The Collective MacAvity
School Of Making Movies

Cassiel C. MacAvity


    So You Want To Go To "Film School" . . .

    Quite simply, Why Bother?

    Consider Hit, The, from the book Breaking Through, Selling Out, Dropping Dead and Other Notes on Filmmaking by William Bayer
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Through-Selling-Dropping-Filmmaking/dp/0879101237

    The only reason a major film studio ever finances a particular picture is because its management thinks that the picture will become a hit. The industry exists solely on account of hits. If there were no such thing, there would be no private money available for making films, and filmmakers would have to work on an extremely modest scale and under some system of subsidization.

    The filmmaker, although not adverse to making hits, has other interests, among them the making of good films. That many good films lose money is a natural consequence of the well-known thesis that artistic quality is irrelevant to pleasing the audience; the two don't seem to be connected---they may coincide, and then again, they may not.

    As far as learning about movies, there certainly are a number of different approaches, and opinions. Unfortunately of one of those approaches, the term "Film School" apparently does seem synonymous with "Someone else's employment program, and it ain't yours, you're one of the many people paying for that someone else's employment program.". Also, the bit about "Paying for it" does tend to be a sensitive subject.

    Here at The Collective MacAvity, we spent most of our time while in "Film School" going to A Lot Of Movies and then hanging out in the Theatre department. In fact we spent so much time in the Theatre department that one student in the acting program went momentarily ballistic when finding out that of the costume lab hours that were required of all Theatre students, not only did we have more costume lab hours than that student did, but as film students, we didn't even have to have any Theatre department costume lab hours at all . . . .

    Several years later, our main personal regret regarding our classes remains that we did not think to also take the lighting classes that were offered by the Theatre department---but not offered, as we possibly erroneously recall, by the "Cinema" department. Several years later, our main institutional regret regarding our classes remains that of scholastic focus: Any "Film Schools" that do not have their own entire degree program in the accounting, production, and distribution of making movies, taught there on site, continue to fail any and every one of their students.

    But of that last sentence, the context assumes that such "Film schools" actually expect a student of theirs to actually make a movie. The definite and repeated impression that keeps leaking from behind the "Film Schools" advertising states that the post graduate destination remains a place in the film crew of someone else, making the movie of someone else. We don't have any certainty of that understanding, but the thought does come to mind.

    So, several years later, our reaction to someone asking about a film program has become "Film program? Oh **Hell** no." A possible exception may include consideration of film history and analysis. If so, then A) that describes history far more than light levels and costume budgeting, and B) that remains the point of watching metric buttloads of all sorts of DVDs checked out, rented, or bought from everywhere. After all that live movie watching of actual movies, you then write up what comes to mind that you notice. If you need to, you can submit papers to assorted film related studies journals. If any journal you submit a paper to demands a "cinema" "degree", then submit instead to an actual journal that reads the paper, instead of the fake "journal" that does not.

    In turn, if you're looking at actual filmmaking, we welcome you to The Collective MacAvity School Of Making Movies.

    When you complete this program, you will assuredly not have a degree in "Cinema" issued by TCMSoMM. There is no institutional degree available from TCMSoMM at all, and besides, who wants to be in an institution? Equally so, your "Film" "Career" will not center upon general hopes that someone has a space on a film crew. When you complete this program, you will have completed at least five movies of at least ninety minutes length, starting from general notes and going all the way to cranking out DVDs available for sale or distribution.

    Of your tuition, it will cost whatever you pay for it. We of the Collective MacAvity remain very happy to receive donations of money---see back on that front page for details---but then we also keep having to pay rent and buy food and do other things like that.

    Your equipment also will cost whatever you pay for it, but with this approach, one round of buying The Best covers many subsequent rounds of use of the same one set of tools.

    Of filmmaking ideas . . . they will have to turn up where ever they can get dreamed up. We can't help you with that, we're digging up our own. Of our own ideas, we do note that while a number are original, a number of them do involve starting from someone else's ideas. No, not George Lucas' ideas, to name one possible starting point, but rather the ideas from someone(s) else.

