Filmmaking is a hobby for some students, and Iowa State University offers students the opportunity to learn about the filmmaking art form.
For years, moviegoers around the world have fallen in love with making movies and are trying to make their own independent films. But what is an independent film?
“To me, an independent film is a film that you finance out of your own pocket and where you don’t have a major studio behind it,” said Dominick Ervelli, senior Englishman and president of the Film Producers Club of Iowa. State University.
For many moviegoers, an independent film is the primary way to get involved in filmmaking. It’s usually a smaller project, allowing filmmakers to try out the many elements of film, such as editing, acting, and scriptwriting.
One of the challenges of creating your first film is finding the passion to start with, and Ervelli stresses the importance of focusing on an idea and letting it inspire you.
“When you find an idea that clicks, you’re much more into writing the script, filming it, and making sure everything fits together,” Ervelli said.
An idea doesn’t have to be a story, but it can be a location or a draft of a character. Andre Hall, Film Producers Club Editor and Senior English Fellow, shares an example of a recent project currently in development that shows how a simple idea blossomed into film production.
“One of the club members went to summer camp, and from there we knew we wanted to use that framework,” Hall said.
For movie buffs looking to get into making movies, Iowa State University has plenty of resources to help you get started, especially when the goal is to have a small budget.
“What’s really helped me is that Iowa State has all the Adobe products on campus computers,” Hall said.
This resource saves students a lot of money if they plan to use programs such as Premiere Pro for editing or Aftereffects and Photoshop.
Additionally, equipment such as cameras, microphones and tripods can be borrowed from the Parks Library, Hamilton and Pearson rooms. Hall adds that equipment can also be provided by the Film Producers Club, for which members must pay a membership fee.
The Film Producers Club also holds a festival every spring called the “48-Hour Film Festival” which allows students to practice their filmmaking skills. The festival takes place over a weekend where everyone can participate. Each year, films submitted for competition must include a shortlisted subject matter that shapes the story of the film and contestants have 48 hours to complete the film.
“It’s great fun, and anyone can do it. This year’s winner was a guy from Australia,” said Ervelli,
Iowa State also offers JL MC 307, a digital video production course that teaches all the ins and outs of video production at an introductory level.
Both Ervelli and Hall agree that for someone looking to get into filmmaking, it’s important to get their foot out of the door and start filming. Plus, watching as many movies as possible will give you an idea of your interests and what specifically you want to film.
“Have a passion for it and also find people who are also passionate about it, and you’ll find yourself in some good avenues for filmmaking,” Ervelli said.
For Hall, the TV show “Gravity Falls” was the project that made him curious about film production.
“My interest in writing grew from there, and I started watching other movies like the Coen Brothers’ ‘Burn After Reading’ and Ryan Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’,” Hall said.
Ervelli was also very inspired by the films of Christopher Nolan, which led him to get into video production.
“Filmmaker Edgar Wright, his movies are so fast and frenetic, and it inspired me to try and do something like that,” Ervelli said.
The Film Producers Club meets every Thursday at Hamilton Hall, Room 0169.