UCLA Film School Pedagogy

Shoot First – Ask Questions Later:

Beginning Film Teaching at UCLA

Journal of Experiment and Innovation
Volume II, Number 2, May 1969

William B. Adams
Professor of Theater Arts Emeritus
University of California, Los Angeles

May, 1969:

On MARCH 15, 1968, in the stuffy Warren Hamilton Theater, seats packed and floor blanketed with an amorphous mass of UCLA film students, the screening of the last of eighty-eight student films ended. For seven straight ten-hour days, students and faculty had looked at and critiqued eighty-eight motion pictures. Everyone was hot, tired, irritated, and eyesore. During the final critique, three students exploded in objection to an instructor’s comments as being pure shit. The instructor, with equal heat, observed that the objecting students were certainly qualified judges. The long session ended with some amused, some disturbed, some angry, but everyone awed by an incredible exhibition of student creativity.

This screening was the final exam for eighty-eight UCLA students enrolled in both beginning and advanced motion picture production workshops — Film Projects One, Two, and Three. It also signaled the completion of the first five quarters of successfully teaching filmmaking at UCLA through a project system.

Of the eighty-eight films, fifty were first films made in the beginning course, Film Project One. This first course is required immediately of all students entering the film school. The assignment for each is to write, direct, and edit a motion picture with sound —to be done without prerequisite courses in film techniques or other technical preparation. These students have little or no background in photography, optical physics, chemistry, or other technical subjects that people generally assume are necessary preparation for making, movies. At UCLA only after students have written, directed, and edited a Project One film may they take courses on how to make films.

Project One filmmakers shoot their pictures on an 8-millimeter semi-automatic camera. This lets them put all their efforts into the creative part of the job rather than into mastering complex camera and sound equipment at the start. Required sound tracks are music, narration, and sound effects recorded on 16-millimeter magnetic film. Project-One film editing and sound mixing are done on professional equipment modified so that 8mm picture and 16mm sound tracks may be edited synchronously. The 8mm films are projected on a large theater screen in good image quality and with theater-quality soundtracks.

In the beginning
The curriculum in motion pictures was set up at UCLA twenty-one years ago in 1947 as the Motion Picture Division of the Theater Arts Department. At that time the whole task of teaching filmmaking seemed easy. In the best academic tradition, the faculty established a battery of required lecture courses in photography, camera, film editing, direction, design, and so on. After about two years of amassing units of credit, students were considered ready to handle film. By this time they were usually stultified. What ideas and enthusiasm they may have had were limp from exhaustion after all those unrelieved courses on fundamentals. In those days they turned out students who could pass written tests and write fine bluebook answers, but there were no creative fits, no excitement, and no films.

Most film students in those first years quietly went along with the passive arrangement of lecture courses and written exams, but every now and then a student or two would show up who wanted to make a picture. And this they would do in spite of opposition. They rented cameras, enlisted the help of family and friends, sneaked into the sound stage late at night and into the cutting rooms before daylight. Such filmmakers were considered presumptuous.

The exciting conclusion, however, was that renegade films were made, and the callow youths who made them learned rapidly the techniques they needed to know regardless of what courses they had not taken. To Ed, one thing was clear: motivated by the necessity of photographing their own ideas and their own films, student filmmakers, if they have access to a competent instructor, learn and remember more  about photography than from a lecture course. This applies to every aspect of filmmaking — sound, editing, or whatever.

Something new
Proceeding from this point and admitting the inadequacy of the conventional academic approach, the faculty began in 1953 to formulate what has developed into UCLA’s present [1969] film production course. It aimed at a curriculum based on the simple and radical proposition that the way to learn filmmaking is to make films.

They first tried to establish a true project system for teaching filmmaking. Students would take no conventional courses after the sophomore year, but each student would make three films — Projects One, Two, and Three — and in the process, would encounter and resolve the major problems of filmmaking. No lecture classes, no required courses, and no arbitrary divisions of time into school terms. All students were given the same assignment — to learn all they could through their own intellectual curiosity and initiative by making the three films. A knowledgeable  faculty would be available when needed. Each student would graduate  on completion of the three films regardless of when the school term or year officially ended. The project system is not a new idea, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated through the centuries. But any attempt to set up a true project system in a conservative university like UCLA faces problems  that probably can never be resolved.

