9 Reasons Your Student Film Sucks

A few helpful hints to any aspiring Spielberg out there.

Christian Krauspeby Christian Krauspe

Let’s get this out of the way. We, in no way whatsoever, mean to discourage you from making art. This list is more or less a collection of clichés to avoid, helpful tips, and general musings for any aspiring filmmaker.

If any of these things apply to your student film, be wary, it just might suck…

Take a look:

1. Shaky-cam does not make things more intense, just more nauseating. You’ve seen Cloverfield? You’ve seen the Bourne movies? Good. Remember how those films were very distinct in their look and execution? Sometimes it works well. Shaky cam is a useful tool that some filmmakers have mastered. But if you’re relying on it to make things look ‘cool’ for the sake of looking ‘cool’ then you’ve falling trap to this one-trick-pony.

2. Your girlfriend is not good enough of an actress to play the lead.  Sorry man, I hate to tell you this. She sucks. There. It’s out there. I don’t care how good she was in your high school’s production of Annie or your community college production of Avenue Q, she’s not that good. I said it. Find yourself someone with talent. As many a Hollywood director has discovered, just because you sleep with her doesn’t mean you have to put her in the movie. Ex – Showgirls.

3. Stop saying your film is an “homage.” Chances are, you’re probably making a Tarantino homage. An homage to a director who makes homages. In other words, a copy of a copy. Yes, it’s true we derive our creative impulses from other artists, but don’t use it as a crutch to avoid be creative yourself.

4. Make sure to take down your beer-can-pyramid in the background.  You like to party. Try giving a sh-t and make sure you care about the background as well as the foreground.

5. We get it. You’ve been in love before. Go f-ck yourself. Your heart was broken and you wrote a movie about it. No one cares. No one. Everyone has been and love or lost in some capacity. Unless your story is something we haven’t seen before, don’t bother.

6. Guess what? You know that song you must have in the film? It’s copyrighted. You think your favorite Nickleback song will really make your coffee shop conversation scene pop? It’s going to cost quite a few bucks. If your story is any good it should be just as good without Blink 182.

7. Blood is not water with red food coloring. Need proof? You know where your mom keeps the cutlery.

8. The Kalamazoo Film Festival is not the end-all, be-all of filmmaking society.  It’s okay. Calm down. Sure, you may miss the deadline this year. But there is literally another film festival every week somewhere in the world.  All of them probably have more prestige than the film festival that takes place in the back of your local Applebees.

9. Your job is to tell a story, not be a prick.  Just because you’re the director, doesn’t give you license to be a dick to everyone. Your job is to tell a story and have fun with it, not live put your Hitler fantasy. Ex – Boondock Saints.


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