We are a mixed class (both in ability and experience), and as such we do have a small select group of AWR4MI students who will be challenged to go beyond the skills that they learned last year, and focus on a particular skills group that they would like to improve.
While the AWR3MI students are exploring Film Genres, AWR4MI students are asked to start looking at the concept of developing their own "style" in movie making. The best way to develop this "voice" is to look at others who paved paths before you.
Below are the student films of 5 famous directors.
George Lucas: Freiheit
The creator of Star Wars has become an industry unto himself, but George Lucas had some inauspicious beginnings. While at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts where he made Freiheit (German for “Freedom”), a student film about an unnamed man trying to escape an unspecified territory across an ambiguous border.
Steven Spielberg: Amblin
Spielberg was enrolled at California State University, Long Beach, but he soon focused his attention on becoming a full-time, unpaid intern at nearby Universal Studios. He eventually made a short film called Amblin that led to him dropping out of school. The forlorn love story is a silent short that depicts a free-spirited hippie couple who hitchhike through Southern California to the Pacific Ocean. Universal Television, saw the film and signed the young Spielberg to a seven-year contract for the studio—the youngest person ever at the time to receive such a long-term contract. Spielberg would eventually name his production company Amblin Entertainment, after the film
James Cameron: Xenogenesis
George Lucas’ Star Wars inspired the then 22-year-old James Cameron to make movies. In 1977, Cameron was making a living as a truck driver delivering lunches to schools in California, but in his free time he also wrote sci-fi stories and built models like the ones he saw in Lucas’ movie. To emulate—and potentially one-up— Star Wars, he got a group of Southern California dentists to invest $20,000 in a sci-fi short called Xenogenesis about a man and a woman who are sent to a sentient starship to search for new life and wind up battling a gigantic robot. While not technically a student film in the strict sense, Cameron essentially taught himself how to make the movie by buying cheap film equipment and spending days on end scouring university libraries to read about film production and special effects.
Christopher Nolan: Doodlebug
Way before he gave us Dunkirk, the Dark Knight Trilogy and thrillingly confused us with Inception, Christopher Nolan was a young literature student at University College London. But it wasn’t just books that Nolan had on his mind. Nolan, who was also the president of UCL’s film society, had chosen to attend the school because of its film-making facilities. The most widely available short film of his during this period is Doodlebug, a three-minute mind-bender that anticipated the way he would play with reality and time in his later works
Tim Burton: Stalk of the Celery Monster
Tim Burton has made a career out of being an outsider with films like Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and Corpse Bride. It all started when he enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts in 1975. It was there that Burton created his first animated short called Stalk of the Celery Monster, about an evil dentist and his goofy monster sidekick. The complete film is lost and it’s only available now in fragments. Burton’s films were so popular among his classmates that it led to Disney Animation Studios approaching him for an apprenticeship.
This is the assignment that accompanies this lesson. It should only take you a period in class to view and make critical notes on the movies. Your written defenses, scoring rubrics, and selected winner choice are all due Wednesday morning.