How To Make Your Movie: An Interactive Film School is an extremely innovative and effective program for learning the basics of film making.
This three CD set provides the sort of hands-on learning which film making requires. While using the program, the look and feel of the school (actual photos), photo realistic animations, and lack of standard menus eliminates any awareness that you're actually using software. The ability to freely open doors and explore various classrooms, sit in on lectures, and edit your own movie all add to the realistic learning environment provided by this software. If you're in a hurry to access some important piece of information, or simply want to revisit something you've learned before, there is no need to wander through the halls looking for the right classroom. You can simply click to your destination after bringing up a shortcut which shows a visual outline of every branch of the software's content.
Users of the program discover an abandoned film school watched over by a salty, humorous security guard. The guard offers advice to the user and the school's professors leave audible notes offering information on an array of topics related to film production. Using photographed images of an unrenovated, Victorian-era state mental hospital, the CD-ROM provides users with the illusion of walking through an actual film school.
The interactive film school features an all-star cast of "visiting film professors." Twelve printable guest lectures includes on scriptwriting by Lew Hunter, chairman of the film school at the University of California at Los Angeles; another on film music by Suzana Peric, who edited the music of "Philadelphia", "Age of Innocence" and "Silence of the Lambs", and one on sound by Murch who-in addition to his Oscars-earned Academy Award nominations for best film editing for "Ghost" and "The Godfather Part III". Each of the dozen rooms contains layer after layer of interactive instruction on such topics as scriptwriting, production, film grammar, and equipment, to name just a few.
The package contains three discs and a production notebook. Discs one and two hold the film school building and number three is a footage disc. It holds 40 minutes of digital footage from the student film featured in the program. Music and sound files are also included, allowing the user to edit his own version of the film with any desktop editing software. Also on disc three is a detailed academic syllabus for educators who wish to use the program to teach a one-year production course.
I highly recommend this title for anyone interested in learning or teaching the art of film making. Educators or software developers interested in developing their own interactive learning software should consider using this software as their model.