Discussion:
movie question of the day: have film schools improved or worsened the caliber of filmmakers?
(too old to reply)
anthead
2006-07-02 17:53:29 UTC
Permalink
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
Derek Janssen
2006-07-02 18:17:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think.
(So, now that Gaza's thinking "Gosh, they answered me--I've made my
RAMC-F/AMS/AMK comeback at last!...Oh, the forgiving power of bad
memory! :) ", and delusioning himself that we've all lovingly embraced
him to our net-intelligencia bosom "again", what recycled thread header
from '00-'02 will turn up in Monday's offering?

Current betting odds (windows close at 11:59 Sunday PM EST) are
- Godfather/Scarface - 1:2 prohibitive
- Planet of the Apes - Even money
- Film Critics - 2:1; mention of Kael/Kaufmann, even money
- Kubrick - 3:1; comparison with Scorsese, 3:2; mention of "Eyes Wide
Shut", scratched
- Once Upon Time In West - 5:1
- Eastwood westerns - 7:1
- John Wayne - 10:1
- Matrix/SW - 15:1
- Sixth Sense - 25:1
- My Dog Skip - 40:1

Derek Janssen (but, y'know, not like he's in a *rut*, or anything)
***@comcast.net
ForAFunTimeCall
2006-07-02 21:48:09 UTC
Permalink
They've definitly helped improve the tecnical end of film making. The
creative side is a differnet matter.
bru
2006-07-03 03:07:16 UTC
Permalink
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.

it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.

schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
Al Smith
2006-07-03 05:20:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
b***@mail.com
2006-07-04 02:23:41 UTC
Permalink
that is true of all "art" schools. they are ill equipped to teach
"vision". more to the point,,,,they can't. but that is something we
already know,,,creative genius comes from within, so it's no reason to
blame schools. to the point of the thread,,,,maybe there's too damned
much knowledge out there, so the unique talent is already slightly
tainted.

i believe the cream will still rise, though. you just have to accept
that it's all different nowadays. in art, there's too many teaching the
same thing, and too many cliques looking at the same things......i'll
put my money on the talented loner who quits school.
Post by Al Smith
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Wordsmith
2006-07-04 20:59:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
Post by bru
you're comparing directors/film school today versus directors/no film
school long ago.
it's a loaded question. they had to be more creative long ago BECAUSE
there was no film school. film was in its infancy. being creative long
ago meant creating something new. being creative today means putting a
new twist on something old. making a good film, like making good art,
means revealing the truth in some way. that's the commonality of all
great artists.
schools may turn out cookie cutter directors, but there will always be
someone who understands better than others. difference is, he has more
to draw upon than past directors. you may see that as a negative but it
depends on what you mean by great directors. for me, i'm not looking
for groundbreaking film by groundbreaking directors. i'll leave that
search to people who only seem to be appeased by that.
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
You can't reverse it, though: Orson's got stuff to say, but he has
technique as well.

W : )
Al Smith
2006-07-04 23:58:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wordsmith
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
Post by Al Smith
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
You can't reverse it, though: Orson's got stuff to say, but he has
technique as well.
W : )
True. Then there's the necessity to say it within reasonable
bounds of time and expense. Orson wasn't so good at that part.
Nick Rowland
2006-07-05 13:37:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience. That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Firstly, Spielberg did not go to film school, secondly I really
struggle to realise how so much of what a film 'has to say' relies on
the Director, surely the essential message lies in the script and the
director just amplifies it?

As for whoever said anything about "Film-Beethovens" being missed as a
result of film school, it is very hard to run a parallel between music
composition and film making, but if you see it fit to make one then I
think it well to point out that Beethoven did have Music lessons and
did study music with certain important musical figures at the time, and
in any case, musical composition is not nearly as technical as film
making.

The same can be said for Da Vinci and Michaelangelo -- both were
apprentices of fine artists in their early years, and Mozart as well
was taught inteively in the art of music.

So if all of these great artists had training in their specific art,
surely that suggests that film school ain't that bad.

Yes you say that the director's of yester-year Orson Wells, Kubrick et
al. did not go to film school, but that is, as is the common standard
when a new art form is invented, there were indeed no schools available
to be taught!

Modern film directors such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola,
Woody Allen (to some extent) and David Lynch all went to film school,
and may I just point out that the Godather is arguably one of the
greatest films ever made (as said by Kubrick himself) and that Scorsese
in recent polls by UK's Empire magazine, 3rd best Director of all time,
No. 2 going to Hitchcock and No. 1 to Spielberg (accompanied by a
lengthy article defending this choice).

