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Old 09-11-2015, 05:28 PM   #1
timeless
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Looking for a Film School (and become a producer)

Plenty of forum members ditch the idea of going to film school because they think it's a waste of time and money. Getting a camera and start filming looks fine but I'm looking to learn with a proper school.

A want to learn all steps. From the idea (script) to distribution. I want to know how to write a script, film, direct, lighting, pitching the film…you name it. I don't want to be the best writer, director, editor, etc. I want to be able to find or build a team willing to make films with me.

What film schools do you guys recommend? A 3-year bachelor degree is too much for me. I was hoping for something shorter (like 1 year). I found IAFT in LA (http://www.iaft.net). is that a good one?

Networking seems like the best way to be successful in the business. I would prefer to study in Western Europe. Realistically, it's a bad idea?
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:52 PM   #2
Alcove Audio
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As you have limited resources I suggest that you go out and work on every project that you can for a while in any capacity available, cast or crew. Work, observe, learn. Read a lot of books, watch a lot of films.

Now you've learned what you need to learn.

I don't know how it works in Brazil, but in the US you can take or audit individual courses. Having worked on film sets - even no budget ones - it will give your lessons more immediacy.

If you want to produce don't forget the financial courses.
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Old 09-12-2015, 03:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timeless View Post
I want to know how to write a script, film, direct, lighting, pitching the film…you name it. ...
A 3-year bachelor degree is too much for me. I was hoping for something shorter (like 1 year).
EACH of the filmmaking crafts/tasks, such as writing a script, funding, cinematography, directing, editing, audio post, marketing (etc.), take a considerable amount of time just to learn the basics. Even a 3 year course is little more than an introduction to SOME of the film crafts. So "yes", a 1 year course is "Realistically a bad idea".

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Networking seems like the best way to be successful in the business.
No, networking is perhaps the best way to get into amateur filmmaking (which by definition is not "the business") but to get into the business (and be successful) you actually have to have a good knowledge of the business (and then network). Therefore, for the role of producer, maybe a course in business studies, preferably one aimed towards film/entertainment would be a good start, along with some practical experience of commercial filmmaking (PA/Runner to start with).

The other option would be a longer course specifically aimed at the role of producer but I don't know how many film producer courses there are, how good they are, or what pre-requisites (business and/or media qualifications) they may require.

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Old 09-12-2015, 03:28 PM   #4
timeless
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Thanks for the replies.

I already have business knowledge (not specifically in filmmaking but I guess it can be useful). Certainly I would love to go to a film school but realized it's easier to go to Harvard than going to one in CA. Saw one in Florida but tuition is around 80k. I was looking for something around half that.

If I simply decide to work and not go to film school. Where should I look for a job? L.A is the place to be? I don't mind working for free for up to 12 months if it could land me a job (taking into account I don't have experience).

What kind of job should I look for If I want to start in filmmaking and have no experience? Where should I look for, craigslist?

Last edited by timeless; 09-12-2015 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:18 PM   #5
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ever made a film? probably should start there.
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:20 AM   #6
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ever made a film? probably should start there.
Possibly, although going out and making a (no/nano budget) film is arguably of less benefit to an aspiring professional producer than just about any other film role. At the hobbyist/amateur level, many of the most important aspects of the professional producer's role either: Don't exist at all or are minor considerations which are executed completely differently.

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I already have business knowledge (not specifically in filmmaking but I guess it can be useful).
No, it's not really useful at all. Obviously it depends on what business knowledge/experience you already have, most likely it's better than none at all but even then it probably just represents a slightly better starting point, rather than anything directly useful.

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Certainly I would love to go to a film school but realized it's easier to go to Harvard than going to one in CA. Saw one in Florida but tuition is around 80k. I was looking for something around half that.
Most film courses are primarily aimed at those interested in the physical filmmaking roles; screen writers, actors, cinematographers, editors, directors, etc. As a producer, you have to know how these roles function and interact but you don't need to know how to physically do them yourself. Most film courses will therefore include a lot of exercises/work which will only indirectly benefit you and miss out completely or barely touch upon areas which are vital to the role of producer. Good/Useful producer specific courses are therefore likely to be either relatively long or post graduate courses and even after that, you're extremely unlikely to walk straight into a professional producer position without considerable experience in less responsible roles.

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Where should I look for a job? L.A is the place to be? I don't mind working for free for up to 12 months if it could land me a job (taking into account I don't have experience).... Where should I look for, craigslist?
1. LA is the most famous centre of the western filmmaking world and probably does represent the place with the greatest number of opportunities but this fact also means that everyone wanting to get into western filmmaking is attracted there. So while there maybe more opportunities, there's also far greater competition for them. Without an established reputation/track record, LA might not be the best place to try and start out. There's no correct answer to this question though (without the benefit of hindsight!).