University administrators and conventional academics see filmmaking as a skilled or trade-school activity and therefore has no place in the university. The real point is that the film is only the motivation. Genuine growth and learning occur as student filmmakers, through research and all other means, pursue and discover the knowledge they need.

In the late 1950’s, Professor Edgar Brokaw of the Motion Picture faculty demonstrated in a summer course the workability of the project method for film teaching. His class consisted of a couple of nuns and some school teachers who knew little or nothing about photography or filmmaking. They came prepared to spend the summer taking lecture notes. They were shocked when Professor Brokaw announced that each one of them was to make a motion picture with sound. And they did — in six weeks.

We followed this course with an experimental one-term course for seven regular film students who had as yet taken no courses in motion pictures. They all made acceptable films, and two were outstanding. The following year, the faculty overhauled the UCLA film curriculum and set up a modified project system in which lecture courses on technical subjects are optional after the production of a film. Technical courses in design, sound, photography, editing, and directing are open only to students specializing in film production, but they are not required. As it turns out, the more film work students do, the more they feel the need for technical instruction. These courses  are always filled. On successful completion of a Project One film, students may be selected to specialize in either film production, screenwriting, or film criticism. Production students go into Project Two and Three in succession where they make films much as they did in Project One except that they use more sophisticated professional equipment, either 16mm or 35mm film.

The results

This project method of film teaching has exceeded expectations so far. Since the fall of 1966, Project-One students have turned out five hundred films that are surprisingly fresh, visually exciting, and remarkably craftsman-like. Almost all the Project-One films made in the first year and a half of the program were superior to the advanced films made in years past by students who had been subjected to prerequisite lectures on all the techniques.

Movies are more than technique
Classically, whenever the teaching of motion pictures is considered, everyone thinks of photography and its technical implications. First you teach lenses and optics. Then you give lecture courses in photographic chemistry. Next, a big helping of framing and composition topped by two scoops of mixed screen direction, matching action, and the theory of montage. You assign readings in Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Spottiswood, and Arthur Knight. By this time your student has been driven into the ground like a tent stake.

Emphasis on technique at the outset is devastating in teaching filmmaking. Out-of-context courses prerequisite to beginning filmmaking waste the time of both instructor and student, and assigned, pat exercises are guaranteed killers of originality and imagination. The only kind of projects for beginning filmmakers are projects they are interested in, that is, their own ideas and situations. Assigning an invented situation puts a student in an irrelevant position, and the results are uniformly bad.

Faculty-assigned film topics
One eastern university gives a motion picture course in which each student “practices” filmmaking by directing an exercise devised and assigned by the faculty. Some students have submitted copies of this exercise to UCLA as part of their portfolios for admission to the graduate film course. A typical one opens with a shot of a student asleep (establishing shot). Then we see a closeup of an alarm clock (conflict). The student’s shaky hand comes into frame and fumbles with the clock (comedy). The student gets out of bed and the camera follows him (directorial technique) as he gets dressed in a Keatonesque style (more comedy). He then leaves the room (matched action) and goes to class. We then cut back to the bed (flashback and/or dream technique) to see that the student has only dreamed he went to class. He then leaps up, dresses rapidly, and goes off to class (end of sequence with beginning, middle, and end). Unimaginative, visually unoriginal, unfunny, and dull.

If we were to assign something like that to our students, they would laugh us off the campus. The fallacy with a practice sequence like that is that it is based on the assumption that there is a “right” way to handle a creative problem. In this situation, the student director becomes so involved in trying to do what he thinks he should do that his imagination is effectively suppressed.

Graduate applicants who submit such sequences come off looking doubly bad—once for making such deadly stuff, and twice for not recognizing how bad it is. Not bad photographically, because some of these unimaginative exercises are pretty slick. Some applicants submit films they have made on their own initiative saying something they want to say. Mostly, these films are poor technically with bad photography and poor editing, shaky, and dark. But the filmmaker’s imagination and originality manage to poke through the murk. We accept many students on the basis of such films.

Basic assumptions

Film teaching at UCLA, beginning and advanced, proceeds from three basic assumptions: Film-making begins with ideas rather than equipment and techniques. Ideas, or “topics,” must come from the student. And a film has to be completed within a specified time and shown to the audience for which it was intended.