So is film school ruining modern cinema? No. As said already in this
thread, the thing that is ruining modern cinema is the business, which
I would like to add is one the decline with the box office failures of
King-Kong, The Island and other blockbusters, as well as the results of
this years Oscars (Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Capote) coming out top,
Geroge Lucas himself has said that in a decade or two he thinks there
will be little space for the typical blockbuster anymore.
Boaz
2006-07-06 03:25:47 UTC
Permalink
I'll take Gaza's silly bait and offer my own views of this topic.
Post by Al Smith
Post by Al Smith
You know what no school can teach? What a director chooses to say.
They were never meant to. Learning by doing is what film schools have
done best. The former would be like some aspiring writer expecting the
University of Iowa Writing Workshop to tell them what to say. You can't
teach a point of view, and if one expects it they have no business
going to school to begin with, let alone trying to become an artist.
Post by Al Smith
Post by Al Smith
That is infinitely more important than technique, which is just a
way to get the information he wants to convey across to the
audience.
Once one understands technique then it becomes easier for the filmmaker
to find their own voice and express themselves in ways that make them
stand out from the others.
Post by Al Smith
That's what separates an Orson Welles from a Steven
Post by Al Smith
Spielberg. Spielberg has got the technique, but he has nothing to say.
Firstly, Spielberg did not go to film school, secondly I really
struggle to realise how so much of what a film 'has to say' relies on
the Director, surely the essential message lies in the script and the
director just amplifies it?
Six of one, half a dozen of the others. It really depends upon if the
director has worked closely with the writer(s). A lot of directors know
what they want to say, but often don't have the skills to dramatize
them in the form of a script, usually comprising dialogue and fleshing
out characters, especially where subtext is concerned. This can vary
from filmmaker to filmmaker. What the director brings is the ability to
forge all of these elements of story, acting (casting also reflects the
director's vision), photography (knowing the camera and how it is used
isn't just for the DP), sound and editing together and make something
that is worth the time for an audience to watch.

Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Post by Al Smith
As for whoever said anything about "Film-Beethovens" being missed as a
result of film school, it is very hard to run a parallel between music
composition and film making, but if you see it fit to make one then I
think it well to point out that Beethoven did have Music lessons and
did study music with certain important musical figures at the time, and
in any case, musical composition is not nearly as technical as film
making.
No school is created to turn out geniuses. But the "genius" can take
advantage of what they learn in school; refining their talent, honing
their skills, and doing exercises that help see where their strengths
are as well as their weaknesses. A film school that does nothing but
offer lectures and films to screen isn't worth attending.
Post by Al Smith
The same can be said for Da Vinci and Michaelangelo -- both were
apprentices of fine artists in their early years, and Mozart as well
was taught inteively in the art of music.
Schools can be someplace other than the classroom.
Post by Al Smith
So if all of these great artists had training in their specific art,
surely that suggests that film school ain't that bad.
Exactly. (By the way, I am in agreement with you all the way, Nick.)
Post by Al Smith
Yes you say that the director's of yester-year Orson Wells, Kubrick et
al. did not go to film school, but that is, as is the common standard
when a new art form is invented, there were indeed no schools available
to be taught!
Kubrick was self-taught, yes, but he'd already had experience "in the
field" as a still photographer for Look. If anyone has seen his various
photo essays they will see that Kubrick was already using the camera to
tell stories. It is why his shorts and industrials were successful
enough. By the time he went to feature filmmaking with "Fear and
Desire," Kubrick quickly learned the big difference in trying to tell a
story and convey serious themes on a bigger canvas. He has since
dismissed F&D as a "student film done in 35mm." He himself knew it was
an expensive learning experience. And what was spent was as much as
tuition today in some schools.

As for Welles, he'd had extensive experience in theater, going back to
his prep school days. His days of doing radio was helpful in directing
live performances and using sound and music effects to tell the story.
All that was needed once he got to Hollywood was an understanding of
camera and editing. Greg Toland was Welles' "instructor" in that area,
and Welles' films have always had a similar look to them since.
Post by Al Smith
Modern film directors such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola,
Woody Allen (to some extent) and David Lynch all went to film school,
and may I just point out that the Godather is arguably one of the
greatest films ever made (as said by Kubrick himself) and that Scorsese
in recent polls by UK's Empire magazine, 3rd best Director of all time,
No. 2 going to Hitchcock and No. 1 to Spielberg (accompanied by a
lengthy article defending this choice).
Scorsese not only learned about film at NYU, he also taught there while
as a graduate student. He was able to use school equipment to make his
early works, which was a money saver. Many people attend film schools,
or will take film classes, just to use the "free" equipment and get
student rates with the labs. (I'm talking about shooting real film,
mind you, not shooting video.) Using classmates to help work as a crew
not only saves money, it also forges professional relationships down
the line.

Coppola had a degree in Theater from Hofstra. He attended UCLA to get
his Masters in Cinema. He apprenticed with Roger Corman, which was a
great experience for him -- hands-on training. He'd directed "Dementia
13," which Corman allowed him to do when the only way to liquidate some
funds in Ireland was to simply make a film -- a horror film, of course.
When Coppola did get his Masters it was from making a for-real feature
film, "You're a Big Boy Now." He was able to get the school to allow
him to use this feature as his Masters Thesis project, even though it
was done on the outside, but before Coppola had finished his graduate
program.

David Lynch was a painter who had attended art school in Pennsylvania.
He made experimental short films as well, and upon making one short,
"The Grandmother," with AFI grant money, he was admitted into AFI's
Center For Advanced Film Studies, when it was still a fairly early
program. (Terrence Malick was among the first class of the school in
1969. Lynch entered the program in 1972.) "Eraserhead" was Lynch's
Masters Thesis film. It took him five years to complete it. When Mel
Brooks saw the finished film he signed Lynch to direct "The Elephant
Man."

