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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

Practical Realities: Jobs on every Hollywood Set

245

Replies to: Practical Realities: Jobs on every Hollywood Set

  • bluebubblesbluebubbles Registered User Posts: 868 Member
    OK, thanks! I'll go ahead and look into it. Thanks again!
  • ReadingFlutistReadingFlutist Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    Is there anything you would suggest to aspiring screenwriters?
  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    << -- ReadingFlutist --

    Is there anything you would suggest to aspiring screenwriters? >>

    Yes! Start writing!

    If you don't know how to write in screenplay format, I will highly recommend the book, "Film Scriptwriting, Second Edition: A Practical Manual (Paperback)
    by Dwight V Swain (Author), JOYE R SWAIN (Author) # ISBN-10: 0240511905
    # ISBN-13: 978-0240511900."

    Also, I HIGHLY recommend that aspiring Screenwriters read every page of the website: wordplayer dot com. (I am NOT affiliated in any way with them, in case anyone is concerned). This is a website that I found that addresses all of the concerns of Screenwriters and they're not selling anything.

    I know that there are filmschools that offer screenwriting curriculum, but again, the degree doesn't give you any advantage at all. It's all about the script, the timing, who sees it, the economy, the competition... a film degree or a "masters" in screenwriting doesn't matter one bit. A degree won't give you an edge.

    What does matter is writing a solid screenplay and getting it in front of someone who is "inspired" by it. The way to do THAT is to enter your work into the various screenwriting contests that happen each year, applying for the various screenwriter fellowships, and getting an Agent. There is the possibility that you could meet someone in your classes who suddenly becomes successful, so based on your relationship, that person will look at your work and help you become successful too. Or you can use your status in the school to approach successful alumni to try to push your work. But all that means is that you're paying thousands of dollars in order to buy contacts who MIGHT be able to help you... there are never any guarantees. Going to Filmschool will work for some and not work for others. But it is never about the degree and always about the relationships.
  • etcheverryetcheverry Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    Mr. bjdzyak you seems to be very knowledable, and i think you might be able to help me..
    I will repost what i have posted in the other section. I would like your personal opinion.


    Ok friends from CC.. I'm facing the toughest decision of my life so far...I'm a junior at a private college( major in business) with a 3.7 GPA, but i've always wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry (movie tv music). i'm graduating on may of 2010. My question is; should i graduate and then apply to a film school( second degree/or master), or should i transfer??
    I'm interested in three different programs..
    Radio film and tv at northwestern, U of Miami, Emerson college and LMU
    Film and tv production at USC, UCLA, Chapman, FSU, Biola, Columbia
    or
    Entertainment business at USC, Fullerton, Belmont, and UCLA( graduate)

    The thing for me is that, i have learned that i must be in a field related to arts( that beeing motion pictures, music or tv)
    what do you suggest would be the best major for me..should i go fir the entertainment business major where you study the etertainment industry as a hole..should i go to film school and do like a music major combining film and music?
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    ""S" should continue doing what he's doing, but also should go out and ask a professional Editor if he can observe and/or volunteer for a few days. Look for any kind of local production company that "finishes" narrative, documentary, and/or corporate projects."

    Thank you so much! I will pass this on to S. I have a new acquaintance whose husband used to do something related to film for major Hollywood studios before moving to my college town. She told S he could go hang out with her husband in their home studio -- which is about a mile from our house. Perhaps since you've emphasized how helpful this could be, S will now follow-up on that kind offer.
  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    <<
    --etcheverry--
    Ok friends from CC.. I'm facing the toughest decision of my life so far...I'm a junior at a private college( major in business) with a 3.7 GPA, but i've always wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry (movie tv music). i'm graduating on may of 2010. My question is; should i graduate and then apply to a film school( second degree/or master), or should i transfer??
    I'm interested in three different programs..
    Radio film and tv at northwestern, U of Miami, Emerson college and LMU
    Film and tv production at USC, UCLA, Chapman, FSU, Biola, Columbia
    or
    Entertainment business at USC, Fullerton, Belmont, and UCLA( graduate)

    The thing for me is that, i have learned that i must be in a field related to arts( that beeing motion pictures, music or tv)
    what do you suggest would be the best major for me..should i go fir the entertainment business major where you study the etertainment industry as a hole..should i go to film school and do like a music major combining film and music?>>

    My first question is what do you really want to do? I mean, specifically, what do you want to do? It's not enough to say that you want to be in a field related to the arts or even the oft-stated phrase, "I want to be a filmmaker." It's difficult to tell you the best way to get "there" if we don't know where "there" is yet? Does that make sense?

