moby-dick-(or-the-whale)-60
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BUDGET TROUBLES

21 April 2007

A great and epic battle awaits me: shooting a movie. The script, pre-production, casting and gathering of a crew and materials are all going nicely as planned. Some setbacks arise now and again; people finding they have too little time to cooperate, but nothing to truly stunt its momentum. A clown is knocking on our doors, and he will enter one way or the other!

There is one thing however that disturbs me. It's the disappointing failure of the school to support the movie financially, leaving me with the -for a student's income- headache-inspiring prospect of coughing up roughly 1000 Euros to pay for everything. This may seem a bold claim however: why should the school give me money? In fact, they gave us all a chance to take a slice of the budget that was appointed to graduation projects. I failed in this ill-conceived rat race, because the time that was given us to create a proposal was simply impossible for a film project. One can not conjure up an accurate budget, let alone an extensive list of crew and equipment, in two weeks time. Not when the very idea itself was only finalized at the beginning of that frame.

Now the window has closed and I am denied any monetary support. To me, it speaks of a gross ignorance of exactly how long it takes to get a film underway, which is again, disappointing, for a school of media. Bureaucracy aside, however, why should the school still invest in my film? For the simple reason that the benefits are as obvious as they are desirable. You need only look at the graduation movies that arise from art schools in France, Germany or England to see the towering, shocking difference in quality with most of what springs from the Netherlands' nigh-alumni. Where they have cunning, artistic animations and projects that speak of a high level of motivation and support, we can offer amusing distractions at best.

The HKU should strive to bridge this gap, by supporting projects more aggressively. That does not mean they should shower money onto every idea that approaches them -I am not at all advocating loss of reason and sensibility-, but that they should be more lenient towards the projects that take more time to show their true potential, instead of offering one rigid window of opportunity at the very beginning and then letting everything that slips up slightly or misses out for truly whatever reason hang in cold suspension: take care of your own business, boys, you're dead to us. Is it any surprise that the HKU will never reach the prestigious heights of schools abroad? Schools are only as good as their students, and it does not do to punish them this severely. Loosen your rules without losing your heads, and you'll find the quality of graduation projects rising in turn.

Roderick.