So You Want to Get Into the Film Industry? Great Ways to Get Started

By Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz Perhaps it’s because I live in La Jolla, California, a far-off suburb down the road from the movie-television capital of Los Angeles. Or maybe it’s because some people know that a couple of my family members are in the entertainment business. The thing is, every year it never fails that I have one, two or three students dying to major in film and television studies. Right away, I tell them that it is one of the most competitive college majors to get into in the U.S. Everyone Wants to Get Into Movies: So What’s New? A number of students come to me with no experience beyond being obsessed movie fans. They want to act, produce, direct, write or do “something” without any knowledge of what that really means. Others have literally been writing scripts since they were three years old. A few began making homemade videos in middle school. Still others have spent summers in different college and/or freestanding programs learning about animation, film, editing, and anything else they can get their hands on. When push comes to shove, though, it’s not easy to gain access to experiences that realistically help young people know what the film and television world is all about, let alone gain requisite skills. And in order to get accepted into one of the undergraduate cinematic arts programs, you need to have God-given talent and some (if not a lot) of experience. It helps if you know someone (or someone who knows someone who knows someone) in the industry; but not many people do, even if they live in LA or New York. The Creative Media Institute, Summer 2014 That’s why my eyes opened wide when I saw a blurb about a special program Hampshire College is offering this summer. (Just in case you don’t know, Hampshire College, one of the “Amherst Five College Consortium,” has offered an experimental film, photography and video program since the early ’70s and over the years produced dozens of Academy Award and Emmy nominees and winners.) From July 13 through to August 9, this highly respected, out-of-the-box college is hosting The Creative Media Institute, four weeks of creating, editing and screening nonfiction cinema that will take place within hands-on laboratories, workshops, discussions and special events. Hampshire alumnus, Ken Burns, the widely acclaimed producer and director of PBS documentaries such as The Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz, is an integral part of the program. So is another Hampshire alum, Erica Huggins, President of Imagine Entertainment, who works alongside Ron Howard to produce the likes of Rush, the upcoming James Brown movie, Get on Up and the TV series Parenthood. Other guest lecturers include Ivy Meeropol, an esteemed journalist and director of feature documentaries, and Brett Morgen, yet another Hampshire alum, known for his documentaries on OJ Simpson, Robert Evans and most recently, Kurt Cobain. Many other film pros will be involved. Read the full article here:

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