Substance first
We do not let the beginning film students at the outset talk about technical matters or equipment. We make it clear that at this stage we are not concerned with lenses and chemistry but with ideas and imagination. When they have something to say and have thought out a way to say it visually, then we will talk about the equipment needed to get their ideas on film. It is widely believed that the motion picture is entirely technique. It is not. The motion picture is a vehicle of expression just as are writing and painting; and learning the art of the motion picture begins not with photography and equipment but with ideas and visualization. UCLA film production courses begin with ideas and a script.

Starting with the discussion of ideas, there is no lecturing by the instructor. Each student in turn tries out his or her idea on the group; and if it has been made clear that these meetings are not lectures, distinct reactions and rewarding discussions consistently occur. It’s not necessary for the instructor to guide the discussion. If he is not terribly alert, he will have trouble keeping up. And quite important, the script conference is not an exchange of aesthetic pleasantries or Eisensteinian concepts. It is the consideration of ideas and situations that within a specified time have to be on film ready for projection. This separates the filmmakers from the talkers.

Photography, sound equipment, cameras, lights, and machines are clearly an important part of motion pictures, and they must eventually be learned. But the time for learning is when student filmmakers need to know. That is, when they are working out their own ideas on their own films. This stops some students cold, particularly the conventionally brilliant ones who have been accustomed to receiving A’s for neat and well-organized busy work. This type expects to be patted on the head for passing a written examination on cinematography derived from lecture notes. Students like this show unusual anxiety under situations that require original thinking and independent action. Our aim is to maintain a milieu in which each student can go through the act of discovery in every way possible. Student response is tremendous, and even our conventionally brilliant, correct-answer types often manage to discover something all by themselves.

Discovery

Here is one way discovery works: “How long should our films be?” a student asks. “As long or short as you wish, that’s up to you,” we tell him. And though he doesn’t yet know much about time translated to film, he is forced into the problem in a highly relevant context — his own film. He has ten weeks to make a complete motion picture, but the instructor won’t tell him how long his film should be. He is forced to examine the problem in a new way. He goes to a movie at the local theater and tries to estimate what is being shown in what length of time. He talks to other students. He looks at student films, underground films, documentaries, feature films-anything that will give him some insight as to how much can be said in how long. He mentally gauges his own ideas against what he has seen. He might even make a film that is hopelessly too long and flub the whole project. But before it’s all over, in his own relevant context, he will have discovered things about film time that no instructor can ever lecture into him. This process continues with every question raised.

Intimidation is a four-letter word


At UCLA, film production students are not officially shown movies that have been done by other students before them. We want students to see as many movies as they can, but looking at past student films must be on the initiative of the student and not on that of the faculty. For a very good reason. Traditionally when you teach something, you gather the class together and show the best examples. Each example is selected because it demonstrates a particular aesthetic virtue or especially effective technique, and it’s a hell of an easy way to set up the first two or three class meetings. Students are entertained, the instructor is the authoritative bringer of goodies, and everyone gets an idea of what is expected of him or her. And that’s the hang-up: what is “expected”. No matter what the disclaimer or how casually an instructor introduces past student films to a group of new filmmakers, the result is always devastatingly the same, “Oh, so that’s what they want?” And with that, each sets off grimly turning out “what they want.” The result is a dynasty of slick, dull, imitative films.

The whole beginning approach to filmmaking has to be non-intimidating. Professional terms are tools, not shillelaghs, and we warn the beginner against the self-styled Expert. You know him well — the one who has all the technical jargon down cold and who asks questions to impress. The beginner who listens seriously to the Expert is in danger of concluding that it is presumptuous for one so technically naive as himself ever to aspire to the making of films.

Women students are particularly  vulnerable  to the destructive effect of Experts and their technical jargon, since they have been bombarded from birth with big-man talk about the excruciating complexities of cars, radios, photography, and plumbing. Often they are initially disposed to accept the fact that filmmaking is just too complex. But when we reminded them that this is more of the same old carefully administered mumbo-jumbo, they usually go ahead and make first-rate films. So far, the percentage of outstanding pictures made by women students at UCLA shows them to be about eight times better filmmakers than the men.

Students are responsible for their own ideas
Ideas, or “topics,” have to come from the student and have to be what he  or she wants to do. The effectiveness of film teaching depends not on what is put into the student but what comes out. That young people want to express themselves is no secret and should be the tip-off to every good teacher. Never before has a generation so actively expressed itself as this one: rock-and-roll, films, protests, the hippie movement, and expressions of unrest and disillusionment. This compulsion to express and participate is the starting point for education. Directing this urge to express can result in a startling display of learning.

