Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Wednesday Inbox

An e-mail dropped into my inbox the other day with the following short Utube video titled Film School or No Film School?

Ah yes, the eternal question for which there is no answer.

I didn't go to a real film school, but attended an institution of higher learning that offered just enough film classes to spark my interest, lure me away from the more rigorous (read: useful) fields of academic study, and eventually take me down the glittering road to perdition through all nine circles of the modern day Dante’s Inferno we call "Hollywood." Although a sketchy education in film isn't much help in the art of juicing (indeed, it can be a hindrance if you don't know when to keep your mouth shut), it's nice -- as happened at work last week -- to be able to carry on a conversation with one of the show's writers at the craft service table about the films of John Ford.

Not that this short conversation added any numbers or moved the decimal point on my paycheck mind you, but man does not live by bread alone.

The e-mail was from a recent NYU graduate who has -- with a fellow (if opposite coast) film school grad -- formed what they're calling National Film Society. That's an awfully big name for what seems to be a rather small organization, but hey, mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow. A description of NFS in their own words:

"The National Film Society is a new media studio co-founded by filmmakers Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco, who've decided to take their talents to YouTube. They produce original content, showcase amazing works, interview talented creators and make fun of each other as much as possible."

I have no idea if attending one of the elite film schools is really worth the horrendous expense. It's hard to justify borrowing $120 grand to get a degree in the filmic arts unless you really do have what it takes to become a very well paid writer, producer, directer, or cinematographer-- and I know people who have become all of the above without benefit of a degree from a film school. But if you've got the money and the desire, why not? Especially if after you've spent all that money and still can't get a job, you're able to retain your sense of humor.

As you'll see in Steven and Patrick's short video, they have a lively sense of fun, and don't take themselves too seriously. That, I like. Good luck, guys.


More good listening: Monday night's "Fresh Air" on NPR featured two interviews that will interest fans of "Breaking Bad," one with series co-star Aaron Paul, and the second with the show's creator Vince Gilligan, a man who -- as far as I'm concerned -- has been walking on water out there in the New Mexico desert for the past four seasons. Altogether these two interviews are less than an hour, and worth every minute of your time.


Yet another e-mail this week alerted me to a blog called Hollywood Oracle. In their own words, "The Hollywood Oracle is committed to delivering informed, insightful advice about how to make a successful move to Los Angeles and work in the entertainment industry."

Advice from those who have walked this path can be useful for any young Hollywood dreamer. Take a look -- you just might like what you find. And if you forget to bookmark it, there's a permanent link under my Industry Blogroll over on the right side of the page.

And those are your tips 'o the week. Check em' out...

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