    So, the first thing for YOU to do before taking another step into the future is to figure out exactly what it is you want to do with your life. What job in the "entertainment" industry most interests you AND what job do you realistically think you're talented and skilled enough to do? Once you figure that out, the next step is to investigate the realities of that particular job... what does it take to get there? what do you need to know before jumping into the real world? does it take schooling to learn it? do you need school at all? how much money do you need to invest in order to get in and stay competitive? what will the lifestyle REALLY be like and is that what you want your life to be like? how much money will you realistically make and is that going to be enough to satisfy your dream lifestyle? do you realistically think you have the passion and drive to do whatever it takes to get "there"?

    Once you find answers to all of those questions (and more), then take the steps to either find a school that will deliver the "product" that you need to get you where you want to go...or skip the degree and do what you need to in order to get there.

    Given your post above, I don't have any real idea what job it is you're interested in so my advice is fairly general for the moment. But, given that you are a Business major, you are in a better position than most film students to go find financing that it takes to actually make a movie. You see, when you're majoring in film, you're spending a lot of time learning the creative process and very little time learning about the realities of financing and building a viable career. It is fairly easy (and infinitely less expensive) to learn the filmmaking process on your own by reading, making your own films, and/or volunteering to work on someone else's projects that they are paying for. You really don't need to spend thousands of dollars to sit in a four year program to learn how to make a movie. What IS valuable is the business, finance, legal, and communication skills you can learn from a higher education. Those fundamentals (and possibly degrees) will take you much farther in the professional industry than a film degree ever could.

    As I've said above, there are a myriad of "off the shelf" books and resources available out there that provide a fairly adequate background of fundamentals that someone like you can learn from on your own. A university education is valuable in many ways. It's just important to know what it is you want from life so that you're spending your money as wisely as possible.
  • timelytimely Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    Is it possible to do some side work and outside courses and attend film school as a postgrad, even with a completely unrelated major?

    Bluebubbles,
    Yes! In fact, it seems to me to be a much better way to go. In these bios of the 2008 Student Academy Award winners, most of them appear to be post-grad students.
    Student Academy Award Winners | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • timelytimely Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    My question is; should i graduate and then apply to a film school( second degree/or master), or should i transfer??

    Graduate. That business degree could be very helpful to you in the film industry. If you want to get a graduate degree in a film or entertainment related major, then you will have that plus the business degree. As Brian said, the film degree won't give you a job. However, you will certainly have opportunities in film school to get internships and part-time jobs that can lead to a job in the industry after graduation.
  • etcheverryetcheverry Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    bjdzyak inspiring post thank you so much...
    My biggest passion is film/tv...but i'm not so sure about the specific field (producting, directing, etc) since i have never had a chance to do any of that i can't tell which would please me more....I have done some theater and was even invited to go to a british theater school, but that was not what i wanted. Last year i had the chance to be some sort of stand by in a movie shooting and that was the coolest thing ever..i felt something in my heart that i knew that was something i should do.
    Music is my second passion..i'm learning guitar and i sing...i can spend hours and hours practicing..i'm also very interested in the science behing music mixing, editing (i'm working a lot with pro logic)...
    The thing for me is that i don't see myself doing anything else...i have good grades and i could get a good job in the business field , but i know that i will not be pleased.
    In this past two years i found out that i'm extremily artistic...I visited the radio film and tv dep at Northwestern...i went nuts...it was the same feeling i had when i went to disney....

