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Old 03-17-2005, 01:45 AM   #1
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Ask The Aspiring Filmmaker

I am currently a student at UC Davis. I will be spending my final quarter gearing up for graduation, studying for the GRE, and remaining apathetic about schoolwork in general. I graduate in June, and then head for Los Angeles. I hope to get some work as a Production Assistant on movie sets. I wouldn't mind shining Martin Scorsese's shoes, if that's what was asked of me. I plan on starting film school in the fall of 2006 at either UCLA, Columbia University, or NYU.

Ask any and every question. Doesn't even have to relate to anything mentioned above, but I love talking about movies (and U2 *cough*)!

Have a good one,

-Mike

P.S. - I apologize in advance to all of those who end up asking questions in the next few hours, but I have to go to sleep for now. I have my Puritan Literature final in the morning, but I will answer your questions as soon as possible.
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Old 03-17-2005, 07:30 AM   #2
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Congratulations. What do you think of the fact that many think film will become obsolete in favor of high-definition video and digital projection? Already, it is generally a matter of shooting in film, converting to the digital video format, Digi-Beta, to employ digital special effects and color correction, and then reconverting to film for projection purposes.

Anyway, I'm an aspiring filmmaker myself, so I've kept up on a lot of these issues. Personally, I'm excited over the fact that film will become obsolete, because video is a lot more robust; a lot less stressful, so you can have multiple takes; and incredibly cheaper. And nowadays, a lot of people don't even realize that they're watching a film that was shot in HD video and then converted to film for projection purposes.

Melon
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:37 PM   #3
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What kind of music to you use in your films?

(I'm assuming you use music)
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:54 PM   #4
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When you go to film school, will that be for another bachelor's, a master's, or how does that work?

Also, what are your favorite kinds of movies, and what is your number 1 movie of all time?
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Old 03-17-2005, 04:56 PM   #5
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Did you think Rushmore was as great as I did?
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Congratulations. What do you think of the fact that many think film will become obsolete in favor of high-definition video and digital projection? Already, it is generally a matter of shooting in film, converting to the digital video format, Digi-Beta, to employ digital special effects and color correction, and then reconverting to film for projection purposes.

Anyway, I'm an aspiring filmmaker myself, so I've kept up on a lot of these issues. Personally, I'm excited over the fact that film will become obsolete, because video is a lot more robust; a lot less stressful, so you can have multiple takes; and incredibly cheaper. And nowadays, a lot of people don't even realize that they're watching a film that was shot in HD video and then converted to film for projection purposes.

Melon
Hey Melon, thanks!

I think digital video is definitely the way of the future. I took a film workshop at Columbia U. last summer and we shot on video. It was pretty cool. But even the most expensive digital cameras only barely have the look of film. I suppose it's a matter of taste, but I somewhat prefer the way film looks over digital video. Film has a certain 'warmth' to it, a certain quality that digital video doesn't have. Digital video is great because it allows new filmmakers to make movies on the cheap, but film, like I said earlier, just has a certain 'look' that cannot yet be achieved with digital video. But the same is true the other way around - watch Collateral
for a perfect example of what I mean. Digital video can bring out certain things in an environment that film can't. The way the Los Angeles lights shimmer and sparkle in that movie is due to the digital video it was shot on. It was definitely a good choice on Michael Mann's part.

But I agree with everything you've said, basically. No doubt my first feature film will probably be on digital video, although by the time that actually comes to pass, digital video may look virtually like film!

-Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
What kind of music to you use in your films?

(I'm assuming you use music)
Hey there Macfistowannabe,

I've only one short film to my credit so far - the one I made at Columbia University last summer, and it actually has no music! I spend most of my filmmaking-related time working on my first screenplay, because UC Davis' filmmaking facilities are virtually non-existant. Which brings us to the question: "Why the hell did you decide to go there, then?" Well - that's because I didn't know until about 2 years in that I actually wanted to be a filmmaker! And by that point I wouldn't have been able to transfer to another college until my 4th year, and what's the point, then? So I'm toughing it out until I graduate, and it's on to film school!

-Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by lauren430
When you go to film school, will that be for another bachelor's, a master's, or how does that work?

Also, what are your favorite kinds of movies, and what is your number 1 movie of all time?
Upon graduating from film school, I will have a Masters degree in Fine Arts, or M.F.A.

