I got asked a few weeks ago by pictosays if I had any tips for upcoming film students, now I’m nowhere near an expert but this is what I have come up with from personal experience.
Learn from the ground up You are in school for a reason, don’t walk in thinking you know everything because you made a film for A Level Film Studies, everyone did and people will get annoyed with you rather quickly.
Take risks University is the time to take risks in your work, you have a safety net, use it to your advantage.
Get experience Talk to 2nd/3rd years to get roles on set, they need some extra hands on set and you need to know how a set works in the ‘real world’. Also use your summer/weekends wisely, get an internship or some runner jobs at a production company. Hands on experience is invaluable and a foot in the door never hurt.
Be nice to your peers In film school more so than others you have to work in teams, it’s part of the industry and it’s a part of everyday life. Don’t make enemies you will regret.
Theory is important It’s one thing being able to make a film look nice but if the shot has no real relevance/meaning then it’s pretty useless.
Use Lynda.com I use this website all the time, it has detailed tutorials on all industry standard software. There is a subscription fee but most (mine anyway?) universities offer a subscription as part of the degree. (Also Avid is the industry standard for editing Feature/Hollywood films at least get your head around the workflow)
Be prepared to self-teach This is true of all subjects but in film somethings you just have to figure out yourself, you have to figure out your own workflow. So instead of complaining about it just get stuck in - you never know it could be fun.
Don’t get cocky about your specialism You want to be a director? Awesome, go for it but have a backup. Director isn’t the only job available and it also isn’t ‘the most important’. Film sets are nothing without all the other departments, learning how they work will do you no harm.
Watch films! Expected really but at times you get caught up in production, make time to go to the cinema or to re-watch your favourite film, remind yourself why you do what you do. Also expand your genres, watch the classics and go to experimental film festivals because inspiration can come from the strangest places.
That’s everything I have for now, it’s also good to remember my BA is more fine art film than feature/hollywood but the principles the same - play around, find your niche and work hard.
If you have any questions just drop me a message :)
Here is my final for my drawing for animation class! Its a timed story board short about me in first grade. I had trouble making friends, but thankfully my principal was looking out for me. Enjoy :-)!!
What schools have good directing, film, writing, programs
University of Southern California New York University University of California - Los Angeles American Film Institute California Institute of the Arts Columbia University Chapman University Loyola Marymount University Emerson College University of Texas - Austin Syracuse University Boston University University of North Carolina School of the Arts Northwestern University Wesleyan University Stanford University DePaul University Florida State University Columbia College Chicago Savannah College of Art and Design
After graduating from film school, two budding students desperately wanted to make a film, but could only afford to rent one room. Despite other people’s doubts, they took the challenge and made the horror movie they’d been writing about for years. That movie was named Saw, and became one of the most popular slasher films. Just goes to show, if you dream big, you can make it.
Film students are pretentious, or so say the graphic design majors. Sequential art majors think they’re better than everyone else, sneer the film students. According to sequential art majors, it’s fashion design students who are the intellectual snobs. You finally turn to a painting major and ask which group is telling the truth. She shudders, her gaze suddenly faraway as if reliving an inescapable dream. “All of them,” she says in a voice like shattered hope. “Dear God, all of them!”
There’s a hand-written sign awkwardly taped to the fourth computer from the right on the second floor of the Digital Art Center. “Rendering,” it reads. “Do not touch!” Upperclassmen speak of it in hushed tones. It’s been there for twenty years, they say. It will be there for twenty more.
There is a detailed etching of an erect phallus carved painstakingly into your desk. Every day, it looks slightly little more photorealistic.
Someone is working on a mural on the wall of an abandoned building outside your window. On the first day, you see the outline of a bird. On the second day, it’s been painted baby blue and it now soars on a background of stars. On the third day, it’s been joined by other birds of varying colors. There’s an outline of a circle on the edge of the composition that the artist hasn’t completed yet. On the fourth day, the birds are weeping blood as they fly into the uncaring abyss, dragged ceaselessly forward by the relentless pull of the void, feathers swallowed up in a black hole of nothingness. The very first bird, the one whose birth you witnessed four short days ago, looks to you with desperate pleading, yet you cannot help it. You do not think anyone can, not any more.
Your final exam in Art History 101 is approaching. You’ve started seeing the Venus de Milo out of the corner of your eye, behind gas pumps, down lecture hall hallways, peering over bookshelves at the school library. Every time you catch a glimpse of her, she’s closer than she was last time. You can almost make out the details now: face fixed in a frown, arm stumps rough and rocky, always standing in exquisite contrapposto.
Midterms have arrived, and your mind swims with glorious, chaotic color. You see shapes within forms and forms within shapes; lines fuse together to create alien geometries than make your head spin. The fracas is ever-present, and you long for the cold, clinical touch of the mathematics at which you never thought you would look back.
“I didn’t get any sleep last night,” complains one classmate. “I haven’t gotten more than thirty minutes all week!” cries another. A third student speaks up: “The last time I slept, the world was young and filled with primeval vengeance. Civilization was a non-entity, the fleeting dream of a people wanting more. I could feel the disowned children of ancient gods screaming for vengeance deep, deep under the earth, trapped in a prison that would not hold forever. When I last closed my eyes, it was to an Earth ruled by beasts.”