Cracking Down on Student Films

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    • #47102

      (insert long sigh) Yes, I admit I too made a ‘Student Film’. Had to otherwise they wouldn’t have let me graduate. That said, I did my very best to avoid as many cliche’s as humanly possible to keep it from looking totally like a student film. Actually, I hate student films. Most are so horrific that when an actual gem pops up I can literally hear Handel’s “Messiah” with full orchestra and angelic choir loud and clear.

      The following film “Script Cops” by Scott Rice brings to realization of the ‘crackdown’ on student films that’s long been overdue.

      Unfortunately, this video can’t be embeded so if you want to see it, just copy the link and drop it in your browser search bar.

    • #193895

      That’s funny. But at least you went to film school. I think I am in the category of wannabe, neverwillbe, mightbe…hopetobe.. I’ve mentored some high school students trying to write their own scripts though and the cliches do tend to be all over. Even from these “cool 17 year olds” I end up thinking, really, nobody does this or talks like this.

    • #193896


      Now as an instructor I ‘officially do not hate Student Films’ and make all attempts to encourage a student’s growth. With that in mind, I will drop in the occasional “You sure you want to do that?” Funny thing is; student’s don’t have a lock on bad films. When I’m in the rental store or watching HULU there are many times I ask out loud, “How’d they get the money to shoot this Dog?”

      The main thing I keep in mind is something one of my mentors said, “That you got your film made is the miracle.” So with that I do my best to keep an open mind. Technically, when I was in filmschool I already had 5 years as a pro under my belt and had probably worked on or produced more films than most of the students in my class would ever make in a career! Since I was a ‘ringer’ it’s kind of cheating to say “I made a student film.”

      What’s fun about student films is watching them go through the process with such fanciful enthusiasm and then watch the ‘cold brick of reality’ make it’s beautiful arcing trajectory to connect with such brutal efficiency as they learn to contend with the real-world aspects of making movies. Those who can handle it, make their movies. It’s not much different making films as a pro. You just eventually learn to wear a hard-hat!

    • #193897
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      I remember my first student film, the story sucks so bad that I had to do miracles in the editing so it could at least have some decency. My university does not offer a bachelor in film, just a certificate and many of the students are from English, art or social science. I study economics and my approach to video/film is the business side, so I try to concentrate my film ideas in a way I could make income with them. The student films that I have seen so far have some abstract story, the usual theme of social problems and I wonder, why the rest of the university population does not bother to go see the student films? I’m trying to figure out a way to change this, make something different and along the way make profit, but I think I may fall in the “cliche’s”. What can I do to make films without falling in the cliche’s? Right now I’m working very hard in my video business, knocking on doors offering my services, dealing with legal stuff to incorporate the business and I have this strong feeling that by making films in a different way I could make the clients come to me instead. To me films are an excellent marketing strategy for future income.

    • #193898

      “…My first student film, the story sucks so bad that I had to do miracles
      in the editing…”


      Well the two main elements I’ve found that make student films awful is one, particularly in narratives your age and skill level are biggest problems. Most college students are under 21 and they have a limited background in life experience and interests. The majority of students make ‘coming of age’ films which are relevant to them but are tiresome to anyone who’s seen the constant river of ‘CoAF’s’ that have thundered past over the years. The other killer is skill level. Nobody gets past that one. However, on occasion there’s some good writing and acting so the story though cliche’ keeps you interested.

      When it comes to ‘stories being abstract’, like I said “students don’t have a lock on that!” Take the new “Star Trek” movie. Though it was assuredly a fun film to watch, as a screenwriter I just shook my head and said, “Whatever, you convinced somebody to dump a cargo plane worth of cash to make it.” I won’t go into the plot holes, because I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone who still hasn’t seen it. The problem when you deal with a creative product from the purely ‘business side’ is the suits are too busy trying to make money. That’s fine, but you also want to make something that will hold up when future generations see it too.

      The one upside of student films is they haven’t gotten on that ‘treadmill’ yet so they are completely free to make whatever comes to mind, no matter how bad….

    • #205571

      Hello community,

      I'm very new here and this is my very first post.

      Do you know the short film called "Of dogs and horses"? It won silver at the students' academy awards last year.

      There is a youtube site with the trailer check it out.

      I want to present you a trailer I made with a couple of friends. It's a spoof trailer of this one, have fun and enjoy it:

      The dirrector of the original trailer is totally allright with this one so everything's fine =)

    • #205583

      When I was working in post production in LA some years ago I belonged to the TV Academy, have a stack of Emmy nominations an inch thick, and even hauled a couple of the gaudy little statues home. As a way of " giving back to the community " I was one of the many volunteers who juried student films which were submitted to the Academy.


      They used a three step process of selection. All submissions were viewed for the first five minutes and then given an up or down vote as to whether the films would be sent to the next level, a different panel who would watch the first fifteen minutes from which they selected the finalists.


      I have probably seen more student films than anybody on these forums. My first complaint is that in too many instances, the films opened with a slow and pretentious sequence of pans as the camera " lovingly " carressed the environment in an attempt to draw in the viewer. The next most frequent problem was the poor quality of production sound and the final audio mix. Apparently film schools do a pretty good job of teaching technical aspects of operating a camera, with lighting a not-too-distant second. But that's what " film school " is, isn't it? Students have aspirations of becomming a director, maybe a writer, not necessarily a cameraman, and certainly NOT a sound man . . . .


      Rick Crampton

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