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Old 02-18-2011, 07:32 PM   #1
tDOT
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How do you know, if you want to be a film maker?

Before I begin: I realize this may be off-topic to a degree, however It is the "Newbie" forum where Im "Considering film school" and "asking a question" I think that should validate this post?

Let me start...

I haven't picked up a camera in 4 years, I am 16 years old right now. I used to make videos on youtube, stupid ones, but they were fun because I did them with friends.

Im 16 years old and for about the last 10 months ive had one question in my mind. "What do I want to do?". Filmmaking is plausible for me, but theres something holding me back from doing this; the risk.

Let me tell you a little about myself first, and from a total unbiased response I want you guys to say if I should be a film maker or not.

It begins here....

Never liked sports as a kid, was enrolled in a few, never liked them. I am up for physical activity and exertion but not a sports person. Since the age of 10, Ive been active on the computer. At age 11 I created my own Server for a game I played, in which I got donations for running it. At age 12 I started web design for my server, and soon expanded it to a business at the Age of 14. At age 14 I ran a web design business for a few months earning some dough. I spent this money on a new computer and vacation for the family and often paid for restaurant meals where we dined. With the new computer I learned Sony Vegas, Flash CS4 (Already knowing Photoshop + Dreamweaver).

Recently Ive been thinking a lot more than often about my future. Science is no longer appealing to me. I can read about it, watch a documentary, and grow my knowledge as a hobby, but I don't see my self getting in to the science field where I would teach or research. I have secure funding if I wanted to go to university/college, but I'm sort of leaning away from it. I often find myself not going to certain classes in my school. Its not because its to hard or that im being bullied.

Its simply because my philosophy is "Why do something that doesn't count?". Ive understand everything Ive been taught, and never failed a course. In the easiest courses in the school, im getting 50's because I dont want to make an effort or attend class. I just want to pass the course and get the credit. Dont get me wrong, In the Unviersity Sciences, I took all 3, Im getting 70's. Its not impressive but again, I'm not trying. I'm only doing a minimum effort to grasp understanding of the subject. In the case of science I'll need 70's, but easier classes 50. I mean, why put an effort and waste time in a class that your going to pass anyways. Next year (grade 12) will it matter if I got a 90 in the easiest class? No, but Next year I'll try for a good GPA in case I want to go to university.

I dont find it necessary for a number or someone to tell you how smart you are. You should already know.

I dont find courses that are just knowledge interesting, but rather the ones that make you think (Psychology, Marketing, English, Philosophy).

// End mini bio...

Now, I'm not one of those people who from very early in their child hood declare they are going to be a film maker. I however, have been researching these past weeks about the career. Ive tried writing my frist screenplay and so far have written 3000 words, I can see the scenes and how the movie would play out (Perhaps I'll have better luck in cinematography) but I fail to write a strong character, and my plot is to complex. But at this point I feel like im forcing my self and Im feeling a sensation of doubt and regret - Perhaps its because Im trying to force myself a career?

I really dont know where im going at with this post, but really what Im asking here is your personal "story" or a description of the feeling... the emotion that you get when you knew you wanted to be a film maker.

Again, Im not here to ask about "Which camera to buy", because I already know theres much more to the business than just the camera (Lighting, Sound, Editing, Distribution, Casting, Scheduling, Business Side, Budgeting, Law, Permits, etc...). I am here to ask you about HOW and WHEN you knew you wanted to be a film maker, from point A to B.

Last edited by tDOT; 02-18-2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old Today   #1A
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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The first answer you're going to get will not be from a filmmaker, but from one of those who supports filmmakers. I sort of sidled into the film business. I started as a performer (keyboards, vocals, arranger) and worked my way up to become musical director of a very well known oldies group. Arthritis curtailed my performing career so I started working as a music recording engineer, which, for me, was not very fulfilling creatively. On the recommendation of someone I respected I migrated to audio post and have been doing that for almost 10 years now.

A director is a story teller. So if you enjoy telling stories that's one in your favor. But a director also needs to be a leader, a motivator and extremely organized among many, many other traits. When dealing with talent and crew the director needs to be a great communicator, with producers and investors a director needs to be a great salesman. With actors s/he needs to be confidant, tyrant, shrink and ass-kicker by turns. In other words you need to be a people person.

What you need to do is find something about which you are passionate. There are many other aspects of filmmaking that are very satisfying; there are hundreds of people in dozens of crafts that support the director; perhaps you would be happy there.

