As graduates of the MA program of ELTE and Budapest Film Academy, we had the great chance to attend the lectures of the important directors, Ridley Scott and Ron Howard. Both filmmakers gave very interesting comments regarding their experience as directors and their filmmaking techniques.
I wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude for being given the opportunity to sit in on the recent Master Class Lecture with Director and former actor Ron Howard. Having “grown up” with Ron Howard’s films, I was particularly eager to hear him speak and learn a bit more about the career choices he had made along the way, and how he was able to achieve his current notoriety.
Last weekend ’s big event was clearly Oliver Stone’s arrival to Budapest and his Master Course at Puskin Movie Theatre, in front of which a huge crowd of people was gathering. Later on, the cinema’s dark rooms were lit up, because after the famous director and screenwriter’s latest movies were projected, the audience (which majority was formed of film students and people from the film industry) had the chance to ask questions directly from Oliver Stone.
My whole weekend went by listening to the Hungarian-American script writer, Joe Eszterhas at a `master course` in screenwriting. I basically spent my weekend with studying, but I don`t regret any moment of it. He was born in Hungary, but his family immigrated to the United States at a very young age and by being opened to the world, he could learn the language fast. Over time his strong Hungarian accent went away and Eszterhas gained reputation in Hollywood with his original screenplays. He made the American dream come true.
The lights were going off. The silent genius of Hollywood, director-writer-producer Sir Alan Parker arrived on stage. As a student of the Budapest Film Academy, I’ve been to his two-day film seminar. At the Corvin Movie Theater, almost five hundred young film students have been listening to his lessons about his half-century long career, sometimes spiced with a very British humor.
When Jenő asked me to write some notes on the class István Szabó held, first I wrote black and white about the raw, technical side. Jenő is a perfectionist, he wasn’t satisfied. He asked me to add the emotional side to it, how I felt in class. Well, what does it feel like to learn boxing from Mike Tyson and take piano lessons from Beethoven?
I was so sad when I found out that I completely missed the event with Nimród Antal organized part of the Film Writer’s Weekend by the Hungarian National Film Fund. More precisely, I didn’t even receive an invite. That’s why I was glad to read on Facebook that the Budapest Film Academy also invited Nimród for an open lecture. I signed up for it right away. On the day of the lecture I arrived with a curious mind. The auditorium was full of people. I am, although, not a filmmaker, I paid great attention and even took some notes as Nimród spoke, because I’m writing a book on films.
At the end of March, I was one of those lucky people who could participate in a two-day screenwriting master class by Laurie Hutzler, who worked as a creative consultant for BBC, Channel 4, and also worked with Oscar winners like Nick Park or Steve Box. At the beginning of the lecture Laurie asked a question: Who is a writer among you? Who’s a director? Or producer? Well, I’m neither of them. I hope that in the close future I’m going to be a part of the populous family of editors. So we could ask the question: What made me to go to a lecture about writing? What does an editor benefit from this when he/she doesn’t even write? The answer is multilayer. At first, of course, curiosity made me to apply…
Beth Serlin is an international screenwriter. She won Best Screenplay at the Tokyo Film Festival for Beyond Silence (Jenseits der Stille), which was then nominated for Best Foreign Language film in the 1998 Academy Awards.