Student Academy Awards

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Jun 6

Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers From Student Academy Award Winners

Some of this year’s Student Academy Award winners were nice enough to pass on a little advice to aspiring filmmakers. Here’s what they had to say…

Heather Burky: “Find the story first and make sure it’s a good one.  Nothing else matters if your story sucks.”

Mark Raso: “Call yourself a filmmaker and make films.  Work hard to hone the craft, practice as much as you can, and don’t put limits on yourself or your ideas.”

Justin Tipping: “Make films that excite the audience, let them love something or hate it, but the worst is having them feel apathetic towards your work.  Be careful not to focus too much on gimmicks or formalistic trends, focus on truth and emotion—-those are timeless.  Always trust your instincts, but be open to ideas.”

David Winstone: “Try and not beat yourself up too much if your first attempts haven’t turned out the way you had hoped but at the same time, really analyze what the problems were and how you would do it differently… it’s a difficult balance to get right.”

Ellen Tripler: “I think you have to be curious and see yourself as a learner if you want to be a good filmmaker.  Follow your head and ground it in the craft of filmmaking.”

Thomas Stuber: “Most valuable lessons are team play and patience.  See what others are doing, but concentrate on your inspiration only.”

Amanda Tasse: “Find the part of the process you enjoy the most and highlight that and let that drive the films (whether cinematography, writing, art direction, etc.).  My advice is to not just create and look at films, but to expand the cinematic format to encompass more.”

David Wolter: “Specifically to animators: Animation and cartooning are storytelling mediums and not genres, so don’t limit your influences to that world alone.  Life and the world around us are far richer a feast than we often realize.”

Eric Prah: “Learn from whoever and wherever you can.  I find it’s nice to have a little library of clips from films, commercials, or pieces of animation that inspire you.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for comments or critiques from the people around you—-it can be really helpful to have a second opinion.”

And Ryan Prows sums it up nicely: “Hang in there, baby.”

And check out what the SAA winners wish successful filmmakers would do.