In Focus: Film Making

Posted on March 7, 2010 in Alternative Careers

Sandeep Dasika:

Film, in today’s world is probably the broadest and most creative opportunity in mass media communications. Films, which are a blend of creativity and technicality, are an important media form not only from the entertainment point of view but also for communication and information. Film-making includes feature-films, documentaries, newsreels, promotional films, television commercials and music videos – all having a common purpose – to entertain the audience or to create a sense of social awareness. It is also important for one to realize that film-making involves not only feature films and television- Corporate informational and training videos, video games and commercials are also developing as areas of employment.

The process of film-making however, needs co-ordination and team work of various skilled individuals. It involves acting, directing, script writing, editing, sound recording, visual mixing, cinematography and so on. It is in the interests of the film-maker to look at all these aspects, to start from scratch and work his way up.

So, what does it take to become a film-maker? Well, creativity, desire, motivation, focus, self-discipline and patience are perhaps the most important attributes of a budding filmmaker. The most important quality, however, is that you should be an avid and unique story-teller.

Now, how do you know that the field of film-making is the right choice for you? Well, if you have the artistic and technical skills and an ability to express yourself in the best possible manner and above all if you have passion for films and film-making, then this field is definitely for you!!

Celebrated film makers:

One of the most proficient filmmakers in today’s cinema-world, undoubtedly, is Steven Allan Spielberg. Born on December 18, 1946, Steven Spielberg is an American film director, screenwriter, and a film-producer. A quotation by Hugh Allen says… “Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along”. At the age of 13, Steven Spielberg won a prize for a 40-minute war-film titled ‘ESCAPE TO NOWHERE’. At the age of 16, Spielberg wrote and directed his first independent film, a 140-minute science fiction adventure called ‘FIRELIGHT’, which generated a profit of $1.00. So intense was the passion of this great film-legend at such a young age. Steven Spielberg has won three academy awards till now. He has been nominated for six academy awards for the category of best director, being successful at winning two of them-one for ‘SCHINDLER’S LIST’ and the other for ‘SAVING PRIVATE RYAN’.

To cite another name, Alfred Hitchcock -the master of the thriller genre, which he virtually invented. He was the youngest of the three sons of William Hitchcock, who was a greengrocer and a poulterer, and Emma Hitchcock. There were many instances in his life when he was harshly treated and wrongly accused by his father and mother, the portrayals of which were frequently reflected in his movies. After his graduation, Alfred Hitchcock employed himself as an advertising engineer in a cable company. During this time, Hitchcock became quite fascinated by photography and started working for a production house in London, which later came to be known as the Paramount Pictures. Alfred Hitchcock often described his childhood as being very lonely and sheltered, which he says was due to his obesity. But such is his passion for film making that he has earned the title ‘MASTER OF SUSPENSE’.

To cite a few more examples- John Ford, whose career spanned for more than 50 years and is regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of his time; William Wyler, who was regarded as a ‘Master craftsman of cinema’ of his time. Then there was Satyajit Ray, who is regarded as the giant of Indian cinema. He was honored with the lifetime achievement Oscar award and the Bharat Ratna award for his invaluable contribution to the world of cinema.

These examples of film-legends suffice the need for ‘passion’… a passion for what you do, for want you want to achieve and for whom you look up to.

So where to start from? The best choice perhaps would be to go for research colleges and other post-secondary institutions that specialize in film-making. It is important that one realizes that film-making is complex, expensive and time consuming and one needs to put conscious efforts to come out with flying colors. Potential film-makers spend several years perfecting their craft while studying all aspects of the same. Always remember, Learn by Doing.

According to Mark Gerrard, a television producer at paramount pictures in Hollywood, “The best way to be successful in the entertainment industry is to be able to train with professionals on working television and movie sets.” Gone are the days when you show up at a movie studio, beg for a chance, sweep the floors and then start working all the way up.

Good Film making courses:

* Film and Television Institute of India, Law College Road, Pune 411004.
* Academy 18, Studio18 Ltd, 8, Balaji Estate, Guru Ravi Das Marg, Kalkaji, New Delhi110019
* University of Mysore, Crawford Hall, Mysore 570005
* Bihar Institute of film and Television, Pataliputra Colony, Patna
* Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute EM Byepass, Kolkata 700094
* Whistling Woods International, Mumbai

more info at

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.