Our film students are rarely at a loss for ideas. Like most young people today, they have something they desperately want to say, and they want to say it immediately. This is one of the reasons we start them right off making movies instead of first learning a lot of hand skills. Student filmmakers on their first films (and second and third) don’t look on them as practice. To them it is not, as the square pedagogue would put it, “an exercise providing training in the basic skills that can be later applied in more meaningful situations. The situation for student filmmakers is meaningful and real right now.
Good students balk at working on something thought up by someone else. They want relevant ideas that they themselves think up. And the tasks they set for themselves are far more challenging and genuinely instructional than any pedagogue-designed piece of busy work. A skill-developing project assigned by an instructor generally emphasizes only the mechanical manipulation of technique. The student-designed project most often stimulates imagination, forces insight, and develops technique.

Typically useless is the kind of assigned exercise I mentioned above about the student dreaming that he has gone to class. We’re all familiar with this type of assignment written in the standard stupefying academic way:

In a two-minute sequence, move the protagonist from his bed to the classroom. Play this as a dream taking place after he shuts off the alarm. Pay particular attention to moving shots and matched action. Remember to cover yourself with adequate reaction shots.

The theory behind this familiar academic con game is that after a few semesters, film students will be competent in directing moving shots, matched action, reaction shots, and all the other little pieces that fit into the director’s mosaic. Then they are ready to do something creative, under, of course, the watchful eye of an older and wiser head who will see to it that they do nothing original or exciting. By this time, initial enthusiasm has suffered complete paralysis, and that’s the old ballgame, because initial enthusiasm in a student is the greatest tool a teacher has to work with. After this has been squandered, all a student can do is make a film that is craftsman-like, correct, and dull.

The way it works
Project One is limited to sixty-three students, and is broken up into eight seven-student sections. Each section instructor is a Teaching Assistant who works very closely with his seven students. All sixty-three Project- One students meet together twice, once at the beginning of the quarter, once at the final screenings. A faculty member, who teaches one section, monitors the course and works with the Teaching Assistants and the students as needed.

In Project One, film subject and style are entirely up to the student. The Teaching Assistant teaches what is needed at the time it is needed. She points out incipient mistakes and lets them happen if the student wants to go ahead anyway. The usual catastrophe situation involves lip-sync sound. That is, dialogue recorded synchronously with the action at the time of shooting. The special equipment for this is not available to Project-One filmmakers, but we have given up trying to talk a new student director out of recording dialogue on a non-synchronous recorder. He simply does not believe us when we say it won’t work. So we point out the problem and then sincerely try to help him make it work. As soon as he gets his film into the editing room, he clearly sees what his problem was. To salvage at least something, he has to figure out through editing, a way to make his out-of-sync dialogue work. He sees his deathless scenes going down the drain, he sweats, he edits, he despairs, he experiments, and sometimes comes up with something that works. Once in a while he will have figured a way to make it work from the beginning, and the instructor had better be the kind that is gratified, not embarrassed. Through the opportunity to make colossal mistakes, the student filmmaker has learned more of the overall problem than lectures and assigned exercises could ever teach.

Movies are non-verbal
The new-generation students visualize differently. They are no longer oriented to the world in a literary way but in a visual way. They see no need for the literary conventions that have classically been used to give motion pictures continuity and direction. By literary, I don’t mean purely verbal. I refer to those film conventions which are actually analogs of literary devices. One of these conventions is the “dissolve,” which indicates a change of place, time, or psychological condition. We see a dissolve on film as one scene fading out with the following scene simultaneously fading in over it. Traditionally this means that we are skipping forward or backward in time or going into a fantasy or memory sequence. Up to now [1969], the dissolve has been necessary for audiences to accept such transitions as believable. Those of us raised in a literary culture have needed the dissolve in a film to take the place of the written words, “Twenty years later . . .” or “Dear reader, let us turn back to that long gone time . . .” The present generation doesn’t require such devices to make motion pictures believable. It is a generation that has grown up with its eyes glued to the boob tube. It is the first generation to be subjected as a matter of course to motion pictures in the classroom from kindergarten through college. If a film goes instantaneously back and forth between present and past or reality and fantasy, it doesn’t need an outworn convention to make the transition acceptable. Continuity in the literary sense is not merely violated, it is irrelevant.

