Film School Confidential: The Insider’s Guide to Film Schools.

Film School Confidential: The Insider’s Guide to Film Schools. – book reviews

Ray Privett

Film School Confidential: The Insider’s Guide to Film Schools by Karen Kelly and Tom Edgar (Perigee, 260pp., $13). Two veterans outline politics and policies of 26 film production schools in the U.S. The tough opening essays might wake up daydreaming future and current pros with some harsh and useful generalizations: “While the film industry is the single largest beneficiary of film education, it does not pay a penny toward it” … “If you come out of film school without [directing] a film, you might as well not have gone to film school at all.” The analyses of films themselves, though, are questionable at best: “It is hard to appreciate how liberating the portrayal of clearly defined good guys and bad guys was in Star Wars when it was first released.” The reviews are often cynical or shallow – the authors obviously dislike their alma mater, and it’s not hard to tell from the varying depth of the analyses where they like to spend their time. Still, the reviews offer useful breakdowns of school type (industry, i.e., studio; independent; experimental), technical resources, and costs. Industry grooming is clearly favored; an anonymous Columbia College (Illinois) student is approvingly quoted saying Columbia’s faculty prefer “pretentious, uptight … suicide films and vampire films.” But the authors speak highly of some other independent- and avant-garde-geared schools in the Southeast and upper Midwest, where costs are low and equipment accessible. At the U. of New Orleans, “you can take all the money you would have spent on usc or NYU and make films with it.” A hack book, but a useful guide. –Ray Privett

COPYRIGHT 1997 Film Society of Lincoln Center

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group