As for the early directors, such as Ford, Hawks, Walsh, et. al., the
industry was so new that it was still being developed, and Ford and the
others were learning from the ground up. Ford's older brother, Francis,
was already a successful stage actor, and was making his own silent
films, and that's how young John Ford entered the business (and
changing his name from Sean Feeney to the more American sounding Jack
Ford in the process, since the Irish were still looked down upon as
scum, even in the burgeoning movie business). Ford, Walsh and von
Stroheim got to work for D. W. Griffth, when he was making "Birth of a
Nation." They all had bit parts (Walsh played John Wilkes Booth), and
all were among Griffith's "assistants." Later on, Ford worked as an
assistant director at Universal, working on B-westerns. Carl Lammele,
the owner of Universal, was impressed at the way Ford yelled and swore
at the cowboy extras (they were real cowboys, old ranch hands looking
for steady work) to get them properly motivated for a scene, and he
promoted Ford to full fledged director. Ford's "film school" was making
two-reeler westerns, mostly with Harry Carey. They were one-week shoots
where Ford and Carey often improvised on the location, taking what was
there (or wasn't there) in the script and trying for something better.
Ford had some theater experience in his home state of Maine, enough to
know he hated acting; and he also was a talented art student. His
natural eye for composition and lighting (honed by those B-westerns
with Carey) helped make him the artist we know today.

Also, film schools are no guarenteed entrees into the industry. One can
spend a lot of time and money, having a number of impressive and
creative reels, but may still end up working on a very low budget film
in a low level crew position. For every Lynch, Coppola and Scorsese,
there are tens of thousands of people with diplomas, "calling card"
reels (and a huge student loan debt), no less talented, trying to eke
out a living.
Post by Al Smith
So is film school ruining modern cinema? No. As said already in this
thread, the thing that is ruining modern cinema is the business, which
I would like to add is one the decline with the box office failures of
King-Kong, The Island and other blockbusters, as well as the results of
this years Oscars (Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Capote) coming out top,
Geroge Lucas himself has said that in a decade or two he thinks there
will be little space for the typical blockbuster anymore.
Many people who bypass film school and try to make their first feature
will often fail because they are following the pattern of other
successful filmmakers, turning what was considered "unique" among the
"independents," into a cliche. What is the difference between a
done-to-death low budget movie (maybe shot on video) about yet more
quirky and dysfunctional people, or yet the latest in the Tarantino
wannabe competition, and a studio financed film that might deal with
the same subject? If the wannabe is simply imitating what was at one
time "original" in the same way that a studio is doing it then there
really isn't much difference, except how much money gets to be spent,
and therefore how much added "production value" is allowed. And the
filmmaker isn't much different than the student in film school doing
the same thing.

Boaz
("I like to viddy the old films now and then.")
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:24:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Spielberg went to CSULB because he wasn't accepted by the film school
at
USC, then the finishing school for mainstream Hollywood.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Boaz
2006-07-06 14:51:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by MFalc1
Post by Boaz
Spielberg had been making his own films in 8mm long before he went to
college. He was at Cal State Long Beach (hardly a bastion of higher
education, mind you) for maybe a year or so, then dropped out when he
realized there was nothing useful he could learn from the place.
Spielberg went to CSULB because he wasn't accepted by the film school
at
USC, then the finishing school for mainstream Hollywood.
He also didn't get into USC because he didn't have a BA yet. Lucas and
those from that group of SC were already grad students, working in the
Masters program. (One of my film instructors from college was among
that class. He later returned back east and taught, which is how I got
to know him and learn a bit about the program at USC.)

What film school did you go to? Just curious. I noticed in another
thread you said you were a PA volunteer at AFI. I was an actual Fellow
(cinematography) there a few years earlier. The term "finishing school"
was used a lot by outsiders, people who "volunteered" to do PA work,
often in a rancorous way. I think it was because some had tried to get
into the school, couldn't, and this was their only other way to do so.
I had to deal with my share of them, especially those who had worked on
a TV show or two. For the first year projects they would hover around
the monitor, kibbitzing over a shot as I was trying to light it. Those
people didn't last long. The volunteers who knew their jobs and did
them well were put on a list and welcomed back when needed (and if they
were available.)

Still, having people see what was really going on with the productions
at AFI was better than those who thought we were nothing more than a
bunch of spoiled brats and ivory tower elitists who just sat around and
watched films. Hardly.

Sometime after graduation, and trying to assimilate myself into the
industry, I met this person who had gone to CSULB. He still needed
several more credits to graduate, but he was studying film there, and
he also thought Spielberg was God. (In fact, he was not familiar with
Kubrick until I recommended he see "2001" at the Dome.) I think he was
among those there who thought if he breathed the same air Spielberg did
he would be as successful. Out of curiosity I checked the school and
the one teacher he looked up to out one time. At best it is a trade
school; I've seen junior colleges back east with better filmmaking
programs.

Spielberg "buying" his BA later on at SC was not only a fiscal gesture
to the school, but a symbolic one for him; he could now wear his "film
school brat" badge of honor. He really didn't need it. His days doing
TV movies and episodic TV at Universal was his real "film school."

