Graduates from a Film Studies program have a new opportunity in film & video production. Obviously, with every opportunity comes a challenge – and in cases like this, the challenge is to find financing for your, or your employer’s, projects.
With the advent of digital equipment the scope of film & video production has widened. The usual Hollywood styled film production is no longer the sole route to an occupation for film graduates. You will find a plethora of opportunities in audio and visual applications throughout business, government and the entertainment industry. That means Chance for the keenest graduates to create their own film & video projects, or even to land probably the most interesting positions with leading film & video production companies.
Financing has been a dirty word for many years within the film industry. The ‘Blue Suits’ and the cold heart from the banker are synonymous with the enemy of the creative. However, within this new era of opportunity you need to be the ‘Blue Suit’ and also the creative.
How can you find a way to understand film financing, film budgeting, etc.? First let’s examine Film Studies programs. There are plenty of Film Study programs around now that I think it is confusing, and I’ve worked within the film industry for more than two decades. The Universities are taking a Liberal Arts degree approach to their curriculums, as well as the Colleges/Schools are primarily having a hands-on technical approach. In any case, it is actually unarguable that Film Studies is very large business. The following excerpt through the New York City Times Company, published
March 6, 2005©, made it clear for me what size variety.com actually is:
“Some 600 colleges and universities in the usa offer programs in film studies or related subjects, a number which includes grown steadily over time…. In the University of Los Angeles, whose School of Cinema-Television is the nation’s oldest film school (established in 1929), fully one half of the university’s 16,500 undergraduate students take a minumum of one cinema/ television class.”
Which College, School or University will best prepare the graduate for a career in film & video? If a student has invested 2 to 4 years of their lives within this degree, how could they transform it into a worthwhile career?
Let’s see just what the Universities say about their own programs, and the type of results they expect – which is, just what the Graduate will be able to when entering the work force. This promotional letter, posted on a single University’s web site, says all of it:
“A significant in Film Studies will not be an occupational or professional degree. A solid program of studies in this discipline, however, should qualify a student for a number of vocational possibilities. Obviously someone should employ her or his information about film in either a creative or perhaps a practical capacity and, either way, exercise the judgment and initiative that a rigorous search for an important in Film Studies should develop.”
The use of ‘should’ twice in three sentences tells the story – it’s your choice, Bud!
Film Studies programs (at any level) either don’t address, or don’t address strongly enough, the key force behind all film and video production – the MONEY! If the word money is brought up in any way, it’s merely a handshake along with a nod. Most undergraduate programs have very little mention of Film Budgeting, and such things as Cost Reports and Business Plans are treated as foreign topics entirely. The Masters programs are just slightly better.
The reason for the void of knowledge on such things as Film Budgets, Cost Reports, etc. inside the academic sector comes from the large Hollywood production machine. The perpetual negotiations with the three big guilds (SAG, DGA and WGA), along with with the IATSE & Teamster crew unions has forced the producing studios to be extremely confidential.
That era of total confidentiality isn’t over, nevertheless there exists a huge demand to learn a little more about film financing, film budgeting, etc. The new crop of Independent Film & Video makers need to make their very own projects, find nanuxb own financing and do their particular film budgeting and reporting of production costs. It is actually even increasingly easy for producers to distribute their particular projects on the internet.
Believe me, the film school graduate who may have a complete comprehension of their Film Studies program, AND understands the fundamental processes of Film Budgeting, Cost Reporting and Business Plans, is light-years ahead of the pack. A film studies graduate who can help create a financing package (which is, assistance to prepare a Film Budget and a simple Business Strategy) would absolutely blow away any Independent Film & Video Production company. Are you able to imagine an Independent Producer who wouldn’t LOVE to have help with preparing and presenting a financing package?