An autobiography: Help me write the second half...

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by SPS, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. SPS

    SPS Active Member

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    The following is a fairly long winded rant of self pity, but for the important part, just skip to the end. Cheers :)

    Hi, folks! I'm probably a good 20 years too late to consider an attempted move into the film industry, but I'd rather die knowing I gave it a go than grow old and grumpy always having wondered "What if...".
    I'm more or less in the worst possible situation when it comes to looking at a change of occupation, regardless of direction. I have a mortgage, family, crappy job, little spare time, etc., but as most people on this planet I'm guessing, as much as I appreciate the family side of things, I find myself pushing through most days with the promise that things will get better soon. Without this hope, I fear where my thoughts might be waking up each morning...
    Before I begin to give too much away though :behave, on with the story.

    From a very early age, I've always enjoyed art. This includes visual, music, movies, video games, special effects, etc. As long as I can remember, I would always be drawing, painting, listening and learning to play music, playing games, watching movies and being fascinated whenever a 'making of' special would be on tv. Naturally, I continued these subjects through school when available, but being the teenage male I was, as far as I was concerned, I had more important things on my mind than school :love. Sad to say, after having completed high school, I never even applied for a single class. Young, stupid, naive, whatever the reason, it's a decision almost a decade later that is really beginning to haunt me.
    After trying my hand at whatever job happened to come by after the last, more than ever am I despising the job I've held for nearly 4 years now.
    Obviously, flaming the past isn't going to do me any good, if anything, I'd argue that it's probably increased my appreciation for life and fueled my desire to make something of myself from here on in.
    If anyone is ever going to make a success of themselves, there has to be a matter of confidence behind their skill set, something I've never been comfortable with myself, but it's definitely something I need to instill within this silly head of mine if I'm ever going to have even the slightest chance of becoming anything. I'd like to believe that I've got at least some potential that would warrant myself even considering the idea of looking to create a career in a field such as film.
    As much as every other person likes to be a back seat driver when critiquing a film, there are times that I genuinely feel that I could do things differently/better than the provided example of work, therefore, it's at least worth exploring the idea, no? Surely we'd all agree that there are film makers who are terrible at what they do, yet they still seem to get paid to do their job, so I suppose there's always a chance.

    Conclusion
    Now, the important bit. If you happened to get through the first part of this writing, thank you for reading and sorry if I bored you :lol.
    For someone in my position, might anybody be able to suggest how I would begin this quest that I am so very eager to begin? Obviously, it will all have to begin with maintaining an income and slotting in school wherever possible, but aside from that, I wouldn't know where to begin.
    Being a product of the 80's, immediately important names to me are Spielberg, Cameron and Winston, among others of course, but to give an example of what I'd love to be, if one could roll all these people into one and wish to be that person, astonishingly freakish natural abilities aside, where would someone begin their schooling to give birth to this creature?
    I know how ridiculously ambitious this sounds, and not for a second am I comparing myself or pretending to allow myself to imagine any unestablished credit, but I figure I might as well aim for the sky and then take it from there. I understand also that being in Australia is most likely yet another hurdle in this path.
    Aside from schooling, any good books that could be recommended would also be awesome. Perhaps a Spielberg or Cameron biography? As well as some other making of books I already own, I recently bought 'The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio'. Though still awaiting its arrival, I'm sure will make for great inspiration and a wealth of knowledge.

    As always, any advice one might have to offer is always greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.
    Chris
     
  2. Zykotec

    Zykotec Active Member

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    Buy a camera, make a documentary about 'the man (and film) who didn't make it into the film industry'. Or a road trip movie about the original filming grounds of Mad Max (I'm not too familiar with Australian geography, but you cant be too far away to not make it during a family holiday) Take the family with you on the trip, and use the worst car you can get , buy, rent or steal a 70's Van (preferably Falcon or sandman/Caprice), and take some time to interview the people in Silvertown/Broken Hill area, and talk about the weird coincidence that possibly man made weather disturbance has made it impossible to film the sequel/prequel/remake of the most famous post-apocalyptic movie ever :p
     
  3. DaddyfromNaboo

    DaddyfromNaboo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    How old are you? Important question, because...

    Side note: don´t bore other people, especially not in the movie industry. "In late, early out", universal concept for keeping things interesting ;) Hard to always stick to, I am speaking from experience :p

    Here´s where the age comes in.

    Income is important for you? Well, first major hurdle. Studying film and generating sufficient income for survival is a tough one when you are alone, and not possible if you have to support a family.

    Movie work is very, very hard to schedule, and you will have to struggle to get the next job after a finished one. You have to take what you can get, you have to get access to the community, and once you´re part of the community, everything else will follow all by itself. But until then, it´s hard work.

    So you want to be a director?
    Sorry, but you can´t be "schooled" to be that person. That person will show itself only by actually making movies.
    And until you can do what you might admire the most, their blockbuster pics, you will have to do what they did, namely small movies. Look at their bios, and look how they learned. Watch movies, talk to other young movie makers, make movies. Make movies that you like, and not what you´d want to look like a movie that one of your idols would have made.

