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a high school student with high hopes and determination


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#1 Laura Kress

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:27 PM

I am going to be a Junior in high school and I am planning to take on Peter Jackson's identity. only kidding...kind of.

But in all seriousness, I am determined to go into film. I, however, have no idea what colleges look for in a student or what I need to do to get accepted into a top film school. I have strong skills in graphic design. I don't know if this has anything to do with film but I have a good eye for color, composition, ect. I also have a strong background in music as I grew up/live with a very musical family. I play viola and have a lot of potential. What do I need to do to use these skills to my advantage in the film industry?

What should I do to prepare myself these next two years so that I have a good bases for when I have to apply to colleges. The main schools in my mind are USC and NYU...only because that's all I hear about when it comes to the best schools.

How much do SAT scores play a role in acceptance?

Anyways, I'm basically looking for any advice you may have! Thanks

-Laura
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 12:16 AM

1. Buy miniDV camera.
2. Read everything you can find concerning process of making films.
3. Write script.
4. Convince every friend you know and every relative you have to act, crew, schlep, feed cast and crew, etc.
5. Edit results.
6. Show to people - see how they react.
7. Do it all over again multiple times learning from previous results. Shoot some film rather than video.
8. Forget film school, if you're any good at all you'll find your own muse and have something original to say.
9. Farfetched? John Waters started this way.
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 04:24 AM

John Waters started with a MiniDV camera, those thing are older than I thought!!!???? :o Just messin' with ya buddy. :D
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 08:52 AM

I am going to be a Junior in high school and I am planning to take on Peter Jackson's identity. only kidding...kind of.

But in all seriousness, I am determined to go into film. I, however, have no idea what colleges look for in a student or what I need to do to get accepted into a top film school. I have strong skills in graphic design. I don't know if this has anything to do with film but I have a good eye for color, composition, ect. I also have a strong background in music as I grew up/live with a very musical family. I play viola and have a lot of potential. What do I need to do to use these skills to my advantage in the film industry?

What should I do to prepare myself these next two years so that I have a good bases for when I have to apply to colleges. The main schools in my mind are USC and NYU...only because that's all I hear about when it comes to the best schools.

How much do SAT scores play a role in acceptance?

Anyways, I'm basically looking for any advice you may have! Thanks

-Laura


Laura,

It's great that you're thinking about this so soon.

Start by reading every useful resource you can. Not everything written out there is worth your time and money. A list of many of the best resources is available at www.whatireallywanttodo.com. You'll also find a comprehensive list of filmschools worldwide there.

If you're truly interested in creating a real career, the sooner you can focus on one "job" the better. For instance, if you want to become a Director, don't waste your money by buying an expensive camera and editing equipment. Instead, invest more of your time in developing your writing skills. Find people around you who want to specialize in specific jobs, like camera, editing, makeup, etc. School is a great environment to meet with like-minded people who will help you as you help them. One of the biggest keys to success is having your name out there connected to quality work. At this stage of your budding career, get any camera and shoot simple shorts that are only a few minutes long. Watch as many of your favorite movies again as well as movies that aren't very good. Try to figure out what makes a great movie great and what those others did wrong. While your friends are out partying every weekend, use your time to make movies and by the time your ready to apply to a university film program, you'll have a body of solid work that will help your chances of being accepted into the school of your choice.

Building a project like this not only allows you to concentrate on what it is YOU really want to do for a living, but it also will establish you quicker as that person (Director, DP, Gaffer, Makeup Artist, etc) in the eyes of others and that will help you LIVE your life doing that job instead of spending more of your valuable time just trying to get there.

Good luck!
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 09:59 AM

Definitely focus on what you want to do. There's far too much to learn in any one field to muddy the waters trying to be an expert in all fields. Whether or not you go to a university program, try to expand your horizons, though. Film is of course a reflection of life and the world, in many ways, like anything "man made," is. As such, look into philosophy, art history, literature; basically the liberal arts et al. This will help you a lot when you approach new work, to draw parallels. (this is also why I personally suggest a university program, as you're then "required," to learn all these other things, or at least, LOOK at them).
Make friends with those, as was mentioned, who want to specialize in other fields, DPing, Sound, Editing. Trust me, there are probably at least a few of these people in any and all major cities. Look around, network, and take whatever you create and start getting it, or at least trying to get it, seen by others-- be that at film fests, or just your friend's basement (though film fests are probably something good to learn the politics of early on if one wants to direct).
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#6 Laura Kress

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 08:13 PM

Thanks to all of you! I really appreciate the advice!

Hal, what did you mean by "film rather than video"
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 08:50 PM

Thanks to all of you! I really appreciate the advice!
Hal, what did you mean by "film rather than video"

Once you've got some experience, shoot a film or two with a Super-8 or 16mm film camera rather than with a video camera. Film has a distinctive look to it and requires more design care in lighting, art decoration, etc. since you don't get to see it right away. It has a larger latitude, it will handle a wider range of light to dark than video which is quite a bit more limited. It's also quite a bit more expensive to go from camera to something that can be shown so it's much more important to "get it right" the first time with film. Really modern video equipment like RED is close to as good as film but it takes a professional budget to really have any chance of making a good looking film with cameras like a RED.

Lurk the Super-8 and 16mm forums here to learn about film shooting.
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#8 Laura Kress

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 09:04 PM

Once you've got some experience, shoot a film or two with a Super-8 or 16mm film camera rather than with a video camera. Film has a distinctive look to it and requires more design care in lighting, art decoration, etc. since you don't get to see it right away. It has a larger latitude, it will handle a wider range of light to dark than video which is quite a bit more limited. It's also quite a bit more expensive to go from camera to something that can be shown so it's much more important to "get it right" the first time with film. Really modern video equipment like RED is close to as good as film but it takes a professional budget to really have any chance of making a good looking film with cameras like a RED.

Lurk the Super-8 and 16mm forums here to learn about film shooting.


ah, I see.
thanks again!
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 09:22 PM

Thanks to all of you! I really appreciate the advice!

Hal, what did you mean by "film rather than video"



Film's a good idea, but try not to get hung up on it if your goal is to Direct or anything else than DP. Concentrate on writing, on the story, on learning how to direct Actors, and how to work and collaborate with your crew.

Film is definitely a good thing to have experience with, but if the cost and other factors are too difficult, don't let it stop you from just getting out there and making movies. The world of moviemaking is changing and there is nothing wrong with shooting electronically. :)
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#10 Laura Kress

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 10:00 AM

Film's a good idea, but try not to get hung up on it if your goal is to Direct or anything else than DP. Concentrate on writing, on the story, on learning how to direct Actors, and how to work and collaborate with your crew.

Film is definitely a good thing to have experience with, but if the cost and other factors are too difficult, don't let it stop you from just getting out there and making movies. The world of moviemaking is changing and there is nothing wrong with shooting electronically. :)



i'll keep that in mind! Thanks, Brian :)
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Metropolis Post

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rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Visual Products