Boaz
("See that guy at the piano? I went to medical school with him.")
MFalc1
2006-07-06 21:07:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Boaz
What film school did you go to? Just curious. I noticed in another
thread you said you were a PA volunteer at AFI. I was an actual Fellow
(cinematography) there a few years earlier. The term "finishing school"
was used a lot by outsiders, people who "volunteered" to do PA work,
often in a rancorous way. I think it was because some had tried to get
into the school, couldn't, and this was their only other way to do so.
I had to deal with my share of them, especially those who had worked on
a TV show or two. For the first year projects they would hover around
the monitor, kibbitzing over a shot as I was trying to light it. Those
people didn't last long. The volunteers who knew their jobs and did
them well were put on a list and welcomed back when needed (and if they
were available.)
Still, having people see what was really going on with the productions
at AFI was better than those who thought we were nothing more than a
bunch of spoiled brats and ivory tower elitists who just sat around and
watched films. Hardly.
Actually, my AFI PA stint was the extent of film school for me. In
1990, I worked as a production coordinator for Michael Cain, a
producing fellow who, along with writer Sara Bernstein (who later wrote
TRIAL AND ERROR with her husband Greg) and director Joe Tiburczky, made
a second-year film called JUST LIKE HIM (originally titled SUMMER
RAIN)-a coming-of-age tale about two teen brothers played by Dean Cain
and Miles (brother of Max) Perlich.

At that point, I finished volunteering and went back into
extra/stand-in work (for Joe Pesci and Wallace Shawn among others). I
received my SAG card after being given a line on CHAPLIN and left the
film industry behind in 97 for other pursuits.

I learned a little bit about being a boom operator and, on several
projects, did the equivalent of runner duties. And, regarding the
"watching films" part, I did sit in on a few of James Hosney's Friday
night screenings including THE LETTER, 3 WOMEN and DOUBLE INDEMNITY,
which was a good learning experience in its own way.

Mark L. Falconer (aka Terry McCarty)-
film, music and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Boaz
2006-07-07 02:36:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by MFalc1
Actually, my AFI PA stint was the extent of film school for me. In
1990, I worked as a production coordinator for Michael Cain, a
TRIAL AND ERROR with her husband Greg) and director Joe Tiburczky, made
a second-year film called JUST LIKE HIM (originally titled SUMMER
RAIN)-a coming-of-age tale about two teen brothers played by Dean Cain
and Miles (brother of Max) Perlich.
Sounds like some good hands-on experience. If one is helping out at a
film school but not as a student there, AFI is one of the best to do
it.
Post by MFalc1
At that point, I finished volunteering and went back into
extra/stand-in work (for Joe Pesci and Wallace Shawn among others). I
received my SAG card after being given a line on CHAPLIN and left the
film industry behind in 97 for other pursuits.
Too bad. AFI has a deal with SAG that enabled the fellows to pick from
a selection available in their on-campus office. (Thick three-ring
binders of photos that made one think of police mugshots.) The majority
of people cast were those who had been grandfathered in and were still
trying to get an agent or better parts. But I guess after working with
Attenborough it would have been hard to go back. ;-)
Post by MFalc1
I learned a little bit about being a boom operator and, on several
projects, did the equivalent of runner duties. And, regarding the
"watching films" part, I did sit in on a few of James Hosney's Friday
night screenings including THE LETTER, 3 WOMEN and DOUBLE INDEMNITY,
which was a good learning experience in its own way.
Hosney, eh? Still teaching there, huh? And FRIDAY nights now; they used
to be on Wednesday nights when I was a fellow there. The only good
thing about his class (for me anyway) was being able to see good
quality 35mm prints of films that I would have had to settle for in
16mm (and often did) in college. Only one film that I recall was shown
in 16mm, because a 35mm print wasn't available; it was "Celine and
Julie Go Boating." It was a 16mm print from a 35mm internegative, but
the film was originally shot in 16mm. The quality wasn't that good,
needless to say. But, then, neither was the film. (I once mentioned it
several years later to a woman I was dating, an American who studied
dance in Paris; she too had seen it, and I had to listen to her rant in
the car, on our way to dinner, about how much she HATED it too.)

I always thought Hosney was the weakest link in the faculty chain at
AFI, because he was a professor and had no real experience "in the
field," as the rest of the faculty had. (Our directing, writing,
producing and cinematography faculty were made up of people who were
still working, with only one or two people retired. We even had Donald
Sutherland conduct a six week lecture on Film Analysis From an Actor's
Perspective. It was every Monday afternoon.) I didn't care for Hosney's
pat approach in saying this film influenced that one, or this director
was influenced by that director, when he never really gave specific
points to prove it, letting the film be the example. Often it was a
stretch to see a connection; other times it was a no-brainer, so there
was nothing new or revelatory about what he had to say most of the
time. I thought he was something of a pompous ass, but that is just my
opinion. The films that we saw, however, made up for it (though not
that wretched "Celine and Julie Go Boating"). Maybe he improved over
the years.

Boaz
("We're going to show you some films.")
blue
2006-07-03 10:09:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
What I don't understand is why people just don't join the film industry
as a runner and work there way up from there (and get paid for it) or
just make a film anyway with the money they would save (whole features
have been made for less than one terms fee). The film industry doesn't
recognise any qualifications so it just seems pointless.