    Valuable lesson is to look for the right resources, and do a lot of the footwork yourself. Asking in a hobby forum, although quite a few around here are professionals in their field, is probably not your best move, you should go out and look for answers yourself in more appropriate forums, and only return after you have something to show, you lazy *******!!! :behave:lol:lol:lol winkwinknudgenudge

    Look for threads about movie making here in the forums, CB2001 has started a few threads, and you might want to look at threads created by user blip as well, quite a few good discussions.

    For starters I recommend James Monaco´s books, as well as Marcie Begleiter´s book "Shot by Shot" and her web page. Storytelling is what you need to learn first, then visuals.

    Those are interesting, but you won´t have any use for the information in them unless you want to do a genre movie.
    Go check out making ofs on DVD´s, look at the Lotr DVD´s and get a copy of Peter Jackson´s King Kong making of that is actually a visual film school in itself.

    Go out and do something, don´t be bother too much with theory, especially if you need to make money and are older.


    1. Get a job in the industry. Any job that will get you on a filmset, so you can check out the various departments and what they do. If you can´t get a paid job, work as an intern. But don´t work too long as an intern on too many movies!
    2. Choose what you want to do and then get a dedicated internship on a movie in the department of that position. Directing? Camera? Lighting? Grip? Art Department? Costume Department? Sound? Production?!
    3. Make your own movies. Digital equipment allows you to create awesome movies nowadays at home.
    Hands on approach is necessary, movie work is time consuming, and its a very hard road. The higher in the hierachy of a movie your dream job is placed, the harder it will be to land a job.


    Start as a production driver, as a set runner, and work your way up from there.


    If you really want to make movies, you will find your way into the industry, even in Australia.



    Good luck, and be careful what you wish for ;)


    Michael
     
  4. SPS

    SPS Active Member

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    Thank you very much ManfromNaboo for that very up front advice. That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Some direct information.
    As you mentioned, I realise that this website may not exactly be a honey pot for of knowledge, but for someone who previously had no idea of what to do, It's now provided me with some much needed help. Thank you a lot. I'll jump to that "footwork" you mentioned and hopefully make a step in the right direction...
     
  5. SPS

    SPS Active Member

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    Interesting idea Zykotec! You may be surprised however on how large and expansive Australia actually is. Secondly, you would be even more surprised to find how rare and expensive some of those Aussie cars from the 70's are these days...
     
  6. Zykotec

    Zykotec Active Member

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    I know, I'm into Mad Max a lot, but I never checked where you lived:p And offcourse, you could use any car you like, but rather not a new nice looking one :p. It will still be worth it ;) You can learn a lot about the more famous (to us at least) Australian film industry, and I think the only way to really make it in the industry fast, is to make a movie (or even a Youtube 'series' )right away. It's not many of the huge Hollywood names that started out after 'movie making school' doing small jobs and then moving up through the grades slowly until they reached the top. Most had a vision, some skills, and the guts to take big risks. i'm in my 30's, have kids, a house and a boring job, so I understand how you feel, I think :p Just go for it :)
     
  7. SPS

    SPS Active Member

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    That's quite inspiring to be honest. As I've already mentioned, I understand that I've left this rather late in life, plus with my commitments and what not, but I'll be 27 at the end of January and it's kind of now or never. I signed up to a 1 day crash course last night for early February, so hopefully this could be the start that gets the ball rolling...
    Melbourne One Day Film School
    My desire is real, it's just the reality of work, money and time that gets in the way :wacko.
    Perhaps I'll need to look at a different job that might allow me some more freedom. Weekends at least... 60+ hours per week is pretty much standard for where I'm currently employed.
     
  8. DaddyfromNaboo

    DaddyfromNaboo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah, you can´t go wrong for a hundred bucks. That guy who is running the course though looks like an amateur himself. One lesson that is important is to aim for real professionals as your mentors, which is another reason why you should look for jobs as an intern. Learning by doing is what will get you paid, the one-day-filmschool will teach you a few basics, but will not get you your next paycheck.

    What I find absolutely inacceptable is their tagline about the "lifestyle of producers and directors", contrasted by this article Suffering for their art - smh.com.au

    There is that guy Dov Siemens who tours all around the world and teaches guerilla film making Guerrilla filmmaking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and another book you might want to have a look at, Rebel without a crew by Robert Rodriguez (if that name rings a bell) Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player: Robert Rodriguez: 9780452271876: Englische Bücher

    I am really curious what you are going to have to say about that "one day filmschool".

    Michael
     
  9. SPS

    SPS Active Member

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    Thank you for the continued advice. I'm realistic of my expectation towards a one day course. For someone who currently knows nothing about the world of film, everything taught will be fresh information. If nothing else, it could prove to be a valuable networking hub. Depending on the quality of the course it self, as you've observed, if not too much good comes out of it, perhaps it might be lessons leaned on how not to do things. In my eyes, no knowledge is wasted. It just depends on how one uses it...
     

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