The avant gardists had been ignoring literary conventions by the carload for years, but up until Fellini (with minor exceptions) the direct transition from reality to fantasy was unheard of in the feature film. In Fellini’s film, 8-1/2, we see Guido sitting in an outdoor cafe with his wife. This is reality. Then without any transitional indication, we are in Guido’s fantasy. We see his mistress enter and sit at a nearby table. Guido’s wife goes to the mistress and we see them as great friends. To the older generation, this is meaningless, confusing, and abrupt. To the new generation the scene makes complete sense because it understands that a transition from reality to fantasy has taken place.

People who are disturbed by modern art are usually uncomfortable watching a movie that does not have the old conventional continuity. They are impatient with anything that is basically visual. They want something with old-style real continuity, and they want MEANING. In the UCLA end-of-term screenings, it is understood that no one is expected to tell what his film “means.” Occasionally someone does ask, and immediately there are shouts of “Don’t tell him,” and “You don’t have to answer that.

When an artist refuses to explain what his work “means,” people tend, sometimes justifiably, to call it a cop-out on the ground that the artist is offering a hoax in the guise of esoteric significance. Of course, this is the charge leveled at almost all modern art at one time or another, and many film critics use the same old objection, “It doesn’t mean anything.” But non-representational art is here to stay, and there are   real meanings in visual abstractions that cannot be put into language. The young people of today understand and derive satisfaction from realistic images presented as visual abstractions in motion pictures. To them, standard Hollywood melodramas and spectaculars are ridiculously old-fashioned. The films they make and like are not only dramatically satisfying, they are visually exciting with colors, synthetic motion, overlapping images, discontinuity, and so on. Let’s not be mistaken. This is not just a passing fad. These are the filmmakers and the audiences of tomorrow and this is their direction. The old-style movie is dead, it just hasn’t lain all the way down yet.

The movie Blow-Up disturbed the middle-aged generation, I believe, on three main counts: they were confused and annoyed by the missing literary continuity; they didn’t know what it “meant,” and they were scandalized at the pattern of morals they thought they saw. But they missed some things.

In pure corn, Blow-Up is right out of the 1930’s. The hero is dressed in conservative mod style and looks as if he had just stepped out of the wardrobe department ,which of course he just had. In him we can clearly see an analog to the 1934 Clark Gable sitting at a perfect city-editor desk. Gable’s shirt is perfect. His tie is loosened the perfect amount. He is barking perfect decisions into alternate phones at just the perfect frantic pace. Blow-Up’s hero is also perfectly dressed. His hair is in a perfect state of casual and perfect disarray. His trousers are perfectly white. He is the same idealized hero image that Gable was. Both represent absolute, unassailable, and perfect corn, completely acceptable to their respective generations. It is important to recognize that this new, hip, visually oriented generation is vulnerable to corn, only today the protagonist is a photographer in perfect mod clothes instead of a city editor in perfect shirtsleeves. There is, however, a real difference between the two generations in that today’s young people have a more genuinely serious problem, and they are completely sincere in their approach to it. The movie hero of the 1930’s was faced with no real moral dilemma. He had one problem — the honorable acquisition of material wealth and the girl. The present generation’s hero, as in Blow-Up, has material things — women, money, friends, pot, possessions —  but he feels the lack of spiritual values that seem to be just beyond his grasp. It is just this quality in Blow-Up and other seemingly amoral films that should perk up the ears of the older generation.

I saw middle-aged people walking out of the theater on Blow-Up shaking their heads. They should have stayed and tried to find out what so fascinated the kids. All they saw was the naked girls, pot, the implication of sex, and no MEANING. If they had looked, one of the things they could have seen was the dilemma of a generation that believes it has been grossly misinformed.

A new generation of filmmakers
The point for film teachers is this: the new generation is deeply concerned with what is happening to it and to society. They want to make films to express what they feel and believe, whatever that may be. They have no interest in enduring a long, tedious exposure to endless classroom lectures (a method my generation considered a moral duty). They are well aware that they must master the techniques if they are to be of any stature in the craft; but they also know that they learn more and faster by working on their own projects rather than on assigned busywork exercises involving safe old ideas. The film teacher has to encourage and allow students to make films about the things they are concerned with. They so earnestly want to express themselves that their lack of technique sets up a frustration that forces them to master techniques at high speed. This is the goal of every sincere teacher: a situation where student’s compulsion drives him or her into learning. In filmmaking with the present generation, the compulsion is built in. We try not to bludgeon it to death.

