Students in Film Courses, Here’s a Day in the Life of a Production Assistant

Posted on December 2nd, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

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For decades, many young professionals in the film industry have gotten their start as a production assistant. It’s how Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy entered the business in 1979, and it’s one of the first industry jobs actress and producer Mindy Kaling took in the early 2000s.

The production assistant role endures as an entry point in part because the role pops up for all kinds of film and television projects, and in part because the role involves taking on many responsibilities. Becoming a production assistant can be key to meeting future employers and beginning your career in the film industry.

Wondering what a day’s work is like for production assistants? Here is a quick look at what you can expect.

Production Assistants Out of Film Production Schools: Yes, Expect to Get Coffee

It’s a long-running joke that production assistants spend much of their time running around delivering coffee to the various higher-ups on a set or in an office. For many PAs, it’s also a reality.

It may be heartening to learn that it is not just coffee and other foodstuffs that PAs are sent to fetch. Depending on what their bosses might need on a given day, PAs might be sent to collect essential equipment, or asked to buy or return props. Essentially, if there’s something that needs to be grabbed before cameras start rolling, a PA will probably be sent to get it.

Though this portion of the job won’t make great use of the scriptwriting, production, or editing skills you honed at school, you will likely find it is a necessary step toward performing the more engaging work you want to do.

PAs Are Sometimes Tasked With Facilitating Technical Work

If you are interested in doing camera or sound work, or in working with lighting, you can make inroads to those careers by starting as a production assistant.

PAs are sometimes asked to help establish the right conditions for filming. They do things like ensure the set remains quiet, or that other people around the set don’t walk into a shot. They will often also be asked to help load and unload film equipment. For jobs like these, the knowledge from your film courses will certainly come in handy. You will have learned which tools go by what name, and will be familiar with what constitutes ideal filmmaking conditions. You might even be able to take a proactive role, and complete necessary tasks before even being asked.

film production schools

Production assistants often help maintain good filming conditions on set

After Studying in Film Courses, You Might Be Tasked With Managing Paperwork as a PA

One of the more important responsibilities graduates of film production schools might experience as a PA is managing paperwork. This can include tasks like ensuring cast and crew are all given the right copies of scripts, or collecting timesheets. PAs might even be asked to organize a director’s notes, which Steven Spielberg tasked Kathleen Kennedy with doing when she worked as a PA.

Organizational skills developed during your film production education will be helpful while working in this role, and if you make yourself a reliable enough asset, you may find you gain the favour of someone who is higher up on your set. This can lead to future opportunities, or even moments where you are asked for input.

PA jobs are demanding, and involve some work that may seem unrelated to the expertise you developed in film production school. Still, they can open the door to future opportunities as a production coordinator, camera assistant, and even grip positions. They are one of the main ways newcomers break into the film industry. If that is your goal, a PA job may be a good choice after you complete your studies.

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3 Facts About Writers’ Room Hierarchy for Students in Television Schools

Posted on November 25th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

 

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Success in the writers’ room is a collective effort amongst many individuals

Collaboration between many talented minds is fundamental when it comes to writing the next hit television series. Fan favourite shows like Breaking Bad, led by showrunner Vince Gilligan, or Grey’s Anatomy, led by showrunner Shonda Rhimes, could not have been such huge successes without every role in the writers’ room being executed properly.

After graduation, you can rest assured that no matter where you fit in that hierarchy, you will play a meaningful role in the creation of what might just be the next big hit. Keep reading to discover three facts about the writers’ room and its hierarchy.

Students in Film and TV School Will Likely Start Out as Entry Level Writers

Students who are fresh out of television schools will start at the bottom of the hierarchy, often occupying a staff writer position. As a staff writer, you aren’t guaranteed to write an episode and you may not have your name listed on the credits. However, securing this coveted position is a great accomplishment and can be a good stepping stone for your career in television.

It’s up to you to engage with your supervisors as much as possible to become an asset to your showrunner and senior writers. After a season of showing them your potential, you may be promoted to story editor. Story editors can pitch ideas to the senior writers and provide their opinion on the show’s creative direction.

Midlevel Positions Include Executive Story Editor and Co-Producer

Writers’ room midlevel positions include the executive story editor, co-producer, and producer. Professionals who move into these roles likely have a few seasons behind them and understand the ins and outs of the writers’ room. Midlevel writers may be lucky enough to write an episode of their own and appear in the episode’s credits. Duties of these writers can even include attending production meetings and castings.

However, the primary role of a midlevel writer will still mainly include writing and creating stories for a show’s episodes. To achieve the senior writers’ respect, you must demonstrate your dedication and use the knowledge you gained at film and TV school. If you do this successfully, you may move up to a senior writer position as you progress through your career.

 

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Midlevel writers may get the chance to write their own episodes!

 

Experienced Grads of Film and TV School May Become Senior Level Writers

Senior level positions include the supervising producer, co-executive producer, and executive producer, who all work under the guidance of the showrunner. Most of these roles serve as a right-hand to the showrunner, who is in many ways the “CEO” of the TV series. Often, the showrunner wrote the pilot episode and is the driving force behind the idea of the show. The showrunner will also enjoy complete creative control over the TV show. If the showrunner has to be away from the writers’ room for any reason, the senior level writers will step in and take charge.

