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5.09.2008

State of Student Films Address - May 08

I went to a student film festival for a local film school last night. I feel that it is good for me to be "up" on what the film students of today are producing today. And today these particular students are producing terrible movies.

I've gone to other screenings for this school and have seen some really good stuff, but not last night. My favorite film of the night was a fantastically brilliant 30 second piece. I'll recount the story, though my telling won't do it justice:

A guy and a girl walk to school together in a rather emo fashion: Heads down, backs slouched.

A bully runs up, shoves the guy, takes his hat and throws it over a fence. Then he moves on.

The guy and girl look down and notice they are holding hands. They smile at each other and walk on to school, hand in hand.

Fade to white.


Perfect.

Then the movie went on for another 7 minutes. What? Why?


End Your Films

That was one of the fundamental problems of every film there: You were begging the filmmakers to stop their movie before they finally did. Every film was too long... except one, which was short but too long for its really lame idea that no one could relate to.

The other major problem of the night was terrible audio. Senior projects with thousands of dollars behind them had scenes that were impossible to understand because they couldn't be bothered to properly mic the actors.

Oh, and several of the films were far too preachy. It's not just Christian films that do it, not by a long shot.


What good came out of the night? Well, I had fun with the group I was with. There's something enjoyable about going to see movies together, even (especially?) if they are terrible. I had a similar feeling after seeing Tomb Raider 2 and AVP (both of which I saw for free... had it cost money I would have been bothered, the same applies to last night's event as well).

Perhaps surprisingly, I also have much more hope for today's filmmakers. Not students, per se, but young filmmakers. If that is what the "educated" filmmakers are producing and I see better stuff from kids in a 24 hour film festival--there's hope.

Lessons to be learned from the mistakes of others?

  • 1. Keep your shorts short... and don't make a feature.
  • 2. Keep your idea simple, sweet, and to the point. Keep it short.
  • 3. Make sure your audio is good. If you audio reeks, no one cares if you're shooting film or on a RED.
  • 4. Did I mention keeping your story to the point?

And if your movies, like mine, aren't that great... don't worry, you are at least on par with the students at your local film school. ~Luke Holzmann Your Media Production Mentor
Ps. I may do more "State of Student Film Addresses" in the future. We'll see.

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