Breaking Into the Film Industry 101 – Elliot Campos
Breaking into the film industry used to be an unknowable riddle. It used to be a mystery. Where do you start? How do you get your foot in the door? Do I have to move to Los Angeles to make movies?
The answer to all these questions is quite simple. It’s two words: Film Connection.
The Film Connection is an easy, simple, and effective starting point for people looking to break into the film industry.
In order to promote maximum transparency, Film Connection releases transcripts for the conversations that prospective students have with our advisors. Let’s take a peak behind the curtain.
Student: How is Film Connection different from ordinary schools?
Advisor: Okay, well let me fill you in. So, in terms of the program, we’re actually endorsed by directors David Lynch, Oliver Stone, and Joel Schumacher. And the reason they all support us is that we get you inside a film studio on day one. So, you are going to be working directly with a mentor who is a professional filmmaker and he is going to train you using the equipment in the studio and guide you through our interactive digital curriculum which covers the history of cinema, screenwriting, directing, editing, cinematography, everything about making a movie. And then you are also going to create a commercial, a music video, and a short film. So how does all that sound to you?
Advisor: Good, good. And then what kind of movies did you want to make? Action, comedy, drama?
Student: I’m thinking action. I’ve got a few ideas I’m working on.
Advisor: Okay, so the reason I was asking is that while you’re working in-studio, we are also going to link you in person or remotely with a professional writer or producer. You know, someone with industry credits, who is going to work with you to develop your ideas into an outline, a treatment and a pitch. Now, this is someone like Paul Guay who wrote the Jim Carrey movie “Liar, Liar”. Did you ever see that one?
Student: Yeah, I have.
Advisor: Yeah, or it could be Judy Levine, she produced the Academy Award nominated movie, “The Sessions.” So, you are going to be able to work with this pro and take your ideas to the next level. How does that sound to you?
Student: That sounds great. But what about after I graduate? Would they help me sell my idea?
Advisor: Once you graduate the program we actually set you up with a meeting in Los Angeles or New York with a Hollywood executive. Now, this is someone like Grant Heslov, he’s the producing partner of George Clooney. He made “Argo” which won best picture a couple of years ago. Or it could be a producer from Film Nations. They made “The Kings Speech”, which also won best picture. So you are going to be able to get in the room with this exec, pitch your movie idea, get some valuable feedback, and make that industry connection. How does that sound to you?
Student: It sounds amazing, but what does it cost?
Advisor: Now, the total cost of the program is $10,800, which is a fraction of the price you would be paying at a traditional film school. Now, if you’re able to pay the whole thing up front we actually shave off $1,000, so you would be paying $9,800 and that would save you about $2,000 to $3,000 in interest fees.
Student: Are there financing options?
Advisor: We actually have two financing options. The first one is a down payment of $2,700 and then you finance the rest of it over 12 to 48 months, with monthly payments as low as $200. The second option is a student loan with no down payment and that requires a credit score of 680 or higher and current employment.
The Film Connection wants to promote a more honest and dialogue on the topic of breaking into the film industry. Our mentored externship program is a simple, effective, and inexpensive way to get your foot in the door. The movie industry may feel like it is massive and expansive, but with the Film Connection on your side it’s easily navigable.
Film Connection Supports Documentary Filmmakers
The Film Connection’s mentored externship program is the most effective way to get your foot in the door of the film industry. Our program pairs you with currently working industry professionals and helps you gain real world industry experience by externing side-by-side with them. We offer courses in writing, directing, editing and cinematography.
Creative professionals such as David Lynch, Oliver Stone, and Grant Heslov endorse our alternative to film school program. We are proud to offer training for would-be documentary filmmakers. We often receive numerous questions about how documentarians fit into our programs.
Let’s go over some of the most common.
Question: I’d like to be a screenwriter for documentary films. Do you have a course that could help me?
Answer: We have a lot of documentary students. We had one young man who was on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers. He came from an underprivileged background and he was able to use our program to learn documentary skills and make a film about his hometown.
Question: How does the program work?
Answer: Once you’re enrolled in the program you’re going be working directly with a mentor who is a filmmaking professional and they’re going to train you using the equipment in the studio and guide you through our interactive digital curriculum.
Question: What does the curriculum cover?
Answer: It covers cinema in general and then branches out into screenwriting, directing, editing, and cinematography. By the end, you will have covered everything about making a movie. Additionally, during the program, while you’re in the studio, you’re going to be creating a commercial, a music videos and a short film.
Question: How does the mentor side of things work for Documentary Filmmakers?
