JC: IIFF Workshops

Posted: July 17, 2011 in J.C. Personal

One great thing about the Indianapolis International Film Fest is that they provide more than just some good films. They do their best to make it an experience for film lovers. One of the ways they do this is through the use of educational workshops.

I had the opportunity to attend a couple of these workshops and I walked away with mixed feelings about them. First, I want to say that, my personal feelings aside, these workshops add an important element to the festival that elevate it from just a collection of movies. The festival organizers understand that those attending want more. Attendees often are lovers of film or even aspiring filmmakers. I also want to make it perfectly clear that I think the Indianapolis Museum of Art is an amazing place for the festival. That having been said, here’s what I have to say about the workshops I attended.

The first workshop was on screenwriting. Held in the multipurpose room at the IMA, the workshop was quite full. Unfortunately for me, one of the only available spots was behind a large column in the room, so I did not have the benefit of anything the instructor wrote on the dry erase board. Also unfortunate was the lack of attention to fellow attendees that the remainder of the class paid to each other. Of the dozen hand outs that were passed around, my area saw one.

Personally, I had a bit of a problem with the instructor. She mentioned all of the problems she had with some of my favorite screenwriters and constantly acted like she was so much better than names like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Kenneth Branagh, and George Lucas. It was quite frustrating to keep hearing what these individuals do incorrectly without anything but opinion to back it up. I almost walked out of the class on multiple occasions but each time I prepared to do so, we would go back to distribution on information.

I did get a fair amount of information from the class, but it was tainted by the obnoxious behavior of an instructor that constantly laughed at EVERYTHING she said and had few good things to say about other screenwriters. I probably could have gotten the same information from a book on screenwriting, but as slow as I read, the two hours was worth it.

The second workshop was on directing. Again, in the multipurpose room, with the softest spoken person I have met in quite some time. One interesting fact about the multipurpose room is that it has a Pepsi machine in it. One bad thing about Pepsi machines is that they have a fairly loud compressor in them. That, paired with an incredibly soft spoken instructor and my impaired hearing left me frustrated. I heard about 30% of what was said during the workshop so it was really an hour and a half wasted.

My recommendation for these workshops is either a new space, more conducive to learning or instructors that teach for a living and know how to do so. The lack of either of these left me frustrated and feeling like I wasted my time. Those that know me will know that one of my pet peeves is having my time wasted. While I appreciate the workshops, they were an exercise in frustration.


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