Werner Herzog said that people who want to direct films should join the
circus to get some life experience and I agree. That's why hollywood
films are so bad, in LA their life experience is just film making and
striking deals which feeds back into itself ad infinitum resulting in
films that have little to do with real life but everything to do with
repetition of the last big movie hit.
cannes artist
2006-07-05 19:13:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
What I don't understand is why people just don't join the film industry
as a runner and work there way up from there (and get paid for it) or
just make a film anyway with the money they would save (whole features
have been made for less than one terms fee). The film industry doesn't
recognise any qualifications so it just seems pointless.
Werner Herzog said that people who want to direct films should join the
circus to get some life experience and I agree. That's why hollywood
films are so bad, in LA their life experience is just film making and
striking deals which feeds back into itself ad infinitum resulting in
films that have little to do with real life but everything to do with
repetition of the last big movie hit.
hollywood is not a circus?
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:13:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
What I don't understand is why people just don't join the film industry
as a runner and work there way up from there (and get paid for it) or
just make a film anyway with the money they would save (whole features
have been made for less than one terms fee). The film industry doesn't
recognise any qualifications so it just seems pointless.
I definitely agree. I would also say that the very first step should
be to get
work as an extra (even if it's on a student film) and observe the crew
when possible.

It's a good way to find out if you're suited for the long days and
variable atmosphere
(sometimes friendly, sometimes tense) of film work.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-03 21:38:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.

Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).

--
Jan Bielawski
Your Pal Brian
2006-07-03 23:12:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment.
Hmmm. I tend to think that if every director and wannabe director had
unlimited resources, films would be just as bad as they are today. In fact
they'd probably be worse, since much of the imagination and wit of
filmmaking is spurred by its constraints.
Post by Jan Bielawski
So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Speaking of Youtube and great directors, here's Orson Welles singing
Sondheim with Dean Martin and Jack Gilford:



Basso Profundo! And here's Godard interviewing Woody Allen, with terrible
image quality:



Brian
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-03 23:29:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Your Pal Brian
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment.
Hmmm. I tend to think that if every director and wannabe director had
unlimited resources, films would be just as bad as they are today. In fact
they'd probably be worse, since much of the imagination and wit of
filmmaking is spurred by its constraints.
What I had in mind was something like let's say Beethoven - all he
needed was talent and being impossibly stubborn. I'm just wondering how
many film-Beethovens we've lost already due to a purely _financial_
aspect of the thing.

--
Jan Bielawski
snappo
2006-07-04 08:37:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until film making
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
--
Jan Bielawski
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.

So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.

It boils down to the level of the culture which reflects
society in general.
When a film is measured by it's action sequences, it's
"cgi" relating to special effects, or how near to soft porn
it can get, or in it's comedy how gross and sickening and
childish it is, then this is a reflection of what has been
successful in the past.

If you had money to throw into a film, would you choose
one which followed a formula that had brought back
profits before, or one which was "arty", would be
cheered by critics and film buffs, yet loose money?
--
snappo
kino eye
2006-07-04 14:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.

I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Film school can't give you that, so they are bad in the sense that
people who jump into them right out of college miss a window when they
can be living life.

I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view. A lot of the films that
are worth seeing over the last two decades have divorce or single
parenting as the theme, since this is ONE experience a lot of people
have experience with.

The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
But how many people go to film school thinking they are going to be the
sound guy? And the meager few who do make it from film school often
have no knowledge in basic human nature. That's why a lot of the good
movies made now are made by actors or people with theater background.

If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
David Oberman
2006-07-04 15:52:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama.
I agree. This fact is obvious by even a cursory look at so many of
today's films, like "Match Point." The mechanisms used for telling the
story are in disarray, & the filmmakers seem to be making embarrassing
mistakes that even dull playwrights & dramatists "solved" decades, if
not centuries, ago.

Of course, the film school graduate (& the academic theorist he or she
has been studying in school) will say that movies are not plays, & I
won't argue. But movies every year will continue to suck like "Match
Point" because of an inability to create character or story or even
style.




____
"From the Emperor to the boot-black, all
the Viennese are worthless."

-- Beethoven to Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee
December 1811
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 18:36:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.
I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Exactly. This goes for film critics as well - most of them write from
accumulated knowledge, not from wisdom - which comes only from having
experienced something.
Post by kino eye
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
There is the reason for the f/stops.
Post by kino eye
If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
1.5) While in college, see if you can go on a foreign exchange for a
year. Many colleges offer those and frequently they don't even fill the
quota because of the lack of interest. Yet there is nothing better for
a young person to get some experience than living abroad for a while.
(And I won't even mention the advantage of acquiring fluency in a
foreign language. Oops, I think I've just mentioned it.) The credits
most of the time can be transferred over back to the US (the deal is a
bargain even if the credits didn't transfer - later in life it's simply
very hard to just go to another country to live there, esp. in the US
where a typical vacation is just 2 weeks off per year).
Post by kino eye
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
--
Jan Bielawski
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 18:39:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
There is the reason for the f/stops.
I meant "Here is the reason..."