2. Being a successful/professional producer means attracting at least hundreds of thousands if not millions in funding and then spending it wisely to produce a viable product. Learning how to produce a viable product takes a considerable amount of time, as does learning how to spend/allocate a budget wisely and then getting investors to trust that you're skilled/knowledgeable enough to represent a good bet, takes far longer again. Barring a miracle, 12 months is completely unrealistic! A decade or so is probably a more realistic goal, although hopefully much of that wouldn't be unpaid, it would be unpaid to start with and then hopefully paid lesser roles as you work your way up.

3. AFAIK, Craigslist is mainly for hobbyists, amateurs and students looking to complete a film. As they are generally looking to make films rather than products and as they have little or no budget to allocate (and little or no prospect of attracting any), they therefore represent little or no opportunity to learn or experience many of the aspects crucial to the role of the professional producer. By far the best potential opportunity for learning these aspects is to intern (PA/runner, etc.) on a commercial/professional budgeted production but again, being the potentially best professional learning opportunities means greater competition. Craigslist (or a similar site) may therefore be your most realistic option and at your stage, just learning some general filmmaking basics would at least be a step in the right direction.

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Old 09-14-2015, 10:15 AM   #7
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The most important thing is which institution would you be most comfortable with. The curriculum is important, of course, but you must be comfortable learning from those instructors, as well as the atmosphere of the school. I would therefore suggest going to the schools that interest you, talk to the students and instructors, and then decide.

Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2015, 06:37 PM   #8
timeless
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Thank you for the replies. I realize there is no linear path to success. Let's say I decide to make an indie film.



What I know is that everything begins with a good script. I'm reading a few books:

-Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder
-Screenplay by Syd Field
-Story by Robert McKee

Script Development:
I already have a nice story to begin. Let's say I make a nice script. Then I'll talk to some known writers for feedback. After a few changes, let's say I have a "great" and commercial script.
Story is great, doesn't rely on heavy SFX nor expensive production and most actors are young [= cheap to produce].

Pre-Production:
Hire an illustrator (not expensive) to do a story-board/concept.
Hire a manager to elaborate a budget/schedule.
Hire young talent (actors) willing to work for free IF I convince them the movie is going to be nice.
Location doesn't have to be in US but it's important for the actors to be speaking english (wider audience).
Hire a sound designer (just graduated student?). A close relative of mine knows an composer who worked in more than twenty feature films. Don't know if I could convince him to work for free (I certainly can't afford him) but I know I can talk to him directly and probably pitch him to help me.

Production:
Hire an director and DP. Again, look for somebody who's starting and is willing to work for (almost) free?
Hire an editor. Not easy I guess.

Promotion:
Let's say the final cut is nice and worthy of a festival. Do you guys think I could approach (or be approached by) some executive to finance another film?

More or less, is that how it works?
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timeless View Post
More or less, is that how it works?
No, that's not really how it works! You've made a few errors in your list of filmmaking phases but to be honest these are pretty insignificant compared to the overall "misconceptions" in your post. By your use of "Let's say", you've eliminated most of the improbabilities and near impossibilities a producer has to face and thereby effectively eliminated the role of producer itself, which is rather ironical considering you stated that you want to be a producer! Let me give you some examples:

1. "What I know is that everything begins with a good script.":- Not really! The process of making a film starts with a good script but making a film is the primary responsibility of the Director, not the Producer. A Producer's primary responsibility is to make a viable product and therefore there are commonly steps before the script.

2. "Let's say I decide to make an indie film." :- Your post describes no or nano budget indie filmmaking and as no/nano budget indies are virtually never viable products, why (as a producer) would you decide to make one?

3. "... let's say I have a "great" and commercial script. Story is great, doesn't rely on heavy SFX nor expensive production and most actors are young [= cheap to produce]." :- What you've described here is the holy grail of low budget filmmaking. It's what most film producers are searching for but which virtually none ever find. As a general rule: "great and commercial" and "cheap to produce" are mutually exclusive (near impossible)!

4. "Let's say the final cut is nice and worthy of a festival. Do you guys think I could approach (or be approached by) some executive to finance another film?" :- As a general rule, no. AFAIK, there are around 10,000 or film festivals around the world. The vast majority of them cater to the demand of amateur directors/filmmakers to screen their videos to an audience of family, friends and other filmmaking hobbyists. Commercial film investors/executives on the other hand have no interest in amateur/hobbyist videos, they are only interested in commercial products (and in those who make them). Therefore only a tiny number of film festivals, the major/top tier fests (which cater to the industry rather than to hobbyists), hold any real weight or interest for commercial investors/execs and even then, only a small minority of execs/investors. So, your "let's say" becomes a real problem because making a film/product "worthy" of a top tier festival requires considerable knowledge, skill, experience and resources.

Taken together, these examples give the impression that you don't really know what the role of a professional Producer actually is, the basic principles/philosophy of how a professional producer approaches film/product making. IMHO, you need to address these misconceptions before you go any further.

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