Answer: While you’re doing the hands-on learning in the studio, we’re also going to connect you either in person or remotely with a professional writer or producer. You know, someone with industry credits who’s going work with you to develop your ideas and do an outline, a treatment, and a pitch. Now, this is someone like Alex Keledjian, he produced a documentary series Project Greenlight. Or it could be someone like Paul Guay, he wrote the Jim Carrey movie, Liar Liar.
Question: Will your program help me sell my documentary?
Answer: Once you graduate the program, we actually set you up with a meeting in Los Angeles or New York with a Hollywood executive. Now, this is someone like Grant Heslov, he is the producing partner of George Clooney. He made Argo, which won Best Picture a couple years ago. It could be a producer from FilmNation, they made the King’s Speech, which also won Best Picture. You’re going to be able to get in a room with this exec, pitch your movie idea, get some valuable feedback, and make that industry connection.
The Film Connection is one of the few places in the film industry that really values the student and the experience that the student has. We place great stock in helping people achieve their dreams, all while gaining real-world experience and making industry connections.
The Film Connection is unlike any ordinary film school out there. It helps you get your foot in the door, doesn’t run you into debt, and helps you make real industry connections.
Answers to Frequently Asked Film Connection Questions
Question: How does the program work? Do you work inside your mentor’s company? Do you shadow them?
Answer: Our program is actually endorsed by directors David Lynch and Oliver Stone because we get you inside a film studio on day one. So as you were describing, you’re going to be going to a film studio and working with a mentor, who is a professional filmmaker. And the mentor is going to train you using the equipment in the studio and guide you through our interactive digital curriculum which covers the history of cinema, screenwriting, directing, editing, and cinematography, everything about making a movie. While you’re there you’re also going to create a commercial, a music video and a short film.
Question: What if I have my own ideas for feature films?
Answer: In phase two of the program, we’re actually going to connect you with a professional writer or producer. This could be either in person or remotely to help you develop your movie ideas into an outline, a treatment, and a pitch. They’ll take you along the creative process and show you what works for them, and how you can improve your skills. This could to be someone like the writer of the Jim Carrey film ‘Liar, Liar’ Paul Guay or it could be Judi Levine, she produced the Academy Award nominated movie “The Sessions.” We pair you with a mentor who’s interest align with yours and who works in a similar genre to you. We’d never pair an aspiring horror screenwriter and a comedy screenwriter together, obviously. The goal is to really level you up as a creator. You’d be working with this pro to take your ideas to the next level.
Question: How do you get these people to be mentors?
Answer: We have had our program around since about 1983. So, we’ve really just made those connections and it’s the kind of thing where people who have succeeded in the industry, they all started at the bottom. They got to where they are, by having someone take them under their wing.
Question: So do these people work as mentors all the time?
Answer: Well, with our program we do have dozens, if not hundreds of mentors that work with us. We have rotating availability. As your application moves forward, we’ll be finding out who can take you on. It all depends on who’s available and who kind of lines up with your interest.
Question: Moving forward, will it be one on one or will there be a bunch of other people with this mentor?
Answer: Yes, it’s going to be one-on-one. So it’s going to be entirely your needs.
Question: As far as day-to-day goes, are they just working on what they are working on in everyday life and I’m just going to be tagging along or are they going to be teaching me?
Answer: Kind of a mixture of both. As mentioned, they are going to be guiding you through the curriculum. They are also going to be training you to use the equipment and helping you do the commercial, the short film, and the music video. And in addition to all that, they are at a professional film studio. So any projects that arise, you can definitely contribute to those, and that will give you more of a real world experience to put on your resume.
Question: While I’m in the studio is it appropriate to pitch my movie ideas to people?
Answer: We’ll do you one better. Once you graduate the program, we actually set you up with a meeting in Los Angeles or New York. With you, you might ask? With a Hollywood executive. Now, isn’t just any random person of the street. This is someone like Grant Heslov, he is the producing partner of George Clooney. He made Argo, which won best picture a couple years ago. Or it could be a producer from Film Nation. They made The Kings Speech which also won best picture. You’re going to be able to get into the room with this executive, pitch your movie idea, get some valuable feedback and make that industry connection. All of this is interwoven into our curriculum.
Question: Do you accept everyone who applies?
Answer: No, we do not accept everyone. Because we’re really looking for students who are serious, dedicated, and professional. People who have the right attitude to go learn at a place of business. We need someone who is not only going to give it their all but also be an ambassador for our brand. Remember, you’re representing us, just as much as we’re helping you.
The Film Connection is constantly striving to deliver the highest quality education for the most cost effective price. Why would you spend $60,000 dollars to learn in a classroom from people who aren’t even in the industry? You can learn for a fraction of that cost from real professionals who are working in the film industry and get to work far sooner than you would if you were to go with a traditional two to four year film school.