--
Jan Bielawski
blue
2006-07-05 06:24:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
Being someone on this list who has BEEN to film school, I do have an
opinion about this question.
I think film schools are sort of a red herring here. The real problem
as mentioned in the terrific quote by Herzog, is no life experiences.
Film school can't give you that, so they are bad in the sense that
people who jump into them right out of college miss a window when they
can be living life.
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view. A lot of the films that
are worth seeing over the last two decades have divorce or single
parenting as the theme, since this is ONE experience a lot of people
have experience with.
The one critical comment I'd make about film school is that they
emphasize f-stops over a solid knowledge of say, theater. This produces
generations of students who know a lot about film, but almost nothing
about plays and drama. Strangely, this does have a pay-off in the sense
that most jobs open are the technical ones, such as sound and lighting.
But how many people go to film school thinking they are going to be the
sound guy? And the meager few who do make it from film school often
have no knowledge in basic human nature. That's why a lot of the good
movies made now are made by actors or people with theater background.
If I was a giving advice to a high school senior, I'd tell them to get
a major in English, with a minor in theater. If they want to "direct"
then they can go two ways: 1)get an advance degree in theater, or spend
a year or two in theater, then take a summer intensive-class in the
film basics, and then get work as a gofer for someone in the business.
2) If someone is really interested in the technically end of things, go
to film school. This I think is especially helpful in animation, for
example.
That's to say nothing of how poorly they can teach! I sat in on a few
lessons once and I remember having an argument with one of the teachers
who told us that zooms were outlawed (and this was practised by the
whole school) because the process didn't replicate something that a
human being could actually do. He said that any director who used them
clearly didn't know what he was doing. Of course you can guess how I felt.

I told him that not only did I believe that zooms did replicate the
human eye in some form (concentrating hard on a particular object in
your field of vision) but that if you were to follow his argument to
it's conclusion we would all be watching circular screens with blurry
edges and have 'blinking' effects wiping over the screen every few
seconds of so. I mentioned that Barry Lyndon was comprised almost soley
of zooms and his reaction was something like ' but that's Kubrick and
he's a master ' - agreeing with me putting down his students in the process.

Sorry for the rant, there are crap teachers in all professions, but this
always rankled me.
l***@my-deja.com
2006-07-05 14:37:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
That's to say nothing of how poorly they can teach! I sat in on a few
lessons once and I remember having an argument with one of the teachers
who told us that zooms were outlawed (and this was practised by the
whole school) because the process didn't replicate something that a
human being could actually do.
I would argue that the human eye zooms in all the time. Any time we
search a room looking for something specific, say a video with a
particular label on it, or a book, and spot it, that's a zoom.

I once argued in a class on Realism and Film that we perform montages
all the time. When I walk down the street, my eye darts to a pretty
girl walking towards me and then a quick look away to avoid bumping
into someone and then a look up to the street sign to see where I am
(another zoom) and then at the traffic light to see if the light is
green or not and then into a store window to see a nice jacket and then
up the block to see if a bus is coming. It's not one big canvas that
I'm picking details out of, it's a collection of individual shots with
different compositions--some closeups (the pretty girl), some medium
shots (the store window), hence montage, and not Bazin's beloved deep
focus.
David Oberman
2006-07-05 15:10:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
I would argue that the human eye zooms in all the time. Any time we
search a room looking for something specific, say a video with a
particular label on it, or a book, and spot it, that's a zoom.
I say the human eye fixates on & focuses very rapidly, but doesn't
zoom.
Post by l***@my-deja.com
I once argued in a class on Realism and Film that we perform montages
all the time. When I walk down the street, my eye darts to a pretty
girl walking towards me and then a quick look away to avoid bumping
into someone and then a look up to the street sign to see where I am
(another zoom) and then at the traffic light to see if the light is
green or not and then into a store window to see a nice jacket and then
up the block to see if a bus is coming.
But if you aren't blinking, you're performing one long Hitchcockian
take. You can't have montage without cuts.
Your Pal Brian
2006-07-05 20:57:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Oberman
Post by l***@my-deja.com
I would argue that the human eye zooms in all the time. Any time we
search a room looking for something specific, say a video with a
particular label on it, or a book, and spot it, that's a zoom.
I say the human eye fixates on & focuses very rapidly, but doesn't
zoom.
Post by l***@my-deja.com
I once argued in a class on Realism and Film that we perform montages
all the time. When I walk down the street, my eye darts to a pretty
girl walking towards me and then a quick look away to avoid bumping
into someone and then a look up to the street sign to see where I am
(another zoom) and then at the traffic light to see if the light is
green or not and then into a store window to see a nice jacket and then
up the block to see if a bus is coming.
But if you aren't blinking, you're performing one long Hitchcockian
take. You can't have montage without cuts.
Edward Dmytryk and Walter Murch both wrote books about editing, and they
both argue that the blink one's eye makes while quickly refocusing is the
justification for cutting film. Murch's book is actually titled The Blink
Of An Eye.

Brian
Al Smith
2006-07-04 16:45:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by snappo
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.
So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.
It boils down to the level of the culture which reflects
society in general.
When a film is measured by it's action sequences, it's
"cgi" relating to special effects, or how near to soft porn
it can get, or in it's comedy how gross and sickening and
childish it is, then this is a reflection of what has been
successful in the past.
If you had money to throw into a film, would you choose
one which followed a formula that had brought back
profits before, or one which was "arty", would be
cheered by critics and film buffs, yet loose money?
--
I agree with what you wrote, mostly. You have to add into the
equation the increasing immaturity of supposed adults. This is a
recognized trend. Teens and adults are behaving and thinking like
infants. They movie industry has had to dumb down its product to
take this into account.

