Film Production Courses

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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Ireland is Hollywood – with a small “h”.  This misty land cannot replicate the dusty hills and the heat of Los Angeles, California, but it’s had its fair share of movie triumph in the past decade.  We’ve had a few Oscars and some very decent plots. A slight lull has followed the heights of My Left Foot, the Crying Game and Michael Collins.  But, great films need great writers, directors, actors and DOPs.  They need finance and they need luck at the box office. Whatever about the latter, the former can be nourished and trained with Film Production Courses.

Film Production Courses

There’s a good deal of recommendable Film Production Courses for prospective film-makers or actors.  For example, one that caught this writer’s eye was Filmmaking with John Boorman (Excalibur, Deliverance) Kilroy’s College and Irish Film School. This 5-day course, led by John and his guests, will teach you essential filmmaking skills. You will learn best practice when it comes to bringing a project from script to screen. This is your chance to work with experienced heads of department to kickstart your career in filmmaking and make valuable contacts in the film industry.

Outside of the full-time courses in colleges and universities across the land, there’s a bulk of film activity sprouting in local areas. Cinemobile and the Film Qlub in Queens Belfast are both terrific examples of film buffs getting together to show films and share their knowledge of a mutual passion.  Visiting film-makers, writers and experts often come along to gatherings of the clubs to talk about movie making as an art and as a business.  Once-off seminars and courses are also organised by a number of organisations across the country.

Oscar Season Ahoy

It’s an appropriate time of the year to be thinking or writing about movies.  Wouldn’t the ambitious among you like to be chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be recognised for achievement in the film industry?  You know the award, a gold-plated statuette, that’s bestowed upon twenty four winners around this time of year…?  Best picture… best actor… best actress… directing… original screenplay… documentary short? Yes, poor old Oscar.  Nobody’s quite sure of the true origin of his name.  Actress Bette Davis said it came from her observation that his backside looked like that of her husband Harmon Oscar Nelson. Columnist Sidney Skolsky maintained that he gave the award its nickname to cut out all the long-winded pretension of the official title.

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may nominate and vote for candidates for the Oscars. The academy is divided into various branches of film production, and the nominees in each award category are chosen by the members of the corresponding branch; thus, writers nominate writers, directors nominate directors, and so forth. The entire academy membership nominates the candidates for best picture, and votes to determine the winners in most of the categories.  So, which categories will you be entering when you’ve learnt the skills and gotten your film showing in the cinemas of the world?

The History of the Academy

When the academy was founded in 1927, it was preoccupied with its role in labour problems, its efforts to improve the tarnished image of the film industry, and its function as a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas about production procedures and new technologies. It was not until May 1928 that the academy approved the committee’s suggestions to present Academy Awards of Merit in 12 categories.

The following year the number of categories was reduced to seven, and the two major film awards were collapsed into one, called Best Picture.  For many years, the statuettes were cast in bronze, with 24-karat gold plating. During World War II, the statuettes were made of plaster because of metal shortages. Once the fighting ended, the Academy reverted to gold-plated britannium.

State Film Funding

One group which has fostered one or two britannium statuettes is Screen Ireland.  This body is referred to as the ultimate support and source of guidance for the film industry.  Founded in April 1993 by the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, it provides loans and equity investment to independent Irish film-makers to assist in the development and production of Irish films. Screen Ireland also acts in co-operation with other Irish semi-state agencies to improve the marketing, sales, and distribution of Irish films and to promote training and development in all areas of film-making. Employment of Irish film workers and the use of ancillary Irish services is a vital factor in the organisation’s consideration of applications for funding. Screen Ireland assists a number of films in development and provides production loans for 8 – 10 feature films each year.

Educational Options

There are a number of part-time Film Production Courses available covering various facets of filmmaking. There are a wealth of as undergraduate training programmes across the country all the way up to Masters level. However, after a certain point, you have to practice rather than learn, because Film Production is a practical, team effort.

Check out the Nightcourses.com search engine to find out your most convenient options among the courses available.

 


Gemma Creagh

Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist. She was born in Cork, lives in Dublin, and studied in Belfast & Galway, where she graduated from NUIG’s Writing MA. She has penned articles for national publications and is the editorial assistant for Film Ireland Magazine. Gemma was the writer and co-producer of the five-part comedy ‘Rental Boys’ for RTÉ’s Storyland. Her short films have screened at festivals around the world.
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