August 5, 2016 at 7:41AM

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Visiting a production company?

I am not actively involved in film making, just someone with a background in performing arts and a love of storytelling.

I have recently toyed with the idea of visiting a film production company to get an idea of the creative workflow and so on. My question is if this is at all possible. Is there something I can offer to be able to learn new things or must I go the study>intern route for years, to even be let in?

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I think there are two questions wrapped up in one. The first relates to the creative workflow (aka creative process) itself. You can study this process without visiting a production company on-site. Ed Catmull wrote a great book (Creativity, Inc.) which details the creative process at PIXAR, along with lots of great stories. It is a favorite among creative professionals I know, and its stories have become shorthand for when people are trying to get on the same page. If you read that book and/or watch the TED talks of the people mentioned in that book, you will have a great feel for what is the actual workflow.

The second question is: if I want to see it live, in action, how can I do that? Because his book (and others) have become cannon in the creative world, there are literally millions of shops that practice these processes. Not all of them are world renowned. Not all of them practice it perfectly. But many, many, many try. And sometimes there are lessons to be learned by knowing what they are supposed to be doing, watching them succeed or fail, and then noticing whether they failed because they failed to stick to the process, or whether the process failed them. And conversely, was their success because of the process, or in spite of it?

Any city that hosts a 24-hour or 48-hour (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/48_Hour_Film_Project) film competition would be a place where you can mix it up with an ad hoc group and see the process with a very front-row seat. It won't be exactly the same as attending meetings at PIXAR, but that's what internships are for.

August 7, 2016 at 8:22AM

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