I applied to La Cinéfabrique, a public film school in Lyon, France.
What was great about that school was that it’s not that far from where I live and it didn’t cost much (100€ a year!). Plus, well, it’s seems to be a great place to learn filmmaking.
But for those reasons they are thousands of candidates, and only 30 of them are admitted. The exam was made of multiple rounds. The first one started a time where I was studying for my upcoming exams, but I thought it would be something simple to get started. I was wrong.
I was surprised to learn I had to send a resume and a motivation letter in the first week, a portfolio on the second one, and a up to 3 minutes long short film on the third week. Plus two online tests coming on the next Saturdays. When you’re not expecting that much and you know you’ll have to do those things while going to class and preparing your exams, it seems like a lot.
The first thing I did was finish the edit for a short film for my portfolio. I had shot it months ago but never finished editing because… Procrastination? I discovered the joy of editing nights.
During my free time at high-school I found the idea I needed for the short film (It had to be named “My cousine”) and started outlining it.
Then came the first online test. I was thinking that it had to be a simple multiple-choices quiz, again I was stupidly wrong. I connected early at the beginning hour, to discover that I had to write 19 things in 3 hours: short stories, essays, and movie scenes. It seemed like A LOT but I finished on time, two minutes before the end!
During the next week I finished my editing and realized that the story I wrote for the short film was just a movie story that I tried to tell in a few minutes. It sucked.
So I rapidly wrote a silly story, knowing it would be much easier to do and better to watch. I had to finish it before the end of the week-end.
The first shooting day came. We were six, we were unexperienced. We all had multiple roles. One would act then take care of the sound for the next shot. I had written and produced, and now I had to act, direct with non-actors, take care of sound, light and composition. It was obviously too much for an amateur. But we managed to get all the shots we needed.
We where shooting outside on a sunny day and I learned many valuable lesson, first one being YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH WATER.
On the second shooting day we were only three, but it went okay, and we had all the needed shots.
On the next Saturday I had the second online test which went worse than the one. But it was not that bad.
I then watched the rushes and… I panicked. It was reaaally bad. So on the nest day we re-shot a few scenes and I started editing with what we had. In the end I submitted it on time. There was problems with sounds, no color correction, pacing problems… But it ended better than I thought it would.
In the end I didn’t made it to the next round. Don’t know why as the school never sent me any feedback and I don’t know on what criteria they choose students. But I learned a lot and I had fun making it.
We were six amateurs shooting it, I failed the exam but I learned so it ok