should I do to prepare for this career?
2)What are the benefits of this career for you?

3)What are the downas of this career for you?

4)What are the threat that prevent a person from getting into this career?

5)What are a list of good schools that best prepare me to venture into the real world?

DorkmanScott
02-06-2005, 01:00 AM
Hey, um I'm a highschool student that is considering going into filmmaking as a career.

Good for you! The earlier you start working on it, the better.


1)What should I do to prepare for this career?

1) Watch films. Get a Blockbuster Online or Netflix subscription and just start soaking the stuff up like a sponge. Study them and understand why good films are good films, why bad films are bad films, and where good films make bad choices, and vice versa, etc.

2) Make films. Get a camera and make film after film after film. Start with short scripts and then slowly make them longer and more ambitious as you go along. The longer you make a project the more complex it becomes, so work your way up to it slowly and take each problem as it comes.

Learn everything you can about all aspects of the craft. Take an acting class, take a course in make-up; be able to talk intelligently about any aspect of the art.

2)What are the benefits of this career for you?


Well, there's two answers to this. The idealist answer and the cynicist answer.

For an idealist, you get the opportunity to express yourself as a creative individual to others across the globe. Cinema is one of the primary forms of cross-cultural communication since the latter half of the 20th century, and you have to power to move millions of people.

For a cynicist, movies are big bucks. You stand to possibly make a lot of money and be very famous if you make movies people pay to see.

If the latter reason is most of what compels you, and the former little or none of it, I'd suggest re-evaluating your priorities, particularly in light of what I mention next...

3)What are the downas of this career for you?

While you COULD make a lot of money, it's really not bloody likely that you will. You'll probably make enough to get by, but I could count the number of really rich and famous filmmakers (non-actors) in each aspect on my hands. In some cases only needing one. If fame and fortune are what drive you, then a career in filmmaking will not be likely to sustain you.

In my opinion, if you wouldn't do it for free, don't do it for money.

Additionally, unless you DO achieve that high level of fame and fortune, you will work irregularly. You might spend 3 months on a project and two years before the next paying gig, depending on what you want to do. When you are on a job, it will dominate your time, possibly requiring relocation to the production headquarters for the duration of production/post production (again, depending on what your job is). The hours are long, irregular, and mostly thankless in all aspects, and unless you're the director of a film, few people will know you worked on it.

You have to do what you do because you love doing it and can do nothing else. Otherwise the processes of filmmaking will steamroll you beneath and never look back.

You have to have thick skin as well. People outside of a like-minded community like this will say something sucks, and that's all they'll say. In film, millions of people may see your work which means millions of people might try to tear it down. If you're the kind of person that needs constant reassurance, filmmaking is not a safe career for you.


4)What are the threat that prevent a person from getting into this career?

Hey, if Uwe Boll can make a career out of filmmaking, I figure anyone can.


5)What are a list of good schools that best prepare me to venture into the real world?

There is no such thing as a school that prepares you for the real world. School and the real world are mutually exclusive.

The best way to learn how to make a film -- the ONLY way to learn how to make a film -- is to make a film, make mistakes, learn from them, and then make another, better film. Some schools provide you with the resources to do so, and for some people that's appealing. But I personally would say, keep the $30,000 you would spend on of film school, and finance a film with it.

M. Scott

Novelist
02-06-2005, 01:30 PM
The best way to learn how to make a film -- the ONLY way to learn how to make a film -- is to make a film, make mistakes, learn from them, and then make another, better film. Some schools provide you with the resources to do so, and for some people that's appealing. But I personally would say, keep the $30,000 you would spend on of film school, and finance a film with it.

M. Scott

I'm going to have to disagree with you on that. There are many schools out there for this kind of profession. You have a wide variety of choices. I may no be the oldest or wisest person in the world, but wouldn't it be better if you first go to a school that will teach you and equip you with what you need? Is it reallt a good idea to use the money that you would normally use to go to school on a film that will fail because of the little knowledge and experiance you have making one? In my opinion, go to a filmmaking school. Learn what you can. When you feel you have enough knowledge on the subject, that's when you should start making short films and the like. Also, don't count on being a filmmaker. It's going to be very hard in the beginning. You have to do it because you love it, but also have a back-up career in mind. If you can, go to a normal college first, then a specialized one just so you're more well-rounded. It never hurts to be safe.

fwtep
02-06-2005, 04:27 PM
I'm going to have to disagree with you on that [that the best way to learn is to actually make a film]. There are many schools out there for this kind of profession.Regardless of whether you go to film school or not, you'll learn more by actually making a film. The film doesn't have to be very expensive either-- you can make a film for $5000 and learn an awful lot about writing, working with actors, etc. Not that $5000 is nothing, but it's not out of reach for most people-- after all, I'd wager that most folks here on CG Talk spend that much over the course of a year or two on computers and software. And if you're really good you might even be able to recoup that $5000 for the movie. (The $5000 film would be shot on Mini DV-- maybe even HD-- with a minimal cast and one location. Edit at home on Sony's Vegas or Final Cut or Premiere and have a musician friend write some music.)

I'll write up my answers to the initial post a little later, but I just wanted to pop in and reply to this one first.

