April 16th, 2008 14:50 EST
And the Oscar goes to … you! Apple Inc., the leading computer company, offers all Internet users a chance to become the next Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson. With the cooperation of another Hollywood celebrity, Baz Luhrmann (the director of Moulin Rouge), the iPod producer takes off with a series of educative podcasts, titled The Set to Screen.
"As a young aspiring filmmaker, I had many opportunities and a great deal of support from established filmmakers," Baz Luhrmann begins his letter to his future successors. It is his next movie, Australia (starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman), that thousands of people from around the world will help create and put into production. They will be given the same chance that the Oscar-nominated director received during his rookie years. "There was a genuine reaching out to the up-and-coming, where we were allowed not just to observe, but to participate in the creative process," remembers Luhrmann.
The idea behind The Set to Screen is simple. As there are many people as talented as the Luhrmann but much less lucky, they may now learn the ABCs of moviemaking through a series of podcasts. Nine episodes, being released from April through October, will cover various aspects of the difficult craft, such as costume design and scoring. What is more, The Set to Screen subscribers will "get insights from the artists at work on Australia, watch them in action, view footage the rest of the world hasn’t seen yet, and follow along as the movie comes together."
One of the main advantages of The Set to Screen is its accessibility. What every director-to-be needs is only to subscribe to the series through iTunes, an Apple-made program used do download podcasts. Not only is it free and saves you a lot of time you would otherwise spend on traveling to Hollywood and begging some producer to take you on board, but also should run effortlessly on most computers. It may seem unimportant for someone using the ultra-thin and fast iAir; however, if you are in the majority of the online community that depends on slower machines, it is a definite plus.
Like in a normal school, also here students will have to sweat to earn their grades. With five episodes comes a challenge, checking whether the viewers know how to turn the presented ideas into reality. For example, a podcast covering on-set still photography may be followed by an exercise that will ask students to take a picture and submit it to the Apple website. The best 20 projects - evenly divided between high schoolers and college students - will be awarded with iPods, MacBooks and other gadgets with the familiar Apple logo.
The Set to Screen ends in October, but not for everyone. An author of the best project will go to the land of kangaroos to see the final shootings of Luhrmann’s movie and take part in its promotion. There is also a chance that the director will invite you to the American tour and your works will be displayed on the DVD release of Australia.
Do you keep a special place on your shelf for a future Oscar? Does your drawer hide a pile of thank-you-very-much speeches in case the Academy chooses your name? If your answer to both questions is an unequivocal “yes,” then The Set to Screen is for you. Subscribe and "be fearless, get your video camera, and get on with it."
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