    As a note; the following does tend to call for access to and use of PC hardware running Windows 7, and you can probably be fine with Mac, but You Will Have To See. We are indeed aware that Unix remains the superior computer operating system, but some of the specialized software cited below has yet to get ported to Unix. We are aware that such porting will happen sometime in the future, rather like knowing that the sun will come up in the morning, but that still remains the future and as of yet devoid of coherent detail. For those not yet familiar with Unix, BSD Unix is the core of the Macintosh OS X, and probably later, operating system, and The Collective MacAvity personally recommends FreeBSD, and recommends PCBSD as a reliable introduction to Unix.

    Of the following, there are indeed rather a few occurrences of the protomagical phrase "Assorted references through Google" . . . That would be because the material is constantly shifting and updating, and while Google has its faults, it does serve as a useful tool.

    Have fun . . . . . .



Making Movies 1a: Introduction to making movies
    Exactly as with the advice given to those interested in analysis of movies, and particularly if your interest in making movies is to add to the metric buttloads of all sorts of movies, then yes, included in your ongoing studies is entirely the same watching metric buttloads of all sorts of DVDs checked out, rented, or bought from everywhere.

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.

Course Material:

Breaking Through, Selling Out, Dropping Dead and Other Notes on Filmmaking by William Bayer
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Through-Selling-Dropping-Filmmaking/dp/0879101237

In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition by Walter Murch
http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Eye-Revised-2nd/dp/1879505622

Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince by Mark A. Vieira
http://www.amazon.com/Irving-Thalberg-Producer-Foundation-Humanities/dp/0520260481

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet
http://www.amazon.com/Making-Movies-Sidney-Lumet/dp/0679756604

Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded Edition by Michael Caine
http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Caine-Applause-Revised-Expanded/dp/1557832773

Producer to Producer: A Step-By-Step Guide to Low Budgets Independent Film Producing by Maureen Ryan
http://www.amazon.com/Producer-Step---Step-Independent-Producing/dp/1932907750

Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez
http://www.amazon.com/Rebel-without-Crew-23-Year-Old-Filmmaker/dp/0452271878

Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers by Beverly Gray
http://www.amazon.com/Roger-Corman-Blood-Sucking-Flesh-Eating-Cockroaches/dp/1560255552

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
http://www.amazon.com/Save-Last-Book-Screenwriting-Youll/dp/1932907009

Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of by Blake Snyder
http://www.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Strikes-Back-Screenwriters/dp/0984157603

The Total Film-Maker by Jerry Lewis
http://www.amazon.com/total-film-maker-Jerry-Lewis/dp/0394467574
See Also . . .
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=x4nbmPDoru3bqWiAlS,LD7Tuhns_7511300719_1:18:306&bq=author%3Djerry%2520lewis%26title%3Dtotal%2520film-maker

Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits (Warren Bennis Signature Series) by Robert Townsend
http://www.amazon.com/Up-Organization-Corporation-Stifling-Strangling/dp/0787987751

The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry by Brooke Wharton
http://www.amazon.com/Writer-Screwed-didnt-have-Entertainment/dp/0062732366

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Movies-Fun-Profit-Billion/dp/1439186758


Making Movies 1b: The background of making movies

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.

Course Material:

Related books that turn up in or connected to the Amazon.com pages that make up Film 1a.

Metric buttloads of all sorts of movies checked out, rented, found somewhere, or bought from everywhere.



Making Movies 1c: Introduction to writing movie scripts
Prerequisites to Making Movies 1c: Completion of Film 1a at least three times.
There are no waivers for the Making Movies 1c prerequisites.
Non-completion of the Making Movies 1c prerequisites guarantees failure of Film 1c.

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material. Write at least two movie scripts yourself. One for a five to twenty minute movie, one feature length. Do whatever it takes to get the scripts cranked out.

Course Material:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=writing+month&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1&=Google+Search

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=writing+movies&btnG=Search



Making Movies 100: Adapting video game technology,
or,
Introducing The Unreal Engine, The Unity Engine, The Crysis Engine, The . . . . . . .


Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material. Here is one spot where the coursework gets interesting. You are going to make a choice of some engine---or you might choose everything that comes along. But you will need to choose at least one video game creation engine to make any of these movies you have in mind, or you're reduced to going back to live action cameras.

Yes, sometimes just getting to the homework to do may require doing homework.

Course Material:

The Unreal Engine
Unreal Development Kit
http://www.udk.com/

Unreal support and documentation
http://udk.com/documentation

Unreal general support and documentation
Assorted references through Google


The Unity Engine
Unity
http://unity3d.com/

Unity support and documentation
http://unity3d.com/support/

Unity general support and documentation
Assorted references through Google


The Crysis Engine
Crysis
http://mycryengine.com/

Crysis Support and documentation
http://www.crytek.com/community

Crysis general support and documentation
Assorted references through Google


The Valve Source Engine
Source
http://source.valvesoftware.com/

Source support and documentation
https://steamcommunity.com/login/home

Source general support and documentation
Assorted references through Google



Making Movies 110: Building the characters and assorted props and sets

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.

Course Material:

Blender
Assorted references through Google

Blender Documentation and Support
Assorted references through Google


Autodesk Maya
Assorted references through Google

Maya Documentation and Support
Assorted references through Google


3d modelling software
Assorted references through Google

Animation and animated character development and motion
Google: animation book

The appearance of interpersonal action and reaction
Google: facial expression



Making Movies 120: Building the movie

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.

Course Material:

Sound engineering
Assorted references through Google

Building the lighting
Assorted references through Google

Cinematography
Assorted references through Google

Editing
Assorted references through Google




Making Movies 200: Distributing your completed movies

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.

Course Material:

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping by Paco Underhill
http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Buy-Science-Shopping/dp/0684849143

Keeping track of the production and distribution costs
Assorted references through Google

Film distribution fraud
Assorted references through Google

Film distribution marketing
Assorted references through Google

Posting on YouTube, or whatever else may work
Assorted references through Google

Making your own DVDs
Assorted references through Google



Graduation Thesis:

Coursework: Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material. Make any five movies of at least 90 minutes duration.

Course Material:

Breaking Through, Selling Out, Dropping Dead and Other Notes on Filmmaking by William Bayer
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Through-Selling-Dropping-Filmmaking/dp/0879101237

In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition by Walter Murch
http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Eye-Revised-2nd/dp/1879505622

Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince by Mark A. Vieira
http://www.amazon.com/Irving-Thalberg-Producer-Foundation-Humanities/dp/0520260481

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet
http://www.amazon.com/Making-Movies-Sidney-Lumet/dp/0679756604

Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded Edition by Michael Caine
http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Caine-Applause-Revised-Expanded/dp/1557832773

Producer to Producer: A Step-By-Step Guide to Low Budgets Independent Film Producing by Maureen Ryan
http://www.amazon.com/Producer-Step---Step-Independent-Producing/dp/1932907750

Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez
http://www.amazon.com/Rebel-without-Crew-23-Year-Old-Filmmaker/dp/0452271878

Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers by Beverly Gray
http://www.amazon.com/Roger-Corman-Blood-Sucking-Flesh-Eating-Cockroaches/dp/1560255552

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
http://www.amazon.com/Save-Last-Book-Screenwriting-Youll/dp/1932907009

Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... and Out of by Blake Snyder
http://www.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Strikes-Back-Screenwriters/dp/0984157603

The Total Film-Maker by Jerry Lewis
http://www.amazon.com/total-film-maker-Jerry-Lewis/dp/0394467574
See Also . . .
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=x4nbmPDoru3bqWiAlS,LD7Tuhns_7511300719_1:18:306&bq=author%3Djerry%2520lewis%26title%3Dtotal%2520film-maker

Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits (Warren Bennis Signature Series) by Robert Townsend
http://www.amazon.com/Up-Organization-Corporation-Stifling-Strangling/dp/0787987751

The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to): Guide to the Legal and Business Practices of Writing for the Entertainment Industry by Brooke Wharton
http://www.amazon.com/Writer-Screwed-didnt-have-Entertainment/dp/0062732366

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Movies-Fun-Profit-Billion/dp/1439186758






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Cassiel C. MacAvity