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Attending Music Production School? Get Inspired By These 3 Superstar Producers

Posted on November 18th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Students at music production school can learn some valuable lessons by looking to the giants of the music world

There are many hugely successful producers in the world of music. They have this special something that seems to let them to hit that right note and makes people play their songs again and again. Looking to some of these professionals for inspiration is a good way for students to improve their own ability.

Whatever your ambitions, there’s someone out there who has experience you can take to heart and use to improve your work. With the right bit of inspiration and a lot of hard work, you can put yourself on the path toward a fulfilling music industry career of your own.

Here are three producers you might find inspiring.

1. Students in Music Production School Might Want to Blend Genres Like Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin has produced for artists as diverse as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Justin Timberlake, and Slayer, and has shared responsibility for many hit albums from the 1980s onwards. He’s not universally loved—some critics think his productions have poor sound quality—but he is appreciated by many artists, and the commercial success of his work speaks for itself.

One aspect of Rubin’s work that students at music production schools might use as inspiration is his tendency to blend genres. From RUN DMC’s cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” to Johnny Cash’s rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” Rubin has been behind multiple covers that arguably eclipse the original songs for quality and prominence.

Consider adding this technique to the long list of skills you develop during your time in audio production school. Borrow beats, chords, and whatever else from one genre and see how they can be tweaked to a new purpose. You might find a unique new combination.

2. Audio Production College Students: Use Simplicity to Be as Memorable as RedOne

The trick to pop music, it seems, is to play simple beats at high volume, and throw in an easily remembered hook to keep listeners singing along. Few have this formula down quite as well as producer RedOne does.

Embracing simplicity can help your pop songs stay memorable

Embracing simplicity can help your pop songs stay memorable

RedOne has produced tracks for Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, and many other artists over the course of his career, employing this same devotion to simplicity and memorability to help artists make it to the upper reaches of the music charts.

Regardless of your feelings about pop music, there’s value to be found in this approach. In music production school and beyond, consider striving for minimalism, or at least simplicity, if the goal is to stay fresh in people’s minds.

3. David Guetta Thinks It’s Better To Embrace Progress Than to Fight It

In 2015, multimillionaire superstar producer David Guetta told the BBC he didn’t see the point of fighting piracy. Piracy was a big reason he was able to sell out arenas with regularity, and while it would be nice to expect a check from every play or download of his music, he said that was “impossible” in the modern landscape. In the interview below, he claims it is better to adapt than to fight against the way things are:

While you may have different feelings about piracy, the general lesson of adapting to the changing landscape is a good one. From delivery systems to audience tastes, the music industry experiences regular change. To find success in your professional life after audio production college, you should combine the expert training you received at school with a willingness to experiment with new developments in the industry. It’s a winning formula that can lead to career success.

Different production superstars have taken different avenues to success, but general lessons can be taken away from all their stories. By experimenting with genres, using simplicity to create a memorable song, and adjusting to accommodate new developments in the music industry, students can look forward to success in their future careers.

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Taking Film Courses? 4 Tips for Making Memorable War Movies

Posted on November 11th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

War movies are some of the most expensive and elaborate to film

War movies are some of the most expensive and elaborate to film

The very first war movie to depict the struggles of battle was The Big Parade, filmed in 1925. The film starred a bartender, riveter, and millionaire’s son thrown into the trenches of WW1 together. In many ways, this movie set the tone for many iconic films to come.

Although most of us haven’t been to war, many of us base our interpretations off the narratives of veterans and films about war. Some critics believe the war film genre glorifies war and deserves criticism. However, many others believe well-crafted war films hold the power to expose the realities real-life soldiers have faced.

As filmmakers, crafting realistic and honourable war movies that are honest to war-time situations could help to honour soldiers and their stories. If you’re interested in the art of film, read on to discover four tips for making memorable war films.

1. Students at Film School Should Make Well-Researched War Movies

War films can either be based on historical wars, like the World Wars and Vietnam War, or fictional wars thought up by the minds of creatives like you. When writing the screenplay for a film that is based off a real war, it is important to do thorough research on the actual events that took place.

Many war film fans and history buffs can see right through a bluffed story line, and the film will immediately lose believability if not carefully researched. By making sure certain details remain true to what actually occurred, you help the viewer get lost in your captivating storyline instead of being distracted by inaccurate details.

2. Students in Film Courses Should Incorporate Battle Scenes Into War Films

Unarguably, the mark of a great war movie is an action-packed battle scene with suspense, looming misfortune, and gore. Think Steven Spielberg’s practically record-setting 24-minute battle scene in Saving Private Ryan. In the scene, Captain John H. Miller, played by Tom Hanks, arrives to Omaha Beach with his troops and is faced with a bloodbath of a battle. The scene alone cost $11 million USD to create, with some arguing it was one of the most true-to-life war battle scenes ever filmed.

