Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communications

First Advisor

Dr. David Ozmun

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeff Root

Third Advisor

Dr. Doug Reed

Abstract

Every filmmaker creates their own unique path to producing motion pictures. Some start out at the bottom of the chain, getting cups of water for the director while learning the craft. Steven Spielberg started as a boy by filming a nine-minute feature with a 8mm camera that earned him a merit badge in Boy Scouts (Steven). I started learning the craft at the early age of eleven, and have since completed seven films, a dozen episodes of a sitcom, and countless news stories, wedding ceremonies, senior videos, and recruiting films. When I enrolled at Ouachita four years ago I knew I wanted to continue to pursue this craft. Three of those completed films were made while I was a student at Ouachita. I also worked as the director of photography on an additional film, and directed an incomplete movie project for a motion picture production course.

Through the making of each of these projects I've learned something unique about filmmaking, and specifically, student filmmaking. So when it came time for me to choose a topic for my honor's thesis, there was really only one logical choice. Through my experiences I have learned much about the "dos" and "don'ts" of making a movie. I've had successes that have led to splashy, Hollywood-style premieres. And, in the case of the incomplete student film I directed, I've had disappointments. In short, it has been a learning process with a plethora of ups and downs. Every filmmaker will fail. Alfred Hitchcock didn't make his money back on some of his later films like Topaz, and The Deer Hunter director Michael Ciminio almost ruined his career with the expensive Heaven 's Gate (Internet Movie), which became one of the most notorious flops in film history.

With the aide of my own experiences, this paper will present a guide to avoiding many of the basic problems that plague aspiring student filmmakers. First, there are items and knowledge a filmmaker will need in pre-production, such as how to write an efficient script that will take into account your limitations. Second, what to do to most effectively utilize the production time when filming. Third, how to survive the editing process, and finally, how to properly market a film.

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