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Friday, July 15, 2005

The Line Starts Here

There is this article on Wired this month that talks about the lack of real world jobs for recent film school graduates. All I have to say to that is "suck it up".

The article goes into how the technology of the last 20 years or so has made it possible for do-it-your-selfers to create film careers and make films. Yes, that's a good thing. But what about everyone else? These recent students should look at this in an entirely different way. Now that you are out of school, go learn something. Need money? Go get a McJob and learn some more because this will be the ultimate test of your film career, do you have the endurance? Well, do ya punk?

This is the gig and these are the pressures of that gig. Learn your craft. In the not to distant past when film (remember film?) was the only medium, people had to go through rigorous training to even be allowed on a set or in an edit room. Yeah, you go tell a Key Grip that you don't know what a C-stand is. When I got out my program at NYU I was thrown into a city that was in the middle of a huge production drought. There were stories of guys moving their families up to Canada because they had to work. I don't know how true that was but it was tough.

With all this technology breaking and this "gotta have a big, bad career like Tarantino" attitude, everyone is forgetting the reality, not everyone is cut out to be a director. Yes, it's the most glamorous position on the set but that is only if you are in the upper echelon. Remember the Titanic (the ship, not the movie)? Well, that ship had a captain and you will be the captain of your ship and it might end the same way if you have no idea what you are doing. The money doesn't make the anxiety and the pressure go away either. If anything it's heightened because there is so much more on the line. I don't think you need to know every single aspect of every single job on the set to make a film but I can tell you, I won't hurt you if you do.

Just to put it all in perspective, I think all this technology is great. I sometimes stare at my Final Cut Pro timeline and I am truly amazed and thankful that I live in the here and now. But the thing is, I wouldn't be sitting in this chair if I didn't truly love cinema. All of it is just a stepping stone to seeing the realization of my films come to fruition. I taught myself so much by watching, reading, listening and doing and I'm still not even a fraction of the way there yet. For the true filmmakers, it's all about the experience. Everything else is bullshit.

So to all you newly graduated students out there, grab a C-stand, grab a camera, go rent some Hitchcock and Godard, buy some more film books, check out a museum, find some inspiration, have something to say and DON'T expect to be paid. Not now at least. When you know what you are doing and you're a big shot then, maybe, you can get paid. Until then, get in line...

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