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Voluntary Exploitation

Good posting by Robert Ekstein on Making Cheaper Movies. Basically it mentions how University of Texas Film School is getting in the film business by producing three or so independent films each year. That is a good idea, but hardly unexpected. Production costs are pretty minimal; the big costs are the editing and the people time. And students–well, they don’t have anything better to do, and they live off their parents’ income– have time and resources to fart around. What’s new about this is that Hollywood is providing the funding and presumably the marketing. I’ve always thought thought a dozen somewhat talented people with time and resources could make excellent vids, but it is the institutionalization of the production process that I dread. Access to better equipment, sure, but when UT tries to micromanage film projects, that’s when university support stops making sense.

The other point worth contemplating is whether students are getting shafted. Sure, they have the chance to work on a project with some likelihood of becoming well-known, but it sounds as if it’s relying on interns who don’t expect financial reward. I’m not complaining too loudly; it’s probably more fair than the status quo.

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