Lessons from the Oscars 2012

So, the 84th Academy Awards are wrapped…but what can be learned from them?

The Film Doctor Team weren’t in the Kodak Theatre to speak to the winners but we did notice certain themes recurring:

“I’d like to thank my…”  As we said in last week’s BAFTA winner’s posting, other people are SO important to your script, movie and life. Meryl Streep once again thanked her long-term Make Up collaborator (and no doubt friend) J. Roy Helland for 35 years of service! Whether you help out, work equally with, or delegate to other people, that connection of friendship and talent is essential. Do you have a team? And if not, can you afford NOT to have one?

Old Values/Nostalgia: This year has contained many reflective pieces. Maybe it is the shifting sands of the film industry that has caused writers/directors/producers to dream of the past.  Hugo, The Artist and Midnight In Paris are all reminiscent pictures and the latter two in particular lament film as it used to be.  Maybe there is a need for more traditional films, with clearer plotlines? Or maybe we need to look back, both as people and as an industry, to move forward?

Innovation: The Artist and Hugo are seen as innovative projects (The Artist for resurrecting a dead format and Hugo for its sensational use of technology). Having an innovative element to your script or film can be a key selling point later down the line. What does your project have that is innovative?

Influence: Michel Hazanavicius (Dir. The Artist) closed his speech with “I’d like to thank 3 people: Billy Wilder, Billy Wilder and Billy Wilder.” Clearly the Some Like It Hot director was a huge influence and taking note from your idols can be a very positive thing. We all know of fellow winners Mr. Allen and Mr. Scorsese’s childhoods spent in cinemas. John Lennon originally wanted to be the new Elvis and Hunter S. Thompson was obsessed with Ernest Hemingway. Just as we have been doing for you, you need to study the successful and work out what it is that made it all work out for them. Who/what are your influences and what have they taught you?  

It can take a while… as 82-year-old Christopher Plummer said, on receiving his Best Supporting Actor award; “I’ve been preparing my Oscar speech ever since I left the womb.” It has been 55 years since he first graced the screen and we’re not saying it will take you that long to enjoy a success but…be diligent and be patient.

These questions/lessons may seem elementary to some of you, but if you are not surrounded by like-minded, positive Film people all the time, if you are currently in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere with hopes to one day be on that stage (or simply have a film career!) then it can be easy to forget (or never know of) these core contributors to a quintessential filmmaker’s success.

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Any questions/thoughts/experiences of your own??? Leave a comment below!
Have a great week!
The Film Doctor Team
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