Young people wanting to get into the film business is nothing new. As long as cinema has been around, movie fans have dreamt of seeing themselves on the big screen or behind the camera. However, younger film fans can get frozen out of this very competitive industry – especially if they don’t have the money to take unpaid work.
Look at the most famous actors and directors in Hollywood – and all over the world – and you will see a sea of older people. However, for film to grow and continue being relevant to everyone, the inclusion of younger people is vital. Developing the young film fans of today will produce the filmmakers of tomorrow.
At a time when traditional cinema is finding it hard to compete with newer forms of media – and the formats that it is watched on – the industry as a whole should be doing all that they can to include younger people in the process. Here are a few ways to promote youth development in the film industry.
There is a long tradition of kids being sent away to summer camps to enjoy the long school holidays, but for young people interested in cinema, there are plenty of locations that specialize in film. Spending a summer learning the craft – and all aspects of making films – could have a real long-lasting effect on any young person.
Educate the youth
Some people may complain about the financial support of education, but if the industry is going to carry on being a presence in the lives of generations to come, then they need to be educated about cinema while they are still at school. Providing classes on film and filmmaking is how to spark interest in students who may get turned off by traditionally academic subjects. This involvement could also help with other issues in schools, such as truancy.
Make sure that young people watch films
If young people are restricted from the cinema, then how are they going to embrace a love of film? Initiatives such as the one devised by the Charles Phillips Foundation – and others – to provide 25,000 free tickets to New York City students to see the movie Hidden Figures should be applauded. The Phillips Charitable Organization is a non-profit that provides financial aid to disadvantaged students among other worthy ideals. Ensuring that young people are able to watch an inspiring film about how three African-American women helped develop the US space program is a great way to empower students to push their own limits and follow their dreams.
Embrace the whole industry
It is only natural that younger people will want to be just like their heroes and heroines and dream of becoming movie stars. As we know, that dream will only become a reality for a tiny minority, but developing educational resources to teach the youth about the vast number of roles within the film industry can only inspire them to pursue a career in those fields. Whether it is in directing, lighting, costumes, or the many other areas of the business, supplying information and educating is the best way to teach young people about all of the opportunities that are open to them.
Make films that speak to the young
This isn’t a call to “dumb down” movies but more of a plea to make films that are relevant to the youth of today – without patronizing them. The only definite way that this goal can be realized is to include younger people in the filmmaking process in the first place and listen to what they want. If a person doesn’t think that a film relates to them, then they are less likely to want to see it, or get involved in the industry.
Creating an interest in the film industry in younger people is one of the most important jobs that the older generation can do. Making informative and entertaining movies is obviously what it should be all about, but if the youth feel alienated by the industry, then we may not see talent of the likes of Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, and Peter Jackson in the future.
Getting into the film business can be expensive, so ensuring that younger people aren’t becoming further disadvantaged by being financially shut out of the industry is one of the most important things that can be done. Given the chance to be included, the youth of today will become the film stars of tomorrow – in whatever capacity and role that may be.