Sunday, July 27, 2008

Questions and Answers pt.1

I was floating around my inbox today answering week old e-mails. I'm so bad at keeping up with my stuff, it's unreal. Anyhow, I came across an in-depth question from an aspiring filmmaker in Denmark who plans to come out to Hollywood to pursue his career. To anyone who is interested, here is the conversation. Please keep the e-mails and comments coming.


Hi John.

I read your blog - it's great! My best wishes to you - keep pursuing your dreams!

My name is Jarl Sidelmann, I'm 18, from Denmark, with a burning passion for filmmaking and my greatest wish is to become a director. I've made some short-films with my friends and spend 2 weeks at the European Film College this summer. I'm currently writing two scripts (one short in danish, which I'm working on getting financed and a feature film in english - which I'm saving for a better day).

I'm currently studying, but after I'm graduating (about a year from now), I'm thinking about going to the New York Film Academy. Since you're from the United States, I thought that perhaps you could bring me a little inside-knowledge about the business over there? See, in Denmark, only 6 students are invited to the National Film School every two years! - and on average, only 1 of the 6 graduating directors are able to make a living as a filmmaker in the country... not good odds, eh?

So how does it work over there? What is the best place to start, if you're aiming at becoming... say, the next Spielberg? I can see from your IMDB-page that you've been around for quite some time, and you're going at the LA film school? Is that an option for me as well?

Hope you can answer my questions, and I'm glad to have you on my friends list!

Much love
Jarl Sidelmann.


Hey Jarl,

Thank you for the visit. Sounds like you’re off to a great start. Keep it up. Just remember, whatever you do today will help dictate the rest of your career as a filmmaker, and don’t give up friend, regardless of the odds.

It’s hard to explain how things work out here in Hollywood. I don’t necessarily think there is a definitive way to explain one’s success. Everybody has their own method when it comes to these things. Hollywood is a very competitive place and just like in Denmark, the odds are slim.

If you would like to make the trek out to Hollywood, then by all means, do so. But do so, with the same courage and passion that you invest in your work as a filmmaker. Study the land, and make sure you find fairly priced housing. This one is important.

As for schools, The New York Film Academy as well as The Los Angeles Film School; are great institutes with different advantages at every turn. I suggest you do some in-depth research as to which conservatory is right for you. Reach out to Alumni, send e-mails, and search for student films at both schools. Don’t forget there is also AFI.

My experience at LAFS was a mixed one, but that's only because I was a difficult student. If there's anything that I take from that experience, it would have to be the people and the memories I've shared with everyone alike. So, whatever choice you decide to make regarding your education, just remember to make a lot of friends, simply because these are the people who you will most likely be working with in the future.

As we all know, Hollywood is a melting pot of ambitions and dreams, it's actually a beautiful thing if you think about it. Embrace the notion and dive in! Don't let up, disregard the mathematics, follow your heart and you'll be fine. Keep me updated on your status.


John Darko

The Famous Hollywood sign, my zen spot.


Jackie said...

Hey John,

Nice advice to Student.

When I lived in Southern California, I could see the Hollywood sign from my home in the South Bay area.


John Darko said...

Hi Jackie, thanks, was just being honest. From my apartment window I could see most of Hollywood Blvd. Some of the homes near the sign are incredibly beautiful. One day...I'll own a house with a view, lol. Thanks for visiting.

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