Fantasia 2020 Helps New Filmmakers Navigate the Clapboard Jungle

25 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020 On Demand till Sept 2. Buy your virtual ticket here.

For any aspiring filmmaker, Clapboard Jungle is a must watch. Breaking into the industry is tough and to get noticed is even harder. This documentary is just as much as an educational resource as well as a guide on what to expect for anyone wanting to dive right in!

Many talents ranging are interviewed revealing to you what’s needed to start and keep producing. Names not as familiar, like Jen Wexler have plenty to reveal in this industry. This work is not about how Guillermo del Toro and Lloyd Kaufman did it. We all know from printed works about how hard they worked to where they are. I’m impressed at seeing Richard Stanley (Colour out of Space), Tom Holland (Child’s Play) and Sam Firstenberg (Ninja 3: the Domination) give their discourse on the industry.

The story on Justin McConnell’s attempt to make the aptly titled Lifechanger gives this work a structure to wrap around. We see him talk about his work developed from concept to fully realized movie and towards home video. I just find this work unusual as it mostly focuses on folks who are involved in making horror films. Missing are the Soska Sisters. The reason–so I’m told–is that it’s easy to come up with a concept to make, even for newcomers on a budget!

The process to develop from spec is even more complicated in the world of Hollywood. Indies are unique because you are in control. The wealth of information provided will help that newcomer, and the best takeaway is one commonly told as with finding a new job—it’s all about networking.

I’ve dabbled with making short video narratives and also doing computer digital effects. Most of what was made were improvised as it was me and my buddies goofing off with my video camera. To film anything more serious requires planning, as this documentary properly reveals. This includes attending major film festivals and participating in meetings, even when you’re involved in one aspect–tech (including live theatre–as I explored), teaches you the skills needed to handle being in the world you’re wanting to work in.

Though being committed can sometimes mean taking formal classes; through workshops in writing and the arts, you learn how to take constructive criticism. I’ve personally discovered that painting, photography and videography essentially uses the same type of skill set needed for understanding visual composition. Once they become second-nature, anyone can start.

4 Takes out of 5

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