    What really worries me is that if i apply for a job or a internship and i don't have any real experience i won't get anything..Everybody says that the most important thing is get the foot on the door, but how to do that without the connections and trainning offered by a film school.
  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    << -- etcheverry --

    bjdzyak inspiring post thank you so much...
    My biggest passion is film/tv...but i'm not so sure about the specific field (producting, directing, etc) since i have never had a chance to do any of that i can't tell which would please me more....I have done some theater and was even invited to go to a british theater school, but that was not what i wanted. Last year i had the chance to be some sort of stand by in a movie shooting and that was the coolest thing ever..i felt something in my heart that i knew that was something i should do.
    Music is my second passion..i'm learning guitar and i sing...i can spend hours and hours practicing..i'm also very interested in the science behing music mixing, editing (i'm working a lot with pro logic)...
    The thing for me is that i don't see myself doing anything else...i have good grades and i could get a good job in the business field , but i know that i will not be pleased.
    In this past two years i found out that i'm extremily artistic...I visited the radio film and tv dep at Northwestern...i went nuts...it was the same feeling i had when i went to disney....

    What really worries me is that if i apply for a job or a internship and i don't have any real experience i won't get anything..Everybody says that the most important thing is get the foot on the door, but how to do that without the connections and trainning offered by a film school.>>

    I can't tell you that going to school will work for you or won't. That's the thing about this business... you just never know.

    Unlike some other careers, this is not one that has the model of Filmschool + Film degree = lifelong job, fame, and fortune. The degree itself will not give anyone a competitive edge over someone who doesn't. It just does not work that way. What Filmschool can offer someone is access to equipment, an environment among like-minded people, and the potential to be friends with others who may be able to help you in your own career.

    The equipment angle is a bit silly, in that if you have the money to spend on a four year college, then you have the money to hire a crew to make the movies you want to make. Being among other aspiring "filmmakers" is easy because there are over 700 Filmschools all over the world. Throw a rock and you'll likely hit someone who also wants to be in the film business in some way. The last one... finding others who can help you... is really what matters. You never know where the next successful Producer, Writer, Director, DP, etc is going to come from. Some are indeed graduates of a Filmschool and others aren't. Some grew up into the "family business" and many others have to move thousands of miles to break in. There are so many different ways that people get into the business and rarely, if ever, does the degree have any impact on the chances of success.

    Filmschool will NOT necessarily give you connections and training that would allow you the opportunity to get a foot in the door. Yes, you can learn valuable things there. But, again, depending on what it is you specifically want to do, you can learn the basics on your own for far less money. For instance, if you want a "below-the-line" job, a film degree is fairly useless. Below-the-line jobs really are "blue collar" skills. Highly specialized jobs that require intelligence and common-sense, but you can learn those skills without forking over thousands and thousands of dollars to a Filmschool where you're watching old movies and writing papers about them.

    If you would like to Write, Produce, or Direct, then a University education COULD be more valuable... but again, not necessarily a Film degree. Producing is about logistics and business, so having a background that develops your planning, accounting, and thinking skills is exceedingly important. Yes, knowing the production process IS important, but having a film-centric education isn't necessary and could leave out important aspects of education that you need to know. Writing is about you sitting down and writing. A University program in screenwriting will help you learn the unique structure and maybe help hone your skills via graded feedback, but again, the degree is meaningless. What matters is your writing skills, the scripts you have, and the people you are able to get to look at them. Directing... well, most Filmschools cater to selling that dream by intensive study of the "art" of film through review of older films and "production" classes where students make their own short movies.

    What's missing in all of that are the lessons of what it truly takes to build a real career. If the Filmschool has the curriculum and environment and facilities that can "train" you to be "qualified" to get an internship and/or a paying job in the professional world, then by all means, jump in and take advantage of the opportunity. It might work for you! And it might not. It's just that too many aspiring "filmmakers" leave school with the idea that they are now "qualified" to [fill in job here]. Maybe they have learned the mechanics of doing the job and that is important. But unless they have somehow created something that is so unique that it can't be ignored, the odds are that those graduates will get a hard dose of reality when they clean out their lockers.

    School is a possible way to get experience with equipment and with the production process. Another is to go out into the world and just jump in. To do that, you ask EVERYONE you know if THEY know anyone who is in the business. Chances are fairly good that you will find at least one contact who you can call and explain what you want to do. That person will either be able to help you directly or will (hopefully) refer you to someone else. It's all about meeting people, being willing and able to move if you need to, and having the passion, perseverance, enthusiasm, and patience that it takes to work your way into the business until you're making enough money to pay the bills. It's an art, but it's a BUSINESS that survives because it sells the art. Most Filmschools just teach the art, which is fine and all, but without knowing the realities of making a living doing this, all of that expensive education will just remain theory.

