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Why Many Student Movies Fail

This is a really old post I wrote from last year, back when I was making a music video for class. Since the school year has started up again, I just thought that I should be posting this before it becomes too stale.

Also, stay tuned Wednesday.

school crossing sign
This is the only school-related picture I could find
Had you ever seen a film made for a middle school project that had less production value than The Room? It's something I had watched multiple times over the years.

One of the many ways to present a large project is through a "movie". Basically, a group of students dig up a video camera, film up a lot of clips, edit them together using the school's iMovie, and present it with a series of bloopers near the end.

The results are expected.

Something About It

They're often bad in a cute, charming way way. Most students don't have access to professional equipment or special effects, which some of the baddest filmmakers have access to. Good acting can make up to that, except that most acting relies on unintentional laughs to make it entertaining.

In the rare cases jewels are produced, like a charming stop-motion, or a particularly compelling FX effect, the movie is unfinished.

I prefer the more solo projects.

Sure, it's fascinating to watch such a film. It's always fun seeing a project your fellow kin made, along with the mistakes that pop up along the way. But in the end, it can't be taken seriously by the outside world. At best, they'll laugh. At worst, they'll gawk and shoot you down.

Only the A+ Matters

Three reasons why many middle school movie projects are like this:

  1. They don't have the equipment.
  2. They don't have enough experience.
  3. They aren't putting a lot of effort behind it.

Really, the three point are enforced by the school. In the end, it doesn't matter that your movie won't survive on YouTube. As long as it meets all the criteria, like information, it'll get a good grade.

Therefore, even I don't try my very best on school projects. A lot of my effort is saved for out-of-school projects, like Manifestation Files the short stories I'm writing.

It's rare to find a great student movie that will earn the praise of those outside of the school. In most of those cases, the people behind it tried their best, or at least had some heart toward making the basic elements passable.

If you are devoted to the craft and take the effort to learn it, you'll be better than almost everyone who doesn't try.

Doesn't mean that making a bad film can't be a good way to bond with friends though. The one I made last school year will be brought back into conversation sooner or later.

YOUR TURN: Have you made any films in school? How did they turn out?