Contrary to what you might have heard, on April 23rd the Pennsylvania Film School’s 2013 workshop series did not begin. It didn’t commence. It didn’t launch or initiate or sally forth. Its founders neither embarked on a journey nor did they set forth on a voyage. There was no jumpoff, kickoff or takeoff. None of its students got out to a good start. They didn’t dive in. There was no warming up. No, we all went ahead and skipped that part.

On April 23rd, this thing went off like a goddamn nuclear bottlerocket. It detonated. Like whooooosh ka-BLAMMO!

If you were in attendance, this is the face you were making…

Minolta DSC

And this is the face you’ll never have to make again…


On Tuesday, Joe and I covered three major Above The Line aspects of filmmaking. Writing, producing and directing. The sexy stuff. We’ve each spent a decade working in different aspects of the film industry (see bios) and were able to offer not one, but two perspectives on the deal. The opening lecture introduced the creativity vs. commercialism conflict that drives the production of every movie. That’s how each element of filmmaking is subsequently taught in our workshops, through each of the two perspectives. It’s like one of our things.

And yeah, we were good. You know what, we were better than good. We were brilliant. Let’s call a couple of handsome & genius spades a couple of handsome & genius spades. We killed that shit.

But what was even more impressive was our class. Our student body consists of people ranging in ages from their early teens to their fifties. We’ve got people with a strong background in filmmaking and some with no background at all. We’ve got blue collars and white collars, students, businessmen, real estate brokers and mad roving punks. We’ve got rich ¬†people and broke-ass people. Our class runs the gamuts social, economic, political and ethnic.

Each member has a few key things in common though. They’re all passionate about making a film. They’re all bright. And they’re all driven. This class isn’t something that sort of interests in them. It’s their first step on the way to actually doing something. I’m a hardcore cynic but I swear to you I felt an energy in Shopland Hall that night. Like the way Phil Collins felt it in the air.

That’s why this opening blog is dedicated to our pack of ravenous students. We laid the kindling but they were the ones who set it aflame. You are human napalm, inaugural class, and I’m honored to share the room with you. In fact, your questions and insight in Thursday’s class (Below The Line: Camera, Lighting and Sound) have allowed me to look at our technique in a much more definitive light. You’ve inspired me to brand what we’re teaching. Next blog, we discuss Pitbull Filmmaking.