Thursday, April 24, 2008

Film School in a Box

Film School is expensive. Like, thousands of dollars and stuff. And even trying to teach yourself filmmaking will probably cost hundreds of dollars on cameras and editing software (although there are programs that allow you to edit video online...more on this tomorrow). But for only tens of dollars, there are DVDs out there that not only have the films you know and love, but the special features are so robust that you can learn a lot without ever leaving the comfort of your sofa. And at most film schools, you usually have to sit at a desk in an uncomfortable chair rather than on a comfy sofa.

So without further ado, here are a few DVDs you may want to check out:

Pearl Harbor (Three-Disc Vista Series) [yes, I know the film is terrible but these special features are top-of-the-line]
The Alien Quadrilogy
Clerks X
Fight Club (Special Edition)
Brazil (The Criterion Collection)
Die Hard (Special Edition)
[There's a feature on this disc that actually lets you edit a scene from the film your own way!]
Hellboy (The Three-Disc Director's Cut)
Hot Fuzz (Three-Disc Collectors Edition)
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Editions)

Basically, there are a handful of directors you can count on to give you a robust special edition: Michael Bay (I know, I know), Terry Gilliam, David Fincher, Robert Rodriguez (his book Rebel Without a Crew is a must-read for any indie filmmaker) who actually has a "Ten-Minute Film School" extra on almost all of his films.

You don't have to buy all of these but these are features beyond fluff and you should break out your notepad if you want to learn some valuable lessons without having to pay for an application fee.