We capped off 2018 by looking at the American film industry, at those who dared to dream and in doing so changed filmmakers’ worlds for the better. If you didn’t see it, it’s right here. This first post of 2019 begins with the same theme – dreams; the dreams we have here at Filmmakers Academy (one of which is a dream that we have chased for several years now is finally becoming a reality) and, just as importantly, your dreams and your pursuit of them.
Like the gold prospectors of the 1860s, we are pioneers of the filmmaking world! We knew that with this website, we were onto something and that got us pumped, we planted our stake in the ground and we worked night and day, rain and shine to get it. Now it’s so close, I gotta tell you, it’s 24-carat gold!
When Filmmakers Academy (formerly Hurlbut Visuals) started in 2014, we had one goal: bring the very best ideas and techniques in filmmaking to each and every one of you, and teach you the skills you need to pursue your dream of being a filmmaker. This site is as much us as it is you, it has been years in the making, and it has been blood, sweat, and tears.
It’s all for the love of film and that rush of adrenaline we get from filmmaking. It is, in short, a monumental game changer. And before anyone goes there, this isn’t a blog-post-sales pitch a la some vlogger from Jersey Shore dishing on teeth whitening kits or avocado underwear.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about – we buy charcoal to put in our mouths because this fresh-faced “vlogger” told us about it on YouTube.”
This is me – a filmmaker – like you, absolutely bouncing with excitement about this website and the seismic shift it is going to bring about in the movie-making world. Inevitably the tough times will come where our dreams become secondary to everything else – people raiding their sofas for change, working double shifts and scrabbling for every penny they can get, wondering if they will ever make it in this industry or if they should get “a proper job”. I empathize with every single one of you who has had any of the above but don’t give up on your dreams, guys – fight for them. Last week was MLK day here in the US – to quote the great man, “If you can’t fly then run if you can’t run then walk if you can’t walk then crawl,” but do whatever you have to do to move forward and achieve that dream. If it means that much to you, you’ll do it.
So, before we go down the rabbit hole here, grab a coffee, beer, red bull, tequila, whatever because I can really go on about this site.
Filmmakers Academy exists because, as a cinematographer with 35 years of on-set experience, it was obvious that we needed something to bridge the gap from Film School to going straight in, raw on set. We need to make it so that people can walk onto a set and feel empowered to be able to work on and make movies – that’s what we all want, right?
That’s why the Filmmakers Academy website has over 400 articles of customized content as well as the highest quality video tutorials specifically created for and targeted at your needs.
There are lessons in anything from lighting a close-up shot of someone like Will Ferrell in the movie Semi-Pro…
…to shooting stunt scenes and huge high-octane car chases in Need for Speed.
You can access lesson packages about commercials such as Coors Light – how we lit and shot the bottles and cans, created some unbelievably cool techniques that blew people away, and all the BTS of how we shot the Superbowl ad. We have covered everything and continue to generate content that will entertain, excite and inspire you guys to carry the baton for generations to come.
I don’t just tell you guys the secrets of blocking, camera positions, and lighting (to name but a few), I show you! We literally re-created whole scenes, set and everything and then I could break them down systematically and show you how we scouted, prepared, lit them, and shot them.
Couple all that with a big old boat-load of valuable resources with every lesson and you’ve got a resource that is nothing short of incredible, right? What’s more, you can learn everything at your own pace, you can access lesson packages and check your progress or even individual lessons. We even had our web designers include a map function that shows the whole world with every single one of our members and the city they are from and working in. Why? So you can learn and then meet up, collaborate and create together with others. Imagine that – knowing that if you’re in Amsterdam you can see that other Inner Circle Members are nearby and you can share practices, hang out, share and build dreams together! Surround yourself with people who share your dreams, because they will inspire you to fight for them.
In this industry, if you want to chase your dream of working in film, if you want to learn in a film school about movies and about the science of making movies, you’re looking at fees up to a hundred thousand dollars: one film school in LA starts at around $15,000 a semester…
It is John C. Reilly, well said!
So, for the initial few years even up to the first decade of their film careers, film students are crippled by repaying student loans. Heck, if these graduates don’t get the work, they’re totally screwed! With this site, for the platinum (the very top) package, people pay less than $1000 for unlimited access to the whole site – don’t reach for the calculator, I already did the math for you. Ready for it? $2.73 a day. Less than a 7Eleven cup of joe in the morning. Throw a swear jar on the coffee table and invite that uncle around who bangs his toe on every piece of furniture, you’ll pay it off by lunch! Mind-blown gif incoming!
I am a cinematographer, I’m a dreamer like all of you (that’s our collective passion, it’s what unites us) and most importantly, I’m a huge believer in education, in passing my knowledge on to the next generation, and giving them the confidence to explore, adventure and find new ways, new methods, new techniques themselves to make awesome movies, to kick ass and to change the cinematic universe for the better!
PLAY ME & READ THE BELOW
Sure, with this site you don’t get the diploma. You don’t get the gown with some cheesy music playing whilst your name is read out amongst 800 other names (the media above will help you to imagine it). Your parents don’t get to put on a suit that itches when it’s 104 outside and get a portrait of you in the most God-awful cap that looks like a rejected costume from a low-budget Harry Potter remake!
Let me just blow your minds for a moment. The film industry doesn’t care about titles and university degrees. Don’t believe me? Look up Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and even Steven Spielberg. If you’ve got passion and you truly love film, that shines through and drives you to be greater than any of the pomp and ceremony.
You’ve read this far, you’re still reading this sentence now, you’re part of this journey now (“Woah, guys, he’s gone meta!” – It’s like Bandersnatch in a blog!) so I truly hope you can understand why I’m so excited about the website my team and I are bringing into your world. This website is our greatest achievement to date, it breaks the mold, it changes the game and it allows me to take the one-on-one teaching that I’ve given to my proteges for decades and deliver it to every corner of the world. Filmmakers from Moscow to Manchester, New York to Namibia can learn and be inspired to create, adventure, and indulge in the industry that they all collectively dream about. You dream about it and you know you do – that’s why you’re reading my blog and you know what, I dream about it too.
I’m a pioneer, I’m a prospector and I’ve found “my site.”