Make Your Own Pilot — For Free

One thing I try to hit home in Writing the Pilot is that writing a great script may only be your first step — if you want to break through in this insane market, and  be sure to own what you create, the answer may lie in actually shooting your own pilot and distributing it on the web. Well, if you live in Southern California, MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary is making that a lot easier this summer:

In one corner of the 2,400-square-foot studio, a toddler in a polka-dot dress is making her glittery toy unicorn prance in front of a camera. In another, teenagers are filming themselves break dancing in front of a green screen. Meanwhile, over at the equipment center, a couple is checking out a Canon digital camera for a feature-length project.

Museums are normally about exhibiting art, rather than giving patrons the tools to make it. But this summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary downtown, a film pop-up workshop is putting all sorts of filmmaking equipment, plus lessons and resource materials, into the hands of the people — for free.

Launched in April and continuing through August, the workshop is largely funded by Levi’s and follows a similar event in San Francisco that focused on printmaking and one in New York on photography. The design of the workshop and its daily calendar were organized by Jonathon Wells, a Los Angeles resident and founder of Resfest, a now-defunct digital film festival.

“This workshop is a funny little thing,” said site manager Dan Connor, who oversaw the New York and San Francisco workshops. “It’s like a secret that’s not really a secret. It’s a strange mix of a cool party that everybody’s invited to but nobody wants to tell their friends because they want it for themselves.”

The workshop is a classroom, a discovery center, a film library, an equipment rental shop, a work studio, a gallery and a playground all crunched into one venue. Aspiring Martin Scorseses can borrow anything from a Canon 8mm camcorder, worth about $50, to a Panasonic AG-AF100 that costs $7,000 to $8,000. The equipment is lent out for 24 hours without charge, although a refundable credit card deposit is required.

 

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