If theaters fail, and movies make more of their money through DVD
and other licensing sales, we may see more adult films -- films
made for those with mature minds, as opposed to infantile teenagers.
Jan Bielawski
2006-07-04 19:02:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by snappo
In the end, a film produced from Hollywood - and most other
sources - is targeted at an audience, and shaped to please
rather than challenge. It's an investment looking for a return,
and the safest one, at that.
Films today are for 14-24 year olds. They have forgotten
how to attract the rest of society, who were lured away by tv.
So while there may be complaints about the "caliber of
filmmakers", the cure would be a return to the cinema
by the general public, which is not going to happen.
This is all correct. In my post I was speculating, Tarkovsky-like, on
*divorcing* the financial aspect from filmmaking (divorcing to a level
managable by an average individual or a small group, say) which would
cause film art to finally join other arts in satisfying one overriding
criterion:

Work of art is always a creation of an individual.

The better this can be implemented in filmmaking, the better the
results.

When this stage is reached, none of this "investment" consideration
even enters into the equation and the immaturity of the audience
wouldn't count. I need to get some Windex for my crystall ball...

--
Jan Bielawski
moviePig
2006-07-04 14:20:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
The entry barrier for would-be (unpublished) writers is minimal, and
was pretty much stabilized centuries ago. And, nearly the same is true
for composers of music. But if you define "movies" as (rather than
concatenated photos) the best available simulation of sensory
immersion... then movie technology, *and* its cost/availability
pyramid, have a helluva, helluva long way to go...

--

/---------------------------\
| YOUR taste at work... |
| |
| http://www.moviepig.com |
\---------------------------/
blue
2006-07-05 06:13:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan Bielawski
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery.
I don't think this is a film school problem. It has IMHO more to do
with the film-as-industry-and-business approach than anything else.
Notice that no other arts have this problem (they have no costly
hardware requirements) and I agree here with Tarkovsky who already in
the '70s(!) said that film as art won't reach maturity until filmmaking
is divorced from all the bloated techno-financial machinery. This era
is slowly approaching thanks to the enormous advances in cheap high
quality video equipment. So I'm a cautious optimist, just wait another
decade or two. YouTube is just a silly tip of the iceberg today but
it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it - remember how WWW
came out of some silly computer network protocols.
Whether Hollywood can reinvent itself in this new reality is a good
question. I hope so. Although their stubborn refusal to learn new
technologies (as proved e.g. by the idiotic and self-immolating
copyright witch hunts) do make one wonder if the "oldthink" will ever
catch up).
--
Jan Bielawski
Film making is also a collaborative medium and for a director to really
become a master at it it requires that they (like Kubrick) to fully
understand and master each process. This takes quite a bit of time but
can save a hell of a lot of money if the discipline is there.
l***@my-deja.com
2006-07-04 22:48:49 UTC
Permalink
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.

George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.

'Nuff said.
Al Smith
2006-07-05 00:01:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school? He's one of the few
modern American directors who has a touch of genius. Crazy genius,
but still genius.
Your Pal Brian
2006-07-05 01:24:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Al Smith
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school?
Famously not. Nor did Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Spike Jonze. And PT
Anderson and Kevin Smith dropped out.

Brian
Al Smith
2006-07-05 02:41:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Your Pal Brian
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
Post by l***@my-deja.com
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
Did Quintin Tarantino go to film school?
Famously not. Nor did Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Spike Jonze. And PT
Anderson and Kevin Smith dropped out.
Brian
Interesting to know. I figured Tarantino for a maverick.
blue
2006-07-05 06:08:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American
Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of
anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that point
in his career.

The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a
distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any recognisable
shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as soon as that
happened it was over.
Al Smith
2006-07-05 16:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that point in his career.
The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any recognisable shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as soon as that happened it was over.
Lucas, yuck. The last three Star Wars films were a waste of space,
the final frontier. If Lucas ever had a glimmer of talent,
Hollywood sucked it out of him.
Jim
2006-07-05 18:46:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by kino eye
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view.
Anybody mind if I butt in?

I dunno about Welles, but I don't think this was true of Ford - I mean,
his third or fourth career. Of course, he learned by doing.

One thing must be remembered about film: It has ALWAYS been
money-driven. (Actually, that's true of just about all art forms. Mebbe
all. Ya gotta eat.) What separates the cream from the dreck is how
people work within the system to accomplish what they are trying to do.
I think Ford was VERY good at that.
- Jim Roebuck
David Oberman
2006-07-05 19:21:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim
One thing must be remembered about film: It has ALWAYS been
money-driven. (Actually, that's true of just about all art forms.
One exception: Daisy-chaining from bubblegum wrappers. That represents
a pure impulse to create. Would you agree?
blue
2006-07-06 09:04:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim
Post by kino eye
I've said this before on the list, but when you look at most of the
great directors from the 20s and 30s, film directing was often their
third or fourth career. So by the time they were making movies, they
had something to say, they had a point of view.
Anybody mind if I butt in?
I dunno about Welles, but I don't think this was true of Ford - I mean,
his third or fourth career. Of course, he learned by doing.
One thing must be remembered about film: It has ALWAYS been
money-driven. (Actually, that's true of just about all art forms. Mebbe
all. Ya gotta eat.) What separates the cream from the dreck is how
people work within the system to accomplish what they are trying to do.
I think Ford was VERY good at that.
- Jim Roebuck
Absolutely. I personally know two directors who were so burned by
Hollywood they vowed never to make another film. It's an incredibly
tough business and much, much more than just turning up on set and
telling somebody where to point the camera.