Fred

fwtep
02-06-2005, 08:06 PM
Hey, um I'm a highschool student that is considering going into filmmaking as a career.

1)What should I do to prepare for this career?As silly as this sounds, the first thing you should do is be really sure that it's what you want to do-- think about exactly what you want to do and why. Expect a LOT of hard work and that no matter what school you go to and how much talent you have it will take years to get to where you want to be.

If you actually enjoy the work, then go for it. But if it's the glamour and money that attact you, forget it. It's not glamorous and the money isn't what you think it is.

If you still want to do it, then as the first person mentioned, watch a lot of movies. I don't mean current movies, I mean classics. Watch a wide variety of stuff from the 1910's up to the early 1990's (you've probably seen plenty of stuff made after that). There's a LOT to learn from classic films. After all, your favorite filmmakers of today were inspired by those films, so there must be *something* to them, right? For example, Steven Spielberg has said that the film that made him want to be a filmmaker was "Lawrence of Arabia." It's definitely worth seeing that. It'll lose so much though on video, even though the DVD looks great. If you can, see it-- along with any other classics-- in a theater. If you live in or near a major city there are probably places where you can see older films projected. GO TO THEM.

If possible, watch these films more than once. The first time just watch it for entertainment, then watch again to study various aspects of them. (The follow-up viewings can be on video, but if at all possible, the first time you see them should be in a theater. The good news is that the important films, such as "Lawrence," are the ones that get screened the most.)

2)What are the benefits of this career for you?For me it's a lot of fun and there are a lot of great people out here.

3)What are the downas of this career for you?There are also a lot of jerks out here. Plus it's not exactly the most reliable industry as far as steady work. If you work at a bank and you're good and honest, you can get a job there when you're 20 and stay there until you retire. Not so at all in the entertainment industry-- you're looking for a new job all the time. There are rare exceptions, for example if you're at Pixar.

4)What are the threat that prevent a person from getting into this career?First, remember that there are far more people than there are jobs. And it's not always the best person who gets the job. And as I said above, the work isn't steady, though to some degree it depends on what you're doing. What aspect of the industry are you interested in?

5)What are a list of good schools that best prepare me to venture into the real world?I'm sure you'll get plenty of replies suggesting the popular places like USC, UCLA and NYU, but there are other places worth looking into as well. For example, I went to SUNY Purchase which has a very good film & acting program. The people I went to school with there run the gamut from Sundance winners all the way up to mainstream directors like Danny Leiner who directed "Dude Where's My Car." (Danny actually wasn't a film student, but he hung out with us.:) ) To keep this on-topic for CG, Chris Wedge, who directed "Ice Age" and the upcoming "Robots" also graduated there.

In the acting department at Purchase, the most famous graduates from when I was there are Wesley Snipes, Steven Weber and Edie Falco. Other acting school graduates from there are Ving Rhames, Josh Hartnett, Stanley Tucci, Parker Posey, Dwight Ewell and Sherry Stringfield.

I think I'm the only unknown from there-- but I'm working on it!:)

Fred

shaitan_ghola
02-06-2005, 11:59 PM
Also, I don't want to go into a film career for the money or glamour, but I also want to be able to make money so that I can survive. I already understand that in careers dealing with a certain art form, it's actually 10% Art and 90% Business. If it weren't so, then all the great masterpieces found after the artist died, in the artists attic, would be known throughout the world. Plus I know that there are a thousand people out there just as skilled as George Lucas, even greater skilled, but if no one knows about them then they never get heard, and they won't make any money from doing film. So I personally believe that you can't in any business dealing with any form of art without to some extent wanting money and fame, because if you're just for the art, then you'll have to like get a job at Wal-Mart or something and have filmmaking become a hobby and not a career.

kachoudas
02-07-2005, 06:13 AM
I would disagree that scools are useless. It is true that you will learn filmmaking ONLY by doing films yourself, and making mistakes.

But a school should provide you with other very important aspect of an artistic career :
- general culture (litterature, fine arts, communication theory, music, sociology...) both foreign and domestic.
- team work
- and most important, it should provide you the basis of the social connection you will use ten years later.

of less importance are
- the tools they provide you (learn to work with small budgets if you want to survive !)
- filmmaking. Paradoxaly this is not what you'll need most : you'll learn most by yourself and with other students, as everybody will focus on that. You just need people to critic your work.

So I'd suggest to try to go for a school with many varied department, with lots of students (even bad ones, you also need to deal with morons), and which make a good work at promoting their students and has a good "old students" association. A film department in an university ?

I couldnt name a school in the US, sorry.

good luck !

marchermann
02-07-2005, 01:08 PM
As silly as this sounds, the first thing you should do is be really sure that it's what you want to do-- think about exactly what you want to do and why.
I can only agree with Fred. Make up your mind as to what part of filmmaking you're most interested in. Of course, everyone wants to be a director ;), but maybe you find out that you prefer to be an editor or camera man. Here in Germany, for example, you can't simply study "filmmaking" in general but have to decide what part in the process you want to play. Maybe it's the same where you live.

To find an answer to this, you should make a movie and do most of the stuff yourself, except acting. Or maybe even that ;). Worked for me.

As to what you can do now already: Apart from watching tons of films I suggest you also try to get a work experience placement at a film or tv production.

Marc

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