John Case on his experience and advice for people just starting on Filmmaking:

I’m a filmmaker. This is going on my 3rd year making films. I live in Long Beach, California which might as well be Siberia as far as film making is concerned. It definitely is not in the TMZ zone.

Before I made a movie, I had no filmmaking experience nor attended any film school classes. To date I have finished one 71 minute documentary called Dream Big At 77 about a a 77 year old man from Uruguay that competes with 10 other people in the world in the decathlon at age 75 and older. The film was shot in Uruguay, Finland and Sacramento over 3 years.

Additionally, I also finished an 82 minute scripted romantic drama between a Korean woman and a Greek man that was shot in Laguna Beach, California called My Earl Grey. I started My Earl Grey 2 years ago.

I have since attended various film making seminars at Film Independent in West Los Angeles, UCLA extension courses, and the Dov Simmons 2 Day Film School to see what I was missing in the filmmaking process by not going to school.

What Film School Doesn’t Teach You

After making these films with absolutely no previous experience and then listening to “professionals” in and around Hollywood teach about making films such as at the above mentioned institutions, I have heard very little useful information from the “professionals” about how to make a $20,000 and under film.

The film teachers I have listened to pretty much think a $500,000 film is cheap. I hate to say it but $500,000 in the real world is a lot of money.

I went to a 6 week course at Film Independent where the subject matter was “filming to the edit”. The conclusion of the 6 weeks was this: Don’t edit a film yourself. Leave it to the professional editor.

I asked the teacher how much she charged. She said $40,000 for a low budget film. I then asked her what to do if the whole budget to make a film is less then her fee. She said that I shouldn’t make the movie.

I disagree strongly. Make that film for $10,000 and learn by doing.

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