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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Film Preservation school...HELP! (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Film Preservation school...HELP!
Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-11-2004 11:35 PM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello everyone. I'm not sure if this topic should be in the ground level section but.. I need your help. I am very interested in attending the L. Jeffery Selznick school of Film Preservation next year in New York. I applied last year and got rejected (they only accept about 12 people per year) Now...I have over 8 years of film experience under my belt. My question to everyone is:
1)Does anyone know anyone who attended this school? If so, how did they like it/where are they work at now.
2) Does anyone know any helpful hits they can give me to get accepted. Like I said, if 8 years of film work can't get me in... Maybe my cover letter just sucked (?)
3) Is this a career that I should be interested in. I am VERY interested in it already but I fear there aren't too many places for film preservationist around the world... And how good is the pay (not that it really matters but i'm just curious to know)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! [Cool]

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 3784
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-12-2004 07:10 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus         Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry no help but preservation of the moving image is a topic I and certainly others here are very interested in so please keep us posted on your progress. As you may know Robert Harris, one of the best known in the preservation field sometimes posts here on F-T (See also his Digital Bits column.

Now if I can only find that small roll of nitrate that's around here somewhere before it finds me. [Embarrassed]

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 11-12-2004 01:27 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For the past three years, I was a speaker for one of the classes at the Selznick School. Here is their website:

http://www.eastmanhouse.org/inc/education/selznick_school.asp

AFAIK, they are joining with the University of Rochester in offering a Masters program in film studies, with specialization in film preservation. Graduates often find positions with film archives around the world.

Admissions requirements are similar to any university program, and there are probably many more applicants than positions in each year's class.

Good luck this year! [thumbsup]

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Jason Miller
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 241
From: Little Rock, AR,
Registered: Mar 2004


 - posted 11-12-2004 04:30 PM      Profile for Jason Miller     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
put at the bottom of your resume that you can sit through ANY Woody Allen film and not utter a sound.

THAT will impress them.

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Wayne Keyser
Master Film Handler

Posts: 270
From: Arlington, Virginia, USA
Registered: May 2004


 - posted 11-12-2004 07:51 PM      Profile for Wayne Keyser   Author's Homepage   Email Wayne Keyser       Edit/Delete Post 
Have you asked the school for some names of graduates who would be willing to give you their opinions of the school? Most schools have at least some people they can send you to ... THEN ask those people your other questions (how to increase yr chance of acceptance, etc) - and some of them may also be willing to write you a letter of recommendation.

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Martin Brooks
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 622
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 11-13-2004 10:55 AM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Film Preservation work is mostly done at museums and not only are the jobs scarce, but museums are known for paying incredibly little (except to the top curators), so unless you're the recipient of a trust fund or you intend to marry rich, you might want to consider the economic ramifications of investing in such a career.

On the other hand, if you ever become responsible for saving a work of art, that's an incredible thing. My understanding is that half of all pre-1950s films have already been lost. This serves to show how short-sighted the studios were.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 3784
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-13-2004 02:01 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus         Edit/Delete Post 
$$$ would be nice but I really don't see myself marrying anyone named Rich. Thanks anyway.

Here's a good non-technical book about film preservation which I like:

 -

(Rutgers University Press, 1997)

Another book of purely historical interest now is Preserving the Moving Image. This dates to 1974 so way out of date but still interesting.

How much does anyone want to bet that Lucas has preserved shot-on-video Episode II (and will preserve Episode III) on FILM? I don't mean just incidental to having released it on film and saving the film-out negatives and or IP's but something more overt like making B&W separations. I think you can bet the farm on it.

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Allison Parsons
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 630
From: East Peoria, IL
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted 11-13-2004 03:57 PM      Profile for Allison Parsons   Author's Homepage   Email Allison Parsons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks to everyone for the info. But if you have anymore, please still pass it on [Smile]

I think it was Steven Spielberg who said that he'd still shoot movies on film (as opposed to digital) as long as there were still film to shoot with. Good for him!

Off the top of your head, how many museums (excluding the George Eastman House)have film archives? I think I heard one of the big museums in Washington DC just opened a historical film section. But maybe i'm wrong.

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William Hooper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1879
From: Mobile, AL USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-15-2004 02:29 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Author's Homepage   Email William Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The best direct infromation would be to ask someone on the admissions staff what they look for on an application. HS, college or vocational background including chemistry or time working at institutions like libraries or museums? Probably background, personal pursuits including home canning or candy-making would be very attractive, since the preservation process involves pressure cookers & lots of sugar.

