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“The motion picture industry has experienced consistent, strong growth, as indicated in consumer dollars spent on entertainment since 1991 and this activity is projected to continue for the next ten years”, according to the U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook. “Worldwide demand for U.S. entertainment is still vigorous, and strong growth will likely continue.” The motion picture and television industry has expanded with tremendous growth over the last fifteen years, greatly increasing its number of artists and filmmakers. It is one of the few industries in the State of California experiencing constant, rapid growth.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, on Page 203 projects that over the next ten years there will be an increase of over 82,000 wage and salary workers in motion pictures.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people (staff, cast, crew, and support personnel) are now directly employed in the industry. The majority of these employees, including most of the secretaries at the studios, are employed as temporary help! It is the school’s objective to train staff, cast, and crewmembers to skillfully enter these job markets as professionals. The school faculty will continue to offer guidance to their trainees after course studies have been completed, when practical to do so. Job referrals are provided to trainees at the faculty’s discretion.

Writers wishing to write screenplays for film really should learn about the medium for which they are writing. Every Writer questioned by our staff agrees that it is very difficult to write a stage play without knowing the mechanics of stage play operations, or to even write a newspaper story without knowing about the inverted pyramid style of writing. Only a few Writers agree that film knowledge is necessary for Writers writing screenplays for films. How is that?

Most forms of instruction for film Writers in the books, courses, tapes, seminars, etal, are very good at teaching Story, Structure, Themes, Plot, and Character Construction but they do not teach much in regards to technical film requirements. In fact, it seems that many scriptwriting instructors discourage the Writer from trying to satisfy these requirements.

“Hogwash!” says Jim Kelly Durgin, a Script Supervisor trainer, “I cannot think of a better place for a film Writer to learn his craft than working as a Script Supervisor on the set, holding another Writer’s successfully sold script, and converting it to what the Director shoots for the Editor. A working Script Supervisor, by nature of the job, learns the other Writers’ mistakes, and can easily learn how to write more accurately for the film requirements!”

Also, as a Script Supervisor, working every day for every shot in the movie, a Script Supervisor/Writer will have many chances to pitch his stories to working Directors and Producers, probably many more than can arranged by an Agent!

Many of the industries top Directors started as Script Supervisors.

Sixty Script Supervisors are currently being trained by Producers to become major studio Directors. At least one of the Script Supervisors in this program was trained by Jim Kelly Durgin, and she has already directed two pictures at Universal Studios. Some of Durgin’s other trainees are now directing and/or producing commercials and music videos.

“Most of the new filmmakers today seem to approach their projects with a television style of photography in their films by targeting four to ten minutes of screen-time per day (or more) for their projects. Not the best way to make a movie, says Durgin. “Even shooting only two minutes a day of screen time with an entry-level film crew usually does not result in a professional standard of quality.”

An overly ambitious shooting schedule, for example, does not permit the time to 1) Light with quality, 2) Rehearse completely and carefully, and 3) Shoot several takes until quality is reached. Fast shooting not only reduces both artistic and technical quality, it also prevents enough allotment of time to film many close ups, reaction shots, and other coverage shots to fully bring the audience into the drama. Short shooting schedules also promote more sequences being filmed with monotonous three-wall sets, and few sequences, if any, being filmed with four-wall sets, which add more variety to the piece.

“Let us show you how you can make a professional, attention-getting Director’s sample-reel that will present a feature film style of photography and clearly show your talent and your ability to direct a theatrical feature film. Your sample-reel, with our tutoring,” claims Durgin, “ should be able to demonstrate your filmmaking knowledge in a very superior manner compared to what is being shot by most of entry-level wannabe Directors in this town.” And Durgin should know. Many of his graduates are working on dozens of present day Director’s sample-reels as Script Supervisors each year and, therefore, Durgin is able to see what is being done and what not is being done by many of these aspiring entry-level Directors.

NOTE: We are not training Directors. We are training motion picture Script Supervisors, many of whom will become Directors. After Script Supervisor training, we can then assist in the making of a great sample-reel.

14424 Friar Street
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Phone: (818) 787-8886
Fax: (818) 787-8024

e-mail addresses:
JAMES KELLY DURGIN, school Director
Instructor for the Script Supervisor Course and the Line Producer-Production Manager-Production Accountant Course.
JAMES K. SHEA, President
MARTIN LAM, Chief Financial Officer