“What They Don’t Teach You at Film School” Notes

For some reason I found it hard to get in to this book but I knew it was valuable information that I needed to learn. Its full of great advice about how things work in the film making world. It’s an introduction to what it takes to make a film.

“…it’s not Hollywood’s approval that will determine if you die feeling like a successful filmmaker. It’s your own.”

“Your film is nothing more or less than a conduit for an audience’s own emotional experience.”

“Your work may not be “better” than that of others before you, but it can be unique. Originality is a virtue.”

It talked about film debt, budgeting, being a good director to the cast and crew, keeping things simple during filming, dealing with locations, issues with the script, basically what the author leaned by doing, they put it in the book.

I tend to learn better by mistakes. This is why I found this book useful.

“Your short is, at best, a prompt for them to ask to see more of your work-the kind they can make money on. They want a script. That’s all they want, all they ever wanted, and all they will ever want.

“Think like the buyer, not the seller.”

“No one wants you to experiment with their money, When someone reads your script and gives you money for it, it’s because they’ve seen the movie-in their minds.”

“The good news is that if you’re paying, you won’t need to protect anybody else’s vision but your own. If someone disagrees with you about how something suppose to look, you can listen, but you don’t have to negotiate.”

So much goes in to film making and when money gets involved it can get complicated. Reading about what to do when these situations are reached made me no longer fear them.

The chapters about picking the right cast and crew was full of great advice from other film makers. A few things that stand out is not to beg people to work with you, loyalty, treating your actors with care, don’t lead people on when hiring if they aren’t what you are looking for, making sure the coffee is good, food is always available, confronting issues.

[Directing] “By signing on, cast and crew are agreeing to be led. They’re giving you the power to lead them. Your job is to accept and assume it. With all the side effects and responsibilities.”

“Your crew is giving you more of their attention, creativity, and patience than your main squeese..don’t two-time them by bringing your romantic interest onto your set.”

And finally, pay attention to sound. I learned this important rule since I’ve been the shooter & editor.

“Without good sound you’re sacrificing your film’s potential or even your film, period.”

“You don’t want to fix it in the mix. Not only because you can’t, but also because you need to keep your sound editors’ time focused on the creative possibilities, not the technical harassment, of your film.”

I’m pretty sure what I read in this book will indeed help me from making mistakes.. and for that I am thankful I read it.

Now on to my next book… “The Conversations” 🙂

Author: Moniemuse

Video Editor & Media Department Director

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