Sunday, October 4, 2009

What You Won't Learn in Film School

By: Roy Sencio

Film school is just that, school. Just like other education you won’t learn everything you need to survive from reading a book or listening to lectures and working on projects. The experience of being on set is unlike anything else, it is the ultimate education. You will learn so much about the “real world” of filmmaking the first day you step on set. The glow of the camera and supposed glamour quickly fades when you realize how long those work days really are and what day rate means among other things.

People aren’t always nice
In school you have a code of being at least decent because there are always people who will tattle tell and get you in trouble and in school that matters. On set if you’re an ass to the wrong person you can get fired, and then there are people who can be an asshole as long as they want and it just doesn’t matter but you have to put up with it and serve them.

Time is of the essence
The phrase time is money was never more true than on a film set. Every second can be worth thousands of dollars and if you’re one who screws something up and costs the production lots of money and they will let you know it.

Working nine to five
There’s no such thing. You can work 14-16 hours a day five or six days straight and that is just normal. On non-union jobs there’s no overtime and you just suck it up.

Art goes out the window
It’s all about the money and making the product that will sell, not necessary the most artistic or morally correct film. Also the “artistic vision” if one exists, is not up to you, it’s up to the money men, director, producer and cinematographer. So just shut your mouth and go with the program if you know what’s good for you.

Responsibility for actions
Never is it more evident then when you are working on a multi-million project and something goes wrong and you’re to blame. Suddenly you understand the importance of accountability for your actions.

Filmmaking is really, really fun
When you start actually making movies you remember why you got into this crazy business in the first place and the thrill of being part of something so much bigger than yourself. It’s the best feeling going and seeing something you made in the theaters or on television, there’s nothing like it.

About the Author:
Roy is a marketing and advertising consultant, radio and TV commercial producer.

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