Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Few Basic Tips For Student Filmmakers

By Eliza Mendoza

A lot of people dream of making their own films. With the technology involved becoming a lot cheaper it is now a lot easier for people to create their own work. The ease of access is countered by the fact that there is more material out there and available to view on a range of websites. This is why it is more important than ever for student filmmakers to work on the basics of developing both their skills and their careers.

The first thing to think about is the kind of film you want to do. For some people they may wish to work in a specific genre in the future. At an early stage it can be difficult to do certain genres. For example period pieces are often difficult due to the need for authenticity while science fiction can often require a large budget.

However with a bit of inventiveness and budgeting you would be surprised what you are capable of on a limited budget. How you get that budget depends on what is available in your local area. A good example of entrepreneurial inventiveness in this respect is the director Robert Rodriguez.

Therefore it is vital to study the genre you want to be a part of. In some cases your influence may come from outside the genre as well. For example when filming Citizen Kane it was said that Orson Welles watched the John Ford western Stagecoach over a hundred times in order to learn how to direct effectively.

Ironically this would happen again in the Nineties when Quentin Tarantino would take the style of the French New Wave and fuse it with other influences to form his postmodern deconstruction of classic genres. This was often attributed to his days as a video library clerk. It was here that he was said to gain his now legendary obsession with a wide array of films.

The truth is that it is unlikely you will produce an instant hit. There is an old joke about how the people who become overnight successes took twenty years to get there. While this is intended as a joke there is a serious point in that people often see the finished product as opposed to the amount of work that went on behind the scenes.

This is crucial because theory alone is not enough. While it is important to study hard you have to think about what you do between semesters. Building up experience and working on your projects will give you a showreel that can then allow you to get more work.

As student filmmakers it is also vital you find the right course. There are many accredited courses that can help you develop your knowledge of the theory of film as well as learn more about the craft and creating work. With the right amount of both theory and practise you can eventually develop experience and get the full benefit from your studies.

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