The audience
Since the purpose of a motion picture is to be seen, we do not consider a film completed until it has been shown to its intended audience. Only after this can its effectiveness be evaluated. No one, not even the instructor watching a picture in an almost empty projection room, can arrive at a valid judgment, although most everybody thinks they can.
Like a stage play, a movie is an experience involving its audience. Its first screening often elicits very interesting and often unpredictable responses. This is why feature film producers pay close attention to audience reactions in preview screenings. By watching the audience while your picture is being projected, you can learn a lot. Shuffling and throat-clearing during the quiet scenes and no laughter during the funny ones tells you something. Sometimes, the audience’s reactions are completely the opposite of what you expected. This becomes an important and indispensable learning situation.

Big producers sometimes hear of a particularly exciting student film and request that it be sent to their studio for them to look at. We customarily refuse such requests because we know what will happen. The executive sits with a couple of henchmen in a plush projection room, where he normally views full-color, Panavision rushes with multi-track stereo sound, and watches coldly as the student’s film struggles to reach an audience that isn’t there. The producer sees only the disparity between this and full professional technical virtuosity. He does not see or feel the excitement that the film generated originally in its audience. Yet, the tip-off to real talent is a film that, regardless of its technical polish or lack of it, elicits a strong response from its intended audience. The producer watching in a vacuum misses this completely. Enthusiastic or sympathetic reactions have come only from those producers and professionals who have come to the university and have seen student films screened before their intended audience.

The most important reason for screenings is that students accept only an audience of peers as a valid critic of their work. They are not interested in critiques by outside experts. Good film teachers recognize that film is a means of expression and  requires first of all a concern with what is going to be said. Not necessarily something profound, but something the student is interested in and wants to express. This generation believes the motion picture is its own exclusive property, and I think it is right

The future

After expe rimenting with teaching film production, we have concluded that the learning potential of any student is almost unlimited when education proceeds from a desire to say something and from discovery. This makes the prospect of innovation in all education seem very exciting. Jean Piaget said that anything is only understood to the extent that it is reinvented, and that every time we teach a child something we rob him of the chance to discover it.

I believe that effective education for an enlightened culture has to evolve through discovery and reinvention. We have to bring this about somehow if we want to nurture minds that can look into human situations with creative intelligence.

Will Adams    Santa Monica, CA   1969

Journal of Experiment and Innovation

#             #

William Adams:

A Tribute to Ed Brokaw

I wrote the above account in the heady days of 1969. It is a record of one result of Ed Brokaw’s intellect and thinking — the Project system of  teaching film production. It was Ed’s idea. He thought it out and tried it first. I revive the article now as a memorial to Ed and to acknowledge Colin Young, a department chairman who understood film and people and knew how to make things work. I was thinking that  all of you who worked with Ed  and started your careers by making Project films at UCLA might be interested in the faculty’s dream and  both the students’ and faculty’s  blue-sky ideals in those crazy and wonderful years.

The Project system was created in 1966 and lasted into the eighties. It began to deteriorate after Colin left, and over the years an infusion of  idiots  insured its death Today, the practice and spirit of the film school as I recorded it then have disappeared from UCLA and from all the other film schools I know of.

Sometime in the 80’s, I lamented to Ed that film teaching had sure gone to hell. He told me to forget it. He said, “Mediocre is the way its supposed to be.”  I clearly remember he grinned the way he did when he was about to give you the Answer.

He continued instructing me. “A few guys get something going, and you go into a golden age of film teaching. Pretty soon it runs its course and you’re back to mediocre where its supposed to be. Greece had a golden age that lasted not much longer than our film school golden age did. The Greeks,”  he told me, “have been  waiting twenty-four hundred years for it to come back. So forget it. Write a book or go to Switzerland for a while”.

Things didn’t turn out quite the way we hoped they would, but it was great while it lasted and we got more than could be expected. It seems to me that today’s generation thinks of  movies in a little different way than Ed and I and Colin did, and different from the way you did when you were in school. However quiet and unobtrusive, a lot of  young people today are motivated, as you were, by the quaint impulse to create something of substance and personal satisfaction. We should find and encourage them. Not only might they someday allay a bit of the world’s idiocy, but, again like you guys were, they’ll be a boot in the  ass to work with.

Remember, I wrote the following in 1969. Today, we may see the idealism with eyes that are a little tired. But starting with Ed’s ideas and Colin’s support, we had a vision and almost made it work.

Will Adams
May, 2003

 

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