Sunday, August 16, 2009

The World Is Our School...Not Just The Classroom

Okay, settle in kids. It's Sunday so it's Maudlin Pulp Bastard time. I have a few minutes in between stories and scripts and edits so I thought I would share some things that have really bothered me lately. Things that people just aren't realizing have already happened and we just can't go backward. We can look backward. We can learn from it, be inspired by it, but we can't go back.

I've thrown myself into the mosh pit of two discussions over at Ted Hope's Truly Free Film. You can find them here and here. They are really the same discussion / argument / debate and deserve a much wider audience and commentary than what is apparent on the surface.

The point of it all is this:

Everything I need to understand to obtain the equivalent of a film school degree is available online. I have access to editing tools, screening, critical commentary, a vast library of knowledge on the subject as well as ancillary subjects such as art and design and drama. It's all for free and available via laptop, netbook, or IPhone and wifi connection.

I could take a film project from concept to distribution all on the net, harness an audience of my peers and mentors to advise me along the way, and get my hands dirty learning while actually doing it. Just like film school. So...

- with all these resources available to anyone, anywhere...
- with a generation using these tools to mashup videos and music and art and writing...
- with our world becoming more and more wireless...

Why would anyone want to take the step backwards and put film programs in schools? Spend millions of dollars sending filmmakers to schools for workshops within the public school system?
Especially in today's economy?

It just seems that this proposal is more for the filmmakers and less for the students.

It seems to me that instead of making film part of school, where more often than not it will be done just at school, we try to make filmmaking, creativity, learning a part of life.

It seems to me we should try and go to where the kids already are - online - and develop the talent pool from there. Steer the discussion and the tools toward them and let them run with the ball. Fall down. Make mistakes. Fuck it all up...

and learn from it while enjoying the process.

When I do hire assistants or interns, I don't want the one who knows everything from a school book. I want the one who's hungry and driven enough to play with the computer or camera and develop some mad skills. I want the kid who'll go online and look something up that I reference or shoot me an email asking for help.

I want the kid who's constantly learning, because that's a kid who's looking to the future and knows he can handle it. It's part of who he is.

It's appropriate then, that we post this from Jim Henshaw's joint:





A movie that was made from as much seat-of-your-pants filmmaking as it was "book learnin.'"
A movie that was unusually made, unusually edited and unusually successful.
A movie that was made by young people who took an unusual perspective on their subject.

A movie that mere decades ago would have been hard to find at your local video store.
But now, I can watch the whole thing anywhere in easily digestible parts.
I can learn outside the classroom...it just doesn't feel like learning.

And maybe that's the best way to learn to prepare for the future.


2 comments:

Jon Molly said...

...and because you can do all of this so fast and cheap you can take risks. All this experimentation allows us to do things that you'd never consider if you were spending $200,000,000 dollars. Sure, some of the risks won't pan out, but enough will. And every time a risk pays off, it gives us a new way to do things, it elevates the game for the next guy, it keeps us growing.

It's a good time to be in the game.

Michael Field said...

Absolutely agree. But some people can't learn in that kind of mish-mash environment of on the job and searching the web. Some people need the structure of a classroom and people telling them what to do. I am not one of those people, so I will gladly use what the web offers.