Graduates from a Film Studies program have a new opportunity in film & video production. Needless to say, 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 development of digital equipment the scope of film & video production has widened. The typical Hollywood styled film production is no longer the sole route to an occupation for film graduates. There are a multitude of opportunities in audio and visual applications throughout business, government as well as the entertainment industry. Which means Chance of the keenest graduates to generate their very own film & video projects, or to land 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 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’ as well as the creative.
How do you try to understand film financing, film budgeting, etc.? First let’s take a look at Film Studies programs. There are numerous Film Study programs around given that I find it confusing, and I’ve worked within 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. In either case, it is unarguable that Film Studies is large business. The following excerpt from The Ny Times Company, published
March 6, 2005©, made it clear in my opinion how big variety.com really is:
“Some 600 universites and colleges in the United States offer programs in film studies or related subjects, a number that has 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 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 any career in film & video? When a student has invested 2 to 4 many years of their lives in this particular degree, just how can they transform it into a worthwhile career?
Let’s see exactly what the Universities say about their own programs, and the sort of results they expect – that is certainly, exactly what the Graduate will likely be competent at when entering the work force. This promotional letter, posted on one University’s web site, says it all:
“A significant in Film Studies is not really an occupational or professional degree. A sound program of studies in this particular discipline, however, should qualify students for a number of vocational possibilities. Obviously an individual will have to employ her or his information about film either in a creative or a practical capacity and, in either case, exercise the judgment and initiative that a rigorous search for a significant in Film Studies should develop.”
The usage of ‘should’ twice in three sentences tells the history – 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 MONEY! If the word funds are brought up at all, it’s merely a handshake along with a nod. Most undergraduate programs have almost no reference to 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 information on things like Film Budgets, Cost Reports, etc. in the academic sector comes from the major Hollywood production machine. The perpetual negotiations with all the three big guilds (SAG, DGA and WGA), along with using the IATSE & Teamster crew unions has forced the producing studios to become extremely confidential.
That era of total confidentiality isn’t over, nevertheless there exists a huge demand to know much more about film financing, film budgeting, etc. The newest crop of Independent Film & Video makers need to make their very own projects, find nanuxb own financing and do their own film budgeting and reporting of production costs. It is even increasingly possible for producers to distribute their very own projects over the internet.
Believe me, the film school graduate that has a complete knowledge 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 are able to help prepare a financing package (that is, assist to prepare a Film Budget and a simple Strategic Business Plan) would absolutely blow away any Independent Film & Video Production company. Could you imagine an unbiased Producer who wouldn’t LOVE to have help with preparing and presenting a financing package?