Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Florida State University

Last weekend I went to Florida State University where I spoke with a group of film students working on their thesis films.  The dumb filmmaker likes nothing better than a road trip, and getting a chance to talk film with passionate film students was the icing on the cake- or perhaps the cake itself.  I think the cultural exchange-  visiting and lecturing at another institution- was very valuable.  

FSU has a good program.  There are only 60 undergraduates.  The program is set up like this- the first two years are general education classes and the final two years is hardcore filmmaking.  I really like the practical, hands on approach- something we do at Flashpoint.  I also liked seeing how the students really had to collaborate.  Each student must serve as a writer/director, producer, DP, a.d., sound, production designer or editor on a film.  There are some other hard rules as well- films cannot be more than seven and a half minutes- they will not be accepted otherwise.  For the thesis (B.F.A.)  films the school pays for 2000 feet of film and processing and gives each film a $250 stipend for food and production design.

Having taught only at urban campuses, I was envious that students had 24 hour access.  I was in the film department at 11pm Saturday night and there were probably 20 students editing, building sets, meeting etc....  It was great to see and reminded me of my own misspent youth hanging out making film at all hours.

My lecture was about personal vision.  I bored them with my journey, then we talked about Tom McCarthy- writer/director of The Visitor and The Station Agent and his personal vision. Regarding both films we talked about what makes family and community and themes of connection.  It was a nice evening- the students were engaged and engaging and some even took notes.  Several asked me if they could send me their work so I could comment.  I look forward to seeing it.

I want to send a special thanks to Joey Daoud who found me, thanks in part to this blog, and brought me down to speak.  Check out his Coffee and Celluloid blog- a good taste of what it is like to be a hard working film student.

Finally, despite the nice trip, it is nice to be home.  My own Flashpoint film students began their second productions this past Monday and I look forward to seeing what they produce.



Anonymous said...

I guess I'm addicted to film blogs - I've spent the day reading Joey's now. I almost feel a bit like I'm cheating for the upcoming classes.

Joey said...

Thanks again for the visit. It was great and well needed.

Taistix said...