X

Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

June 23 at 8:20am

Integrating Entrepreneurial Training Into Graduate Film Programs

By Ted Hope

I was excited to learn recently about how entrepreneurial skills are in integral part of the University of Central Florida MFA filmmaking program.  I gave a talk at LAFF on “The Rise Of  The Artist Entrepreneur” and find many filmmakers woefully under-equipped to navigate the demands of both survival and creation in today’s world.  Randy Finch helped start UCF’s innovative program in 2005 and I asked him to explain it a bit further. This is his guest post:

By Randy Finch
Not all filmmakers want to know about writing business plans, entity formation, the uses of social media and DIY distribution strategies. The MFA program at UCF is not for everyone. Our program is designed for a small group of microbudget digital filmmakers. If you are not prepared to do everything (including raising your own financing) that it takes to get a feature made and marketed for under $50,000, we’re not for you.
While I agree with Ted that financing, distribution and marketing should be woven into today’s independent filmmaker’s education, I also understand the recent backlash from filmmakers who have no interest in these subjects. The reason most of us got into this was not to become experts in distribution, marketing or finance. But in the 20+ years since I first became an independent filmmaker, I’ve been compelled to learn about VHS deals, sale leasebacks, foreign presales, negative pick-ups and all sorts of other arcane (and now mostly useless) business practices.

As far as I can tell, being an independent filmmaker has always meant hustling to get the money and an audience. So teaching my students about the new models of distribution, transmedia storytelling, forming an LLC and the like – is not really such a stretch. Just like all the other parts of the filmmaking process, the entrepreneurial stuff independent filmmakers must navigate today are just skills that can (and, I think, should) be learned. Of course, you can choose to ignore what happens with your film after you’re done with the editing – just as you can choose to ignore visual storytelling, sound recording and the intricacies of post-production workflow – but the more you know about all aspects of the filmmaking process, the better.

I’d be lying if I said that the students in our Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema MFA track all happily accomplish every task we put in front of them. The two classes they are required to take in UCF’s Business School (Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Formation) are generally not their favorites. And the paperwork they are required to submit to get their degree (after they’ve written, budgeted, scheduled, financed, insured, pre-produced, cast, crewed, directed, edited, and mixed their own microbudget feature) detailing everything they’ve done and how they now plan to release their film, always seems excessive. (I tell them that we require less paperwork than the delivery requirements of most distribution companies, but it never seems to soothe them.)

But now that their films are starting to circulate, and our graduates are starting their own careers, the results are very positive. Last time I checked, everyone who has received an MFA from UCF Film is working in the film business. And the first three graduates from our program have all launched their films on the festival circuit, where they all have won awards (including: Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 Gasparilla International Film Festival, Best Feature Director 2009 LA Femme Film Festival, 2009 Silver Crystal Reel Award for Best Feature $1 Million and Under from the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association, and Best Feature, Best Score and Best Cinematography at the 2009 Bend Film Festival in Oregon).

So, in addition to a finished feature length film and an MFA (a credential that will allow them to teach at the University level), everyone who completes UCF’s graduate program in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema has been exposed to ALL parts of the filmmaking process – including film financing, marketing and distribution using online tools. Whether they want to use all the tools when they get out is up to them. But, by the time they graduate, all our students really know what it takes to make and market an independent feature.

– Randy Finch

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print

213 Comments

leave a comment
  1. www / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  2. www / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your website.

  3. www / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now ;)

  4. www / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    I blog often and I seriously appreciate your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  5. Happy New Year / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    An outstanding share!

  6. Prueba nombre / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    prueba comentario

  7. Evan Conces / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    It’s in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.

  9. Zachery Volkert / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    Howdy very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally…I am happy to search out so many useful information right here in the submit, we want develop extra strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.

  10. Alexis Dovalina / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    I really enjoy reading on this site, it contains great content. “The living is a species of the dead and not a very attractive one.” by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

  11. Santo Stremi / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    My wife and i felt very happy when Peter could complete his studies from your ideas he came across out of your web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply happen to be giving away guides which the others could have been selling. And now we acknowledge we have the website owner to appreciate because of that. The entire explanations you made, the easy web site menu, the relationships you will assist to promote – it’s all excellent, and it is aiding our son in addition to us consider that the issue is brilliant, which is certainly wonderfully serious. Many thanks for all the pieces!

  12. James Marnley / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    Great write-up, I’m normal visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the nice operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  13. velcro.co.uk / Jun 23 at 8:20am

    Thanks for your useful article. Other thing is that mesothelioma is generally caused by the breathing of material from mesothelioma, which is a dangerous material. It’s commonly noticed among personnel in the building industry with long contact with asbestos. It can be caused by residing in asbestos protected buildings for a long time of time, Genes plays a huge role, and some folks are more vulnerable for the risk in comparison with others.

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!