Learning to Be a Filmmaker

October 6th, 2010

I have somebody in my immediate family who is learning to be a filmmaker. My boy, who is now 20 years old, has wanted to make films since his early teens. He has interest and commitment as well as a lot of natural talent. Unfortunately, he is dyslexic and has never went to a traditional school, and the idea of having to attend a film school is making him anxious. However,, he is too passionate to give up thus he discovered another means of learning.

So he did what anybody with a desire ought to do in the first place: he took responsibility for his own dream, and became, in a sense, his own teacher.

My son had been home schooled since the second grade, and since identifying his dyslexia, we’d already begun using alternate methods to teach him. We need to transform his home school into something more or less similar to a film school when he made a decision to study in order to become a filmmaker. We expended in a quality camera and computer. We converted movies into classes and read many books on moviemaking and storytelling aloud and we also talked about concepts for a film. While we are at this ,my boy was amazed at the fact that most of his favorite directors never even made it to film school. If they can do it, he surmised, he could do it.

But perhaps the most significant part of his education in studying to be a filmmaker was actually in producing two short films. He took story concepts he’d had in his head, and figured out how to write them in script form. He used a storyboard for his script and plotted the sequence of the shots, just like in the textbook. Friends and family became cast and team, and on one occasion he even held a casting call at a local modeling school. He scouted places to look for shooting areas and obtained the necessary papers in order to be able to film there. He encountered the harsh reality of making a movie when he made his first short film. But by the second short movie, he understood a lot more about what he was performing. He expected the unexpected (as much as possible), and took things in stride, thinking more on his toes and making changes on the fly when required. On the set, he acted like a pro.

At present, my son’s second short movie is entered in contest in film festivals around the nation, and is getting seen by people in the business. He is composing the screenplay for his first full-length movie, and plans to use his short film as a “calling card” of sorts, to show what he can do and secure financial backing for the full-length movie when the script is complete. This is my boy’s ongoing journey of learning to be a filmmaker.

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