Graduates from the Film Studies program have a new opportunity in film & video production. Of course, with every opportunity comes a challenge – and in this case, the challenge is to find financing for your, or your employer’s, projects.
Using the introduction of digital equipment the scope of film & video production has widened. The usual Hollywood styled film production has stopped being the only real path to a profession for film graduates. You will find a multitude of opportunities in audio and visual applications throughout business, government and the entertainment industry. Which means Chance for the keenest graduates to generate their own film & video projects, or land probably the most interesting positions with leading film & video production companies.
Financing has been a dirty word for many years in the film industry. The ‘Blue Suits’ and the cold heart from the banker are synonymous with the enemy of the creative. However, in this particular new era of opportunity you have to be both ‘Blue Suit’ as well as the creative.
How can you try to understand film financing, film budgeting, etc.? First let’s look at Film Studies programs. There are plenty of Film Study programs available now that I find it confusing, and I’ve worked within the film industry more than two decades. The Universities are taking a Liberal Arts degree approach to their curriculums, and also the Colleges/Schools are primarily taking a hands-on technical approach. Either way, it is actually unarguable that Film Studies is big business. These excerpt from your New York City Times Company, published
March 6, 2005©, made it clear in my opinion how large Kia Jam is really:
“Some 600 colleges and universities in the usa offer programs in film studies or related subjects, a number which has grown steadily through the years…. In the University of Southern California, whose School of Cinema-Television is the nation’s oldest film school (established in 1929), fully half of the university’s 16,500 undergraduate students take at least one cinema/ television class.”
Which College, School or University will best prepare the graduate for a career in film & video? In case a student has invested 2 to 4 years of their lives within this degree, how could they turn it into a worthwhile career?
Let’s see what the Universities say about their own programs, and the kind of results they expect – that is certainly, exactly what the Graduate is going to be able to when entering the job force. This promotional letter, posted using one University’s web site, says it all:
“A major in Film Studies is not really an occupational or professional degree. A solid program of studies in this particular discipline, however, should qualify students for many different vocational possibilities. Obviously a person will need to employ his or her information about film in either a creative or a practical capacity and, in any case, exercise the judgment and initiative that a rigorous search for a major in Film Studies should develop.”
The usage of ‘should’ twice in three sentences tells the story – it’s up to you, 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 funds are brought up at all, it’s just a handshake along with a nod. Most undergraduate programs have almost no mention of Film Budgeting, and things such as Cost Reports and Business Plans are treated as foreign topics entirely. The Masters programs are merely slightly better.
The reason behind the void of data on things such as Film Budgets, Cost Reports, etc. in the academic sector comes from the large Hollywood production machine. The perpetual negotiations with all the three big guilds (SAG, DGA and WGA), as well as using the IATSE & Teamster crew unions has forced the producing studios to be extremely confidential.
That era of total confidentiality isn’t over, nevertheless you will find a huge demand to find out much more about film financing, film budgeting, etc. The newest crop of Independent Film & Video makers intend to make their own projects, find nanuxb own financing and do their own film budgeting and reporting of production costs. It really is even increasingly possible for producers to distribute their own projects over the internet.
Trust me, the film school graduate that has a thorough comprehension of their Film Studies program, AND understands the basic processes of Film Budgeting, Cost Reporting and Business Plans, is light-years in front of the pack. A film studies graduate who are able to help make a financing package (that is certainly, assist to create a Film Budget along with a simple Business Plan) would absolutely blow away any Independent Film & Video Production company. Can you imagine an unbiased Producer who wouldn’t Like to have help with preparing and presenting a financing package?