A little advice from an old fart... Go kick some ass at school. Yeah, it's boring, but 90% of what even creative people have to do is boring. You may be surprised at what you will learn if you really discipline yourself; and it's the discipline that is the most important lesson.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:08 PM   #3
tDOT
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Originally Posted by Alcove Audio View Post
The first answer you're going to get will not be from a filmmaker, but from one of those who supports filmmakers. I sort of sidled into the film business. I started as a performer (keyboards, vocals, arranger) and worked my way up to become musical director of a very well known oldies group. Arthritis curtailed my performing career so I started working as a music recording engineer, which, for me, was not very fulfilling creatively. On the recommendation of someone I respected I migrated to audio post and have been doing that for almost 10 years now.

A director is a story teller. So if you enjoy telling stories that's one in your favor. But a director also needs to be a leader, a motivator and extremely organized among many, many other traits. When dealing with talent and crew the director needs to be a great communicator, with producers and investors a director needs to be a great salesman. With actors s/he needs to be confidant, tyrant, shrink and ass-kicker by turns. In other words you need to be a people person.

What you need to do is find something about which you are passionate. There are many other aspects of filmmaking that are very satisfying; there are hundreds of people in dozens of crafts that support the director; perhaps you would be happy there.

A little advice from an old fart... Go kick some ass at school. Yeah, it's boring, but 90% of what even creative people have to do is boring. You may be surprised at what you will learn if you really discipline yourself; and it's the discipline that is the most important lesson.
Thanks for tale of your career. I do put effort in school, but just enough to understand the subject. For example, in science classes I would do everything with an effort, but not my best. I'm currently leaning towards dropping all three next year so I dont really feel the need to excel in it now.

Im curious about the whole experience though, I really am. Would you mind explaining your financial/emotional situation in detail from the beginning? (Day you left home) You can PM me it you would not like others to see. Its out of boundaries to ask for that, but then again it is your choice to respond or not.

Last edited by tDOT; 02-18-2011 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:29 PM   #4
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Hey!

Do you think you can be a Film Maker? Borrow yourself a Camcorder from a Friend and get out there and shoot!
You will never know until you shoot. Your Biography really doesnt have to do with "Am I a Film Maker or not".

Try your hand at directing, cinematography, editing, Sound, whatever you like.

Just get out there and shoot. You will see if you like it or not...


Film Maker is a tough job though, that I can tell you, even though I am barley 16 myself. I had loooots of work experience in America, UK and Germany and I tell you, it is not easy to work in the Film Industry. You really gotta rely on each other, but sometimes, your ego comes to good use.

Hope I could help out a little bit!
Regards
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:54 PM   #5
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look homie nobody can answer that question for you but yourself ( clichéd i know ) write some scripts, shoot some stuff, if you enjoy it go for it. and even if grades dont really matter in the actual process there still useful, i agree its bs but what if you want to get into college for film with a 50 average, and if you dont go and realize you cant break into the business at the top whose getting hired to run coffee you or the rich kid from insert school here with a diploma ... even if it is just coffee diploma daves winning. And the not paying attention stuff is an excuse cuz i pay zero attention (TRUST ME lol) and have a 90 avg overall ( were the same age with the same level of classes) . if you can do it DO IT

and you can
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Would you mind explaining your financial/emotional situation in detail from the beginning?
Very briefly... I started with piano lessons at age five; my first teacher was the concert master for the Jackie Gleason Orchestra (which will mean nothing to you...). At the age of 13 I was the organist for my church for four summer months while they looked to replace the organist/choirmaster who had been my organ, piano and theory teacher. That same year I purchased my first organ and amp (with my church organist money) and joined my first band. While in high school I was accompanist for the chorus, played keyboards in the jazz band (I had a better organ, a Wurlitzer electronic piano and a Micro-Moog synth plus amplification), played harpsichord in the Baroque orchestra and two Baroque ensembles and played piano and keys for the school plays. At 15 I was the accompanist and audio technician for a dance school. At 16 I was the organist/choirmaster of a small church. I also continued with various rock bands.

