Graduates from the Film Studies program have a new opportunity in film & video production. Of course, 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 all the introduction of digital equipment the scope of film & video production has widened. The typical Hollywood styled film production is no longer the only real way to an occupation for film graduates. You can find a plethora of opportunities in audio and visual applications throughout business, government and the entertainment industry. This means Chance for the keenest graduates to produce their very own film & video projects, or to land probably the most interesting positions with leading film & video production companies.
Financing is a dirty word for a long time in the film industry. The ‘Blue Suits’ and also the cold heart in the banker are synonymous with the enemy of the creative. However, in this new era of opportunity you need to be both the ‘Blue Suit’ and the creative.
How can you find a way to understand film financing, film budgeting, etc.? First let’s examine Film Studies programs. There are so many Film Study programs around since I find it confusing, and I’ve worked in the film industry for over twenty years. The Universities take a Liberal Arts degree approach to their curriculums, and the Colleges/Schools are primarily taking a hands-on technical approach. Either way, it is unarguable that Film Studies is large business. The subsequent excerpt from The New York City Times Company, published
March 6, 2005©, made it clear to me how big Kia Jam is really:
“Some 600 colleges and universities in america offer programs in film studies or related subjects, a number that has grown steadily over time…. On 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? If a student has invested two to four numerous years of their lives within this degree, how can they convert it into a worthwhile career?
Let’s see what the Universities say with regards to their own programs, and the sort of results they expect – that is, just what the Graduate is going to be able to when entering the job force. This promotional letter, posted on one University’s website, says it all:
“A significant in Film Studies is not really an occupational or professional degree. A solid program of studies within this discipline, however, should qualify a student for a variety of vocational possibilities. Obviously a person should employ her or his information about film in either a creative or even a practical capacity and, in either case, exercise the judgment and initiative that the rigorous pursuit of a major in Film Studies should develop.”
The use of ‘should’ twice in three sentences tells the tale – it’s up to you, Bud!
Film Studies programs (at any level) either don’t address, or don’t address strongly enough, the major force behind all film and video production – the amount of money! In the event the word funds are brought up at all, it’s merely a handshake and a nod. Most undergraduate programs have hardly any mention of Film Budgeting, and things such as Cost Reports and Business Plans are treated as foreign topics entirely. The Masters programs are only slightly better.
The explanation for the void of knowledge on such things as Film Budgets, Cost Reports, etc. in the academic sector originates from the big 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 know a little more about film financing, film budgeting, etc. The newest crop of Independent Film & Video makers intend to make their particular projects, find nanuxb own financing and do their own film budgeting and reporting of production costs. It is actually even increasingly feasible for producers to distribute their own projects over the internet.
Believe me, the film school graduate who has a complete understanding of their Film Studies program, AND understands the essential processes of Film Budgeting, Cost Reporting and Business Plans, is light-years ahead of the pack. A film studies graduate that can help prepare a financing package (which is, assistance to create a Film Budget along with a simple Business Plan) would absolutely blow away any Independent Film & Video Production company. Can you imagine a completely independent Producer who wouldn’t LOVE to have assist with preparing and presenting a financing package?