    So, take the time to figure out precisely what it is you want to do, find out what it takes to get there, and then take the realistic steps that it takes to make it happen. Nobody is out here waiting for you to finish school so they can use you. It's up to you to go do it and make it happen. Some people "make it." Most don't. But if this is really what you want to do with the short life you (we all!) have, then don't let anything or anyone stop you. There are those out there who will tell you that you can't do it, or that you shouldn't listen to someone like me, but what matters is what YOU want out of life. You came into life alone and you'll leave alone. It's your choice and responsibility to do what you want to with the time in between. Figure out what you want to do, figure out how to get there, and then go do it. Life is short. Each minute that goes by is one more that you'll never get back.

    Start today.

    promotion
  • timelytimely Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    Here are biographies of some famous directors:
    about film directors, movie directors, directors biographies

    and producers:
    all top producers, movie producers, film producers, biographies

    These are interesting to read, but it's important to remember that the way someone got started 30 years ago might not apply today.
  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    << -- timely --
    These are interesting to read, but it's important to remember that the way someone got started 30 years ago might not apply today.>>

    Yes. I started in television in 1987 and in "Hollywood" in 1992 and the business has changed a great deal since then.

    As of today (February 1, 2009), the professional movie industry is fairly stalled. The lack of a new SAG contract since last June has effectively shut down most of the industry. SOME work is going on still, but for the most part, A LOT of people are not working just waiting for the Producers/Studios and SAG to sign a deal.

    The way someone was able to get into the industry 10, 20 or 50 years ago is very different than it is today. Because of globalization, studios are able to search the world for cheaper labor, but bring their product back to the US without penalty. What this does is put a lot of people out of work and threaten the livelihoods of those who are able to or have no choice but to remain in the business.

    Filmschools teach the art. But it's just a nice education in theory if the student can't make a living at it. And keeping in touch with the realities of the economy and governmental policy is part of creating and maintaining a career. What Filmschool out there is actively telling their students about the realities of the film industry TODAY?
  • AhoyArielleAhoyArielle Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    There's been a lot of talk of what an aspiring screenwriter or cinematographer would do in regard to college, but what about editors?

    I thought about applying to film schools (I eventually applied as a journalism major), but I'm more interested in post-production, and most schools focus on directing or screenwriting.

    I think I will end up just keeping film as a central hobby of mine, helping out the film majors at whatever school I go to. They will be grateful for the help, and I can get my own experience-- just in case I decide film was really the career path I wanted to take.
  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    << --AhoyArielle--

    There's been a lot of talk of what an aspiring screenwriter or cinematographer would do in regard to college, but what about editors?

    I thought about applying to film schools (I eventually applied as a journalism major), but I'm more interested in post-production, and most schools focus on directing or screenwriting.

    I think I will end up just keeping film as a central hobby of mine, helping out the film majors at whatever school I go to. They will be grateful for the help, and I can get my own experience-- just in case I decide film was really the career path I wanted to take.>>

    You've got the right idea! Why spend your own money when you can offer your services to aspiring Directors who are paying for the project? Look for a magazine called BACKSTAGE WEST (formerly DRAMALOGUE) where upstart productions place their listings in hopes of attracting cast and crew... it's sort of like an "indie/lowbudget" version of The Hollywood Reporter. Also visit local filmschools and introduce yourself to current students, letting them know that you're qualified and available to help edit their projects for them.

    You'll have to contact the schools directly to find out what the admission requirements are, but just a quick search shows that USC offers an editing course that appears to not be tied to a major: cinema.usc.edu/admissions/course-offerings-for-the-non-major/production.htm

    CTPR 335 Motion Picture Editing 3 units
    (CNTV)*
    Exploration of aesthetics, theory, history, and procedures
    of motion picture editing for many styles of film. Students
    view award-winning shorts and sections of features to
    illustrate different editing styles and edit a series of
    scenes using the latest Avid Express DV equipment.
  • AhoyArielleAhoyArielle Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Thanks! I'll definitely have to check that magazine out.

    That USC class sounds excellent as well, considering I applied for the Annenberg School for Communication there.

    I figure no matter where I apply, I can probably take a few film classes as part of my general ed electives anyway. And even though I'll be a print journalism major, I can use my film skills to help out the broadcast journalism majors. ha.
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