After high school I did my first pro cover band - Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano, Mellotron, Clavinet, MiniMoog. At 20 I moved into Greenwich Village, NYC to be part of an original band and started doing freelance studio sessions. At 21 I was a member of a notorious but short-lived punk/new wave act. I wanted to be a Rock Star (whatever that means) but was smart enough to listen to good advice from very highly respected industry legend who told me it would never happen, but that I could be the guy that makes the star sound great. So at 22 I toured for almost two years with a "hotel" band; you stay at one hotel for one to five weeks (with endless hours to practice) and then do a week of one night stands to the next hotel. At 24 I joined a well established all-business dance/rock cover band; we played over 330 gigs a year. From there I joined the oldies band; only about 160 gigs a year (at four times the money), but included venues like Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theatre, The Beacon Theatre, Westbury Music Fair, The NY/NJ Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden and similar venues around the country. I also produced an album and several singles for them

Over this time I had built a home studio to do arranging and preproduction work for numerous acts and to experiment with my own material. As a session player I continuously kibitzed with many great recording engineers and would fly second chair on the occasional session, usually mixdowns. Upon my enforced retirement from performing I started working as a recording engineer and became chief house engineer for a small facility in the Bronx. I went back to school to get my Pro Tools certification and, upon the recommendation of one of the instructors and a few other folks, got into audio post - eight years ago opened my own audio post facility.

It's been an interesting 50+ years.

Through it all I always worked my ass off. When others were off partying I was practicing, jamming with other musicians, listening, reading tech manuals, programming my synths, experimenting in my studio. And that's not to say that there haven't been tough times, and that I have not worked other jobs - I pumped gas, waited tables, did food service, retail sales, broadcast music and, believe it or not was the operations manager for a small firm for several years. It's all about discipline and dedication - and talent.
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:49 PM   #7
tDOT
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Originally Posted by Phil_UK View Post
Hey!

Do you think you can be a Film Maker? Borrow yourself a Camcorder from a Friend and get out there and shoot!
You will never know until you shoot. Your Biography really doesnt have to do with "Am I a Film Maker or not".

Try your hand at directing, cinematography, editing, Sound, whatever you like.

Just get out there and shoot. You will see if you like it or not...


Film Maker is a tough job though, that I can tell you, even though I am barley 16 myself. I had loooots of work experience in America, UK and Germany and I tell you, it is not easy to work in the Film Industry. You really gotta rely on each other, but sometimes, your ego comes to good use.

Hope I could help out a little bit!
Regards
Your only 16 with that much experience? Do you attend school? And If so, how do you have experience in other countries / continents at such a young age?

Also, where do you get your funding?
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:00 AM   #8
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perfect place for the "You know you want to be a filmmaker when..." sorta setup..

Ill go first.

You know you want to be a filmmaker when...

you missed the super bowl because you were following along with a video copilot AE tutorial.

your constantly rewinding movies, to the annoyance of the entire family, to point out cool camera work.

your obsessed with lights.

you go weeks without watching TV because your working on your own movies.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tDOT View Post
I am here to ask you about HOW and WHEN you knew you wanted to be a film maker, from point A to B.
Point A:
At about 13 I found my dad’s old camera in a closet, loaded a roll
of film and shot something stupid. I was hooked.

Point B:
I decided to make a film every week. I managed to make two a month
for the next three years. Short little projects with my friends. I
made sure I tried something I hadn’t tried before with each one.

I think I may be getting close to Point L or maybe M by now.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wheatgrinder View Post
perfect place for the "You know you want to be a filmmaker when..." sorta setup..

Ill go first.

You know you want to be a filmmaker when...

you missed the super bowl because you were following along with a video copilot AE tutorial.

your constantly rewinding movies, to the annoyance of the entire family, to point out cool camera work.

your obsessed with lights.

you go weeks without watching TV because your working on your own movies.
You know you want to be a filmmaker when...

...you find the number 666 stamped on your scalp and you think it's the magic preset for sharpness, contrast, and saturation.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:19 AM   #11
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To answer the topic title, I personally know I want to be a filmmaker because it is one of the few things I can actually see myself doing in the future. The thought of getting out there and making something new, something people want to see is great for me. I haven't filmed anything so far, but as soon as I can it'll be hard to stop. I hate being cheezy, but I actually get a spark when I think about making films or when I'm writing a short story.

And, like others have said, its a tough job. I've researched a bit into this and I can safely say its not for everyone. You will face tons of frustrations and hardships and probably be poor as hell. ( I see filmmaking as a second job, my first job will be the means ny which I can make my films possible).

