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Old November 13th, 2005, 03:47 AM   #1
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Help me decide my future. please...

Ok, heres the deal. im 18 years old and just graduated from high school. ive worked for 3 different companies since 16. Now i work at an audio production studio doing band videos/interviews/promotional/web edits for bands for decent money. I didnt go to film school this fall cause i wasnt really ready for it but anyways...i dont wanna spend 50K at a film school at all. I know most of what there gonna teach except i wanna/need to learn Film. like, loading a camera and using film and what not. Is there any alternative such as a 2-3 week seminar i can attend somewhere? even a month or 2? but i dont wanna spend 4 years of my life or more re-learning how to edit and turning on a camera? dont get me wrong, im not being cocky, im just saying...from what i've heard, there not all that good and still i dont wanna spend that much. Can anyone help me and tell me what to do??
AIM - N film B
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Old November 13th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #2
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Don't worry about learning the specifics of film. Insisting on knowing how to load film and operate a camera is like insisting on learning how to drive a bulldozer or work a table saw. Instead, learn how to build a house.

Develop the instincts to effectively tell stories. Develop the ability to communicate through visual and audio media.

The rest are just tools.

Learn about composition, lighting and pacing. Understand the "how" and "why". Get to know the bigger picture and you'll become successful. Focus on just the details and you'll be trapped by changes in technology.

There's tons to learn out there from a lot of sources. Don't judge a school in haste. Judge it by its reputation and its history of the talent it's turned out over the years. And no matter where you go, make the most of it. Be willing to listen and try things.

At the age of 18 you stand on the threshold of a corridor that could lead you toward a series of wonderful careers. You have a lot of time ahead but understand that all time is finite. Make the most of your opportunities. And follow your passions.

Good luck!
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
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Old November 13th, 2005, 06:21 AM   #3
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yo guiseppe, im nearly in the same situation but im 19 and ive been outa school for awhile but ive been working as a p.a. at the local abc affiliate out here in beaumont. i understand what your looking for as far as learning the basic film tools and soforth....cause i mean you gotta know how to cut wood before you can build a house. yeah so you should email me sometime id like to hear about what you do cause i wanna start filming local bands around here and i was thinking about doing it independently or possibly approaching an established studio or something to see if i can collaborate with them. but im also thinking about moving to vancouver in march so i dont know if i wanna dedicate myself anymore than i already am.. well anyway hit me up sometime i dont have anyone to talk to about film...its depressing.
get me another job.

Last edited by Jared Thomas; November 13th, 2005 at 10:19 AM.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 06:36 AM   #4
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Location: Lewisburg PA
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Advice from old professor

Go to the best liberal arts college or university you can get into and get a degree in literature, film, or theatre, or art, or biology or even business and keep working on video as you do it. Learn to write, think, imgaine.

At the end of the day in order to make films that stand out and have a chance of long-term success you need technical skills and experience but you also need to know culture. Production skills are almost a commodity or will soon become such as technology brings prices on equipment down.

Creative thinking, which has to be insipred by some knowledge of the content and history of world culture, is NOT a commodity, has never been, is not likely to become a commodity. Creative thinking is where all the money is.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #5
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Peter and Dean have given you some excellent advice.

I will answer your quetion directly. Yes, there are seminars and courses where you can learn how to load a 16mm or 35mm camera in a couple of weeks. I understand your desire to acquire a basic toolset, even as you expand your creative visualizations skills. It's not an 'either - or' proposition.

In fact, it's really a simultaneous track. Liberal arts education and degree is a good thing to have. A four year degree in just about ANYTHING is going to be required by the 'real world' of employers out there. A GOOD REEL is going to be required by the "REEL world" of film. No reason you can't work on both at the same time.

First step for you, is to see whats available locally. Community colleges, Non-profit film groups like AIVF might have local chapters that will offer seminars. Then there's the travelling seminars like Dove Siemmens three day film school. Some people like it, some hate it. IF it's the only way you can get the training on the gear you need, that's worth something. But I'd check into local production houses first to see if you can PA or assist on shoots. I worked with a local house in Houston,and when we shot on 35mm there was no shortage of people wanting to assist with a shoot. Just to stand and watch us load the cameras, understand what 'checking the gate' was all about, watching the 2nd AC at work keeping a camera log... things like that you won't get on a video shoot. Yeah, ask around I'm sure theres SOME film being shot in your location.

To be creative... THINK creative.

Why not start with these folks?
How long has Independent Pictures been around and how did you start?
Independent Pictures was founded 1993, in Cleveland, Ohio. The organization was borne out of a need to fill a void. Prior to Independent Pictures, there was no venue in Cleveland, where emerging filmmakers could exhibit their work to the public. When the founders realized they had no place to show their own films, they bonded with other independent filmmakers to fill the niche.

What started as a simple film festival in a small arts studio, has blossomed into a multifaceted film organization dedicated to the education and support of emerging film and video artists.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #6
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thanks alot guys. i def. got alot of choices i see. ill look into seminars some more too. But the thing is i live in Cleveland and theres almost nothing going on here ever.
AIM - N film B
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Old November 13th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #7
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also, ive been looking for that Dove Siemmens three day film school thing and i cant find information on it anywhere. Can anyone help me out here?
AIM - N film B
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Old November 15th, 2005, 10:47 PM   #8
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try going down to your local film rental house - to hang around watching ass't camerapersons check out the equipment ... most rental houses will let you practice loading when they are not busy ... rent a 16mm bolex or super 8 camera and give it a shot .... meet other camerapersons , AC's etc.

if there are no hands on film workshops in your area then consider going to where they shoot film daily = NY or hollywood for a weekend or week long workshop ...

film degrees are nice AND in the end graduates start off as PA/runners same as the person that didn't go to film school ... the FILM business is a very personal business .. it's "who" recommends you over your resume/film school ...

the 2 day workshops by dov S - you should have found something on it or him .. beware that "can't find info on it anywhere " isn't good enough in the "business" !!! AND don't give up - always hang in there and look a little more ..
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Old November 16th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #9
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Just my opinion, but the creative thinking is more important than the tool side. Being able to thread film doesn't tell a story. A degree in film does not make you a filmmaker. The ability to tell an engaging story with film/HD/DV does. Concentrate on knowing what is going on around you and absorb all the knowledge you can. Don't rely on school to teach you creative thinking.

Again, my opinion, at your age, worrying about film is moot anyway. That is a tool whose time is passing. As HD gets better and better, film will be pushed farther and farther to the side. Old school guys will hang on, but as more and more new talent comes in, film will slowly fade away.

This is not to disparage the medium, it has served us well for a long time. There will be people using it as long as companies make it, but they will become the minority.
Brett Noe | Filmmaker
Brett Noe Productions |
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Old November 16th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #10
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when i retired ( unofficial 1997 ..official retired 2000 because 2000 sounded better then 97) from the film business as a DP ( commercials- i only shot film) i was making $2500 a day ... i didn't know the technical things about film camera's = i didn't know how to load/unload , wasn't sure how to turn it on/off , zoom ? change lens ?? = the AC's took care of all that .. i just put my eye to view finder and operated and of course i lit the sets ..
so depending on what you want to do you may not need to know the fine details of camera ... AND as you say you do want to learn film today so do take a workshop AND consider that a degree is much more then just learning film.

if you go to college and major in FILM or what ever you do gain/learn much MORE then just the subject of your major ... there are many classes you can take that you can use with FILM/video to help/start the creative process !!
after being in the film business for XX years i can say that i really see nobody from the business these days as film friends tend to be temporary
..however i still see approx 20 friends from college = life long friends that have enriched my life more then the film business ..
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