This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: February 17, 2005

A wannabe filmmaker's guide to the Web

'Tis the season for Western New York film buffs, and not just because of the upcoming Academy Awards ( In addition to the long-running Buffalo Film Seminars (, local movie fans can also enjoy the Ninth International Women's Film Festival, sponsored by the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender ( Festival entries will be screened every Thursday until March 3 at the historic Market Arcade Film & Arts Center in Buffalo's Theater District (for directions, visit

The festival entries represent a diverse cross-section of experiences, with the directors' home countries as far away as Senegal and Iran. But surely, there are a number of unique stories to be told by talented would-be directors right here in Buffalo. The following Web sites can take them from "Lights, camera, action!" to "That's a wrap!" and beyond.

Any novice director's first stop should be at (, one of the Web's oldest resources for independent camera hounds. This site is home to the Internet Filmmaker's FAQ (, a list of frequently asked questions related to all stages of the moviemaking process. The British site Exposure takes a similar approach with its "Eejit's Guide to Filmmaking" (, which includes everything from tips on low-budget lighting to recipes for fake blood. For an even less-serious approach, there's So You Wanna Make a Low-Budget Movie? (, a humorous but informative overview of the filmmaking process, from location scouting to festival screening.

Naturally, a number of guides for the aspiring filmmaker also can be found in the University Libraries. Try a keyword search for "motion pictures and direction" in BISON: The UB Libraries Catalog ( to retrieve helpful titles, such as "First Time Director: How to Make Your Breakthrough Movie" and "From Reel to Deal: Everything You Need to Create a Successful Independent Film."

Locally, filmmaking classes are offered at the Squeaky Wheel arts collective (, which also rents filmmaking equipment at low cost to its members ( This is a great alternative for those who are not enrolled in UB's Department of Media Study program, which only rents lab equipment to its current students (

Once the future classic has wrapped, some directors might be eligible to enter the prestigious Student Academy Awards (, which include cash prizes of up to $5,000. The only catch: The film must have been made as part of a school project at a degree-granting institution at which the applicant is enrolled full-time.

For everyone else, it's time to hit the festival circuit; entertainment lawyer Mark Litwak maintains an updated list of film festivals worldwide at

Whether you're a curious film fan or the next Martin Scorsese, the Web has an answer to your filmmaking queries.

—Jennifer L. Behrens, University Libraries