You'd have to be very dedicated and not give up easily. I believe a good director is one who can face and solve problems effectively. Like I already said, its not for everyone. I imagine there are lots of people who think filmmaking is for them but they give up after they run out of money or just can't achieve a decent film. If you suck at first, keep trying. If, after many attempts you still can't make anything that's watchable, then...maybe this isn't cut out for you. Having a good back up is very important!
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:55 AM   #12
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Before I answer your questions, I'd like to say that I don't think you should discount the value of an education in liberal arts (meaning you learn a little bit about a bunch of stuff, before focusing on one particular subject). You might not choose to go to university, and that's fine, but you definitely shouldn't overlook the value of a college education. Besides the fact that your job opportunities will expand with a degree, I also think it can be beneficial to life, to have a more well-rounded education.

That being said, you don't have to get a college education to have a successful career. My best friend doesn't have a college education, and he makes more than I do.

As far as your grades are concerned, it's not about validating your own intelligence; it's about proving to others (like university admissions) that you are capable of working hard to complete the work. I think it'd be a good idea to focus your studies for the remainder of your schooling, just in case.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you're a filmmaker. So, just start doing it. You'll know if it's for you if/when you get hooked.

How and when did I know I wanted to be a filmmaker? Depends on how you look at it.

I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was a little kid. I would estimate, some time around the age of 10, I started fantasizing about making movies. For me, I never thought it realistic. I thought it was a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, like trying to become president or something.

I knew I could be a filmmaker when I took a filmmaking class, sort of by accident. It was a prerequisite to get into a music program. I had tons of fun, and I was good at it. So, I was like, damn, I can do this! That was about five years ago, and I've essentially been a stereotypical "starving artist" since then, except I don't starve ("starving artist" -- someone who works in a restaurant to support a their aspirations as an artist).

You're getting an early start. That's great. So get started! You sound like a real capable creative person, and that goes a long way.

Film school? Maybe. Maybe not. University? Maybe. Maybe not. Filmmaker? Definitely!
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:13 AM   #13
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Very briefly... I started with piano lessons at age five; my first teacher was the concert master for the Jackie Gleason Orchestra (which will mean nothing to you...). At the age of 13 I was the organist for my church for four summer months while they looked to replace the organist/choirmaster who had been my organ, piano and theory teacher. That same year I purchased my first organ and amp (with my church organist money) and joined my first band. While in high school I was accompanist for the chorus, played keyboards in the jazz band (I had a better organ, a Wurlitzer electronic piano and a Micro-Moog synth plus amplification), played harpsichord in the Baroque orchestra and two Baroque ensembles and played piano and keys for the school plays. At 15 I was the accompanist and audio technician for a dance school. At 16 I was the organist/choirmaster of a small church. I also continued with various rock bands.

After high school I did my first pro cover band - Hammond Organ, Rhodes Piano, Mellotron, Clavinet, MiniMoog. At 20 I moved into Greenwich Village, NYC to be part of an original band and started doing freelance studio sessions. At 21 I was a member of a notorious but short-lived punk/new wave act. I wanted to be a Rock Star (whatever that means) but was smart enough to listen to good advice from very highly respected industry legend who told me it would never happen, but that I could be the guy that makes the star sound great. So at 22 I toured for almost two years with a "hotel" band; you stay at one hotel for one to five weeks (with endless hours to practice) and then do a week of one night stands to the next hotel. At 24 I joined a well established all-business dance/rock cover band; we played over 330 gigs a year. From there I joined the oldies band; only about 160 gigs a year (at four times the money), but included venues like Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theatre, The Beacon Theatre, Westbury Music Fair, The NY/NJ Meadowlands, Madison Square Garden and similar venues around the country. I also produced an album and several singles for them

Over this time I had built a home studio to do arranging and preproduction work for numerous acts and to experiment with my own material. As a session player I continuously kibitzed with many great recording engineers and would fly second chair on the occasional session, usually mixdowns. Upon my enforced retirement from performing I started working as a recording engineer and became chief house engineer for a small facility in the Bronx. I went back to school to get my Pro Tools certification and, upon the recommendation of one of the instructors and a few other folks, got into audio post - eight years ago opened my own audio post facility.

It's been an interesting 50+ years.

Through it all I always worked my ass off. When others were off partying I was practicing, jamming with other musicians, listening, reading tech manuals, programming my synths, experimenting in my studio. And that's not to say that there haven't been tough times, and that I have not worked other jobs - I pumped gas, waited tables, did food service, retail sales, broadcast music and, believe it or not was the operations manager for a small firm for several years. It's all about discipline and dedication - and talent.
Woaw, what a life.

Im glad though that your financial situation never was to bad where you had to end up leaching off a friend.

Do you have a imdb or website where I can see your work?
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:16 AM   #14
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