Getting a survey of what was on successful applications may not be possible, and asking admissions staff what they look for usually isn't very successful. Admissions folks like to think that they're open, objective & analytical, when actually they're primarily enjoying intuition. They reward themselves. Intuition is not ESP; it's a predominnatly unalytical process of assocition from an unexamined collection of tastes & insights from observation. There are lots of techs who are intuitive but you won't find them here - they don't like to & can't be particularly research-oriented & analytical. They mostly just do things the way they've seen worked before, or the way they liked. People who operate mostly intuitively can't tell you how they did something, how they knew something, & certainly how they figured something out, since the process was not research & analysis of a new problem. It's an old thing they recognized & are doing again the same way.

The next approach would be to understand that the admissions staff is looking for folks that fit in with the objectives of the program. A description of what a program is supposed to be is not particularly useful, since it's been chewed over & fluffed for public consumption & the institution's personal enjoyment. You get a better idea of what a machine is supposed to do by looking at the machinery. There's a page with the course topics at

http://www.eastmanhouse.org/inc/education/selznick_course_topics.asp

Non-typical features are:
History
Practice (Film handling & projection)
Chemistry (of photographic materials)
Management (of an archive)
Activities (Event programming)
Legal Issues (Copyright, etc.)

So you know that for whatever reason, in-depth experience with Practice (Film handling) isn't counting for diddly with them. Either most applicants have it, or they're looking for something else, possibly in addition. Start picking from the others to add to the application.

Home darkroom photography background would probably bump your chances up. Working (even as a volunteer) at a museum would, too. If you taught Saturday classes on home darkrooms at a free community activities program, you'd probably climb high - not the least because the admissions staff (we're educaTORS!) would identify faster &, relevant or not, think you're the stuff.

Working at a library, organizing & producing lectures on History of Film would suck up in the History & Activities categories, as well as stroke the admissions staff.

Don't ever forget that the machinery of admissions is the admissions staff, & amissions is a function of their own functionality. "I see that this applicant wassails, & although no one has said anything about this applicant, I would like to point out that *I* wassail, & know from personal experience that wassailing, although not directly related itself, fosters just the sort of talents & skills that are useful to a successful person in this field." Or golf, tatting, or breeding little rat-like dogs, or who knows. That's why applications are loaded up with goo in the "Interests" section.

You can also go the route of paying John Pytlak to infiltrate their organization & report to you on the distribution of things that are on applications that the admissions staff shoots through. That would provide the most useful information fastest.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 11-15-2004 09:47 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) would be an excellent resource:

http://www.amianet.org/

quote:
AMIA is the largest non-profit professional membership association for individuals and institutions concerned with the preservation of moving images. Incorporated in 1991, AMIA was established to advance the field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among those concerned with the acquisition, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials. With an international membership of over 750, individuals and organizations from a wide variety of constituencies are represented. In addition to its publication and education programs, AMIA holds an annual conference, develops and promotes standards, encourages fieldwide communication through its listserv, honors the work of archivists and archival organizations, administers a scholarship and fellowship program and collaborates with other institutions and organizations to design, promote and implement national moving image preservation policies and plans.



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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 5213
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 11-16-2004 01:53 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Allison,

As a film archivist myself I'd say that joining AMIA would be an excellent move. The newsletter, journal and listserv will start to get you 'in the loop' with the moving image preservation world and let you build up a picture of what organisations hold archival film collections, why, where the jobs are and so on and so forth.

As for the Selznick School, I happen to know that it's a truly excellent programme, but it's not the only one. NYU and UCLA also offer film archiving masters' programmes in the USA. Were you to consider looking further afield, the University of Amsterdam offers a course which places a special emphasis on digital restoration (they work closely with the Nederlands Filmmuseum and Haghefilm), taught in English ... or you might consider the programme I took, which was at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK (that was the first ever formal film archivists' training programme, which took its first students in 1990).

Please feel free to email me off the forum if you'd like any more information or contact details.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 3784
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-26-2004 10:30 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus         Edit/Delete Post 
 -

Found my 200' of low order explosive...er...I mean nitrate. Note the BH perfs on a positive print. What typeface is that, Bobby?

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Stephen Furley
Film God

Posts: 2885
From: Coulsdon, Croydon, England
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 11-26-2004 10:55 AM      Profile for Stephen Furley   Email Stephen Furley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Kraus
Note the BH perfs on a positive print.
Also note the cracks starting from the corners of many of the perfs.

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 3784
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 11-26-2004 11:27 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus         Edit/Delete Post 
Quite so. It's shrunken to the point of being unrunnable on conventional sprockets. I did manage to run it on my KEM and shoot a crude tape off the screen.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 5213
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 11-26-2004 08:15 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That perf splitting is not a major issue as far as preservation duping is concerned. This element should print on a Matipo or any other pin-registered step contact printer without any significant problem. The perf splitting is on the corners of the leading edges (as run through a mechanism from head to tail) as per usual - very common in nitrate release prints from the teens and '20s.

Any idea what the edge marks on the right are? They don't look like standard Eastman Kodak, Agfa or DuPont stock marks.

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