I love all different kinds of movies, from big commercial productions to small indie flicks. A few of my favorites:

The Truman Show
Amelie
The Shawshank Redemption
The Motorcycle Diaries
Garden State
Spider-Man 2
The Iron Giant
The Incredibles
The Royal Tennenbaums
The Matrix
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Empire Strikes Back
Unforgiven
Fargo

The list goes on and on. Ask me on a different day and you'll get a different list. I find it hard to narrow down my list to only a few movies, since I love so many different movies for a variety of reasons. Maybe that's why I own so many damn DVDs...and why I'm so broke.

-Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 06:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spiral_Staircase
Did you think Rushmore was as great as I did?
Yes! And it seems quite a few others did as well.

-Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Miggy D
But I agree with everything you've said, basically. No doubt my first feature film will probably be on digital video, although by the time that actually comes to pass, digital video may look virtually like film!
I dunno. I already think it does look like film, especially if you start using the high-end HD cameras (the ones that are $65,000 with $35,000 worth of lenses and accessories). But, really, most rent cameras anyway these days, and I've seen those cameras rent for about $3,000 a week in Boston.

I watched "Cremaster 3" at the art museum about two years ago, and I was blown away by how great it looked. It was only after I started researching on the internet that it was shot completely in HD video.

Anyway, no matter which way you look at it, technology is quite amazing these days.

Melon
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Old 03-18-2005, 06:15 AM   #11
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Mike,
We have a budding filmmaker in our house who is a senior in High School and is choosing between Montana State University - Bozeman and University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Bozeman seems to have more of a Film Making program but is more expensive and much further away (we are in the Minneapolis area so it is 1000 mi vs 300 mi) while Madison has more of a Film Studies program but is probably a better school and a much larger school (42,000+ vs 14,000 at Bozeman).

He is really into filming the movies, creating the animation/special effects, directing/scripting, making the DVD, etc.

Based upon your knowledge of film programs at the Bachelor level what would your thoughts/recommendation be?

He has visited Madison and we are going to Bozeman in a couple of weeks and then he has another couple of weeks to make a decision. Any personal knowledge of either of these programs would be greatly appreciated.
Curt
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Old 03-18-2005, 06:33 AM   #12
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i know this isn't my thread -- but i'm employed in the television industry, and i want to quickly respond.

in my opinion, i think getting the best possible education at the Bachelor's level is best. major in English, History, Math, Biology, whatever ... get a good, well-rounded, liberal arts education where your son graduates with a good degree and excellent reading and writing skills, as well as critical thinking skills.

during the summer is the perfect time to get professional internships (these will most likely be unpaid, and competitive) that will give you a solid technical background. if his aspiration is to write and direct, then he won't want to get pegged as a "tech" too early, and a bachelor's degree in something very specific might do this to him. also, the industry can be brutal, and he may wind up wanting to do something else -- a broader education, i believe, would make him both more versatile in what he thinks will be his career, and also able to move out of his career and into something else more easily (should that ever happen).

just my $.02.

sorry ... continue with the thread.
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by cm
Mike,
We have a budding filmmaker in our house who is a senior in High School and is choosing between Montana State University - Bozeman and University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Bozeman seems to have more of a Film Making program but is more expensive and much further away (we are in the Minneapolis area so it is 1000 mi vs 300 mi) while Madison has more of a Film Studies program but is probably a better school and a much larger school (42,000+ vs 14,000 at Bozeman).

He is really into filming the movies, creating the animation/special effects, directing/scripting, making the DVD, etc.

Based upon your knowledge of film programs at the Bachelor level what would your thoughts/recommendation be?

He has visited Madison and we are going to Bozeman in a couple of weeks and then he has another couple of weeks to make a decision. Any personal knowledge of either of these programs would be greatly appreciated.
Curt
Hey Curt,

It's a toss-up, really, and it depends on which school has the superior film program. Upon visiting Bozeman, decide if it's filmmaking undergrad program is good, and if so, is it better than Madison's film studies program? Because hoenstly, if Madison's film studies program is superior to Bozeman's filmmaking program, then I would go with Madison, even if your son would rather do behind-the-camera stuff. I'm sure he'd meet some other people at Madison with equipment, and they could shoot movies in their free time. If Bozeman's equipment and facilities are really good, I'd say he should go there. In terms of money, distance, etc - that's a decision between you and your family, and I can't really give my opinion on that.

No matter what your son chooses to do, I'd suggest he double major in something that isn't film related, like writing, or political science, etc. Another field that interests him, that would give him a more well-rounded education. If Bozeman and Madison are anything like UC Davis, film studies/filmmaking majors should not require too many credits, so he should be able to squeeze in a second one in another field. I know a lot of graduate film programs sometimes prefer that the person come from an undergraduate program that isn't film.

Hope this helps!

-Mike
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