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
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
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
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
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
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.
Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the course material.
Read, play with, and otherwise assimilate the 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.
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.
Making Movies 100: Adapting video game technology,
or, Introducing The Unreal Engine, The Unity Engine, The Crysis Engine, The . . . . . . .
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.