Kubrick was a master of working within the system. The Coen brothers
arren't bad either. David Fincher seems to be doing alright too despite
making dark films.
blue
2006-07-06 09:07:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by blue
Post by l***@my-deja.com
The greatest directors Hollywood's ever turned out never spent a day in
film class. I'm thinking of people like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson
Welles, Billy Wilder, Robert Aldrich, Sam Fuller, Anthony Mann, Don
Siegel, Sam Peckinpah, etc., etc., etc.
George Lucas went to film school and gave us Phantom Manure, Attack of
the Clods and Revenge of the Shit.
'Nuff said.
It's easy to knock Lucas but I personally I think THX 1138, American
Grafitti and Star Wars rank up there with the best 'first 3 movies' of
anybody's career. Kubrick by comparison was a lightweight at that
point in his career.
The harsh realities of filming a big budget movie gave him such a
distaste for it that he never returned. At least not in any
recognisable shape or form. He got swallowed up into business and as
soon as that happened it was over.
Lucas, yuck. The last three Star Wars films were a waste of space, the
final frontier. If Lucas ever had a glimmer of talent, Hollywood sucked
it out of him.
Totally agree. Go back and watch THX again though. It amazed me when I
saw it recently. A lot of the ideas and visuals are way ahead of their
time, it hasn't really dated. Avoid the new CG altered version though
(double yuck).
MFalc1
2006-07-06 10:06:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
Actually, I (under my non-USENET name Terry McCarty) was a volunteer PA
at the American Film Institute during 1988-89.
The late Toni Vellani was the teacher of first-year students who shot
on video. Only a few of the first year Fellows were accepted for
second year status, where projects were shot on film. During 88-89,
Carl Franklin had an editing room in the basement of the main building,
where he was cutting his second year film, PUNK.

If memory is correct, longtime Spielberg cinematographer Janusz
Kaminski was an AFI Fellow, but at an earlier period.

Vellani had two strict rules for the first-year students:
no narration and no flashbacks.

Basically, AFI in that period was more of a finishing school for
mainstream Hollywood than an institution that rewarded nonconventional
filmmaking.

I don't remember too many of the 88-89 Fellows making it into the Big
Time, but here's a roll call of those who did:
Andrew Sipes directed FAIR GAME, with Cindy Crawford and William
Baldwin.
Anne Garefino works as a producer for Trey Parker and Matt Stone-since
the dawn of SOUTH PARK.
Wally Pfister is a cinematographer whose credits include BATMAN BEGINS,
MEMENTO, LAUREL CANYON and the remakes of THE ITALIAN JOB and INSOMNIA.
Trish Govoni has worked as a video camera operator on various VH1
projects including STORYTELLERS.

Mark L. Falconer-film and video links at
http://hometown.aol.com/mfalc1/links.html
Greg Bryant
2006-07-07 02:47:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by anthead
on balance, worsened i think. they done create a more insular, inbred
world of film buffoonery. coen brothers are among the worst offenders
despite the greatness of o brother where art thou.
better for artists to learn from life than from watching mooies upon
mooies.
movies have become more movie conscious but less aware of reality or
other arts.
I think they have had no impact whatsoever, either positive or negative.
Mainly, because I doubt many film school grads are getting the chance to
make films in Hollywood. Seems most of those filmmakers are coming out of
either music video or commercials.

The short films I see being made by film school grads seem to be good,
insightful, imaginative, but then I rarely if ever see those names show up
in a major studio production.

Many directors of the 30's through 60's were a product of the studio system.
Starting in the 70's through 90's I think you saw a lot more filmmakers
coming out of film schools. Lately, most Hollywood filmmakers seem to be
coming from commercials and music videos.

Where the current film school grads are working today is anyone's guess.
Does anyone know what kinds of jobs / credits they end up with?

So, while many of the directors of the 70's and 80's
kino eye
2006-07-07 22:12:08 UTC
Permalink
The best way to learn to make films is just to make them, and these
days
almost anybody can do that. The problem with making films is that you
quickly learn how hard it is, and how nearly impossible it is to make
one that gets an audience's excited attention.

Having discussed problems with the film schools, this approach seems a
sure-bet, and with the cost of digital video going down every day, a
new flotilla of great directors is just around the corner.

But... here's the problem: A bunch of people with a digital video
camera, a huge amount of enthusiasm, and some talent...usually end up
with nothing. Or worse, they come up with something flashy and
interesting on the surface, then these people get elevated to the next
level, and they fall flat on their faces. Sort of the issue that
everyone has "one book or one film in them."

Great directors almost always bring something to the table. Technical
ability is usually the least important but film schools tend to
emphasize that because it's teachable. But if these kids with a video
camera, instead of goiing out and shooting, all went into theater, and
learned the three act structure, and read a lot of plays, and got some
acting in....then they can bring something more to table, they
understand the difference between an idea and a well constructed film.

So I think this freedom of cheap cameras, and cheaper production may
actually hurt the development of great directors. Sort of like why rock
bands are in such bad shape now. One hit wonders with no chance to hone
their craft. So film school is a problem, but no film school is a
problem too. Get theater experience, get some acting in, read a lot of
stories...but hardly anyone is going to do that.

The age profiling of the film audience is also obviously a problem
also. 18 year olds are going for a different reason than older crowds.
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