Producing a scene where the viewer has a three-dimensional sense of what is going on requires many different shots of the same scene. Altering points of views and perspectives adds realism and depth. In Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg even brought in underwater cameras to add realism to the famous battle scene.

After film school you may get the chance to create war films. Although you might not have a blockbuster sized budget, one way you can prepare to create great battle scenes is by story boarding. Story boards lay out how a scene will look from each different camera angle. It helps ease production of a scene that has a ton of action, ensuring that the final cut looks cohesive.

Story boards can help you keep all your scenes organized and cohesive

Story boards can help you keep all your scenes organized and cohesive

3. Captivating Conflict Is the Key for Great War Films

A common criticism about war movies is that they all have similar character dynamics. A supportive leader, an under-prepared young soldier, and a quirky odd ball all forming a dysfunctional group set out to take on the enemy. Sound familiar? As a student in film courses, you know that great, revolutionary, and ground-breaking films push the envelope and try something new.

Films based off actual historic wars provide a unique challenge: audiences already know the story’s outcome, since it’s common knowledge how each war ended. So, as a film writer or producer you must create a unique conflict within the broad umbrella of that specific war to keep your audience enthralled. Finding this unique story is what makes war movies truly memorable.

4. Students in Film School Should Have Respect for History

When creating, watching, or discussing war films it is important to pause and reflect on the real instances of war you are portraying. Iconic war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List do not make a cartoon out of warfare. They work to demonstrate situations people of that time may have found themselves in as realistically as possible.

During your film studies, you may handle sensitive subject matter like war, crime, or abuse. It is important to respect those who have been impacted by the subject matter. Carrying this respect with you as you write, produce, and edit films will improve the quality and authenticity of your film and help you connect with your viewers. Films have the power to draw attention to global issues that may have been left unnoticed or forgotten. By pursuing training in film you can use your creativity to help change the world for the better.

Student in film school should respect the actualities of war

Student in film school should respect the actualities of war

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4 Great Event Management Apps to Use After Event Planning School

Posted on November 4th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Mobile event management apps make planning less complicated

Mobile event management apps make planning less complicated

If you’re highly organized, love people, and want an exciting career that constantly keeps you on your toes, then event management may be right for you. For those who choose to forgo the 9 to 5 life for an exhilarating career in event planning, there are many exciting opportunities ahead. From business conferences to charity drives, event planners can be found in every field working hard to bring people together. In the social landscape, weddings and parties seemingly grow more lavish by the year, requiring your creativity and expertise to make them go off without a hitch!

Planning the perfect event is an intricate process. However, with the help of the following mobile apps as well as in-depth training at an event planning school, the process can go much more smoothly.

1. Grads of Event Planning School Can Use Social Tables’ Site Inspector App

The company Social Tables offers some of the best event planning software in the business, providing seemingly endless resources to streamline your next event planning endeavors. One notable app they offer is Site Inspector. This app is the key to getting the most out of your site inspections.

Upon graduating from event planning school you will likely go on to perform hundreds of site inspections throughout your career. When scouting for a single event, you may inspect many potential venues in one day. And with the help of this handy app, you can catalogue your thoughts on each venue you visit. Its features include inspection templates, a Wi-Fi strength test, photo, video, and note taking capabilities, and more. Site Inspector helps make sure that you don’t forget any important details during a visit, and lets your creative process take over!

2. After Event Planning Courses, New Professionals Could Try Out the Super Planner App

After you’ve nailed down the budget and chosen a venue, you’ll need to start preparing some of the finer details of each event you plan. As grads of event planning courses know, the devil is in the detail. Fortunately, the Super Planner app lets you sort out many nitty-gritty details with a few simple touches of a phone or tablet screen. Easily calculate venue capacity using 15 different seating configurations, determine food and drinks servings, and even confirm staffing requirements using Super Planner. It may just be the answer to any future logistical woes!

Super Planner can help determine the right amount of food to offer guests

Super Planner can help determine the right amount of food to offer guests

3. Professional Event Planners Could Put Boomset’s App to Good Use

Boomset’s app, Event Guest List & Easy Check-in Manager, is every event planner’s dream come true. It streamlines all things registration. You can easily manage your guest list, guest check-in, and guest information, all from your smartphone or tablet. The app also functions as a ticket scanner, a platform to collect donations, and a way to communicate with your event staff team. As you may learn during your event planning courses, once the day of the event comes around, you’ll be busy making sure that everything unfolds according to plan. With this trusty app by your side, you’ll be able to be even more efficient, saving you time to deal with any potential mishaps that might arise.

4. After Event Planning Courses, New Professionals Can Use the Bizzabo App

Bizzabo is an app for both attendees and event planners. It has ticketing and registration capabilities embedded into its services, and lets you communicate with attendees before, during, and after the event.

Bizzabo lets you communicate with event attendees

Bizzabo lets you communicate with event attendees

The app also provides reporting and analytics, which is another great way to see what worked for your attendees and what didn’t, so that you can make your event even more successful next time. These features are just a tip of the iceberg. Bizzabo’s comprehensive app has an outstanding track record and has been used at over 5,000 conferences worldwide!

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