All filmmakers are, in some way, students of filmmaking (I know I am), but this one's for the REAL (i.e., in-school) student filmmakers out there: Some of us are starting spring break today, while others will be enjoying spring break later this month. Assuming you're not already using this time to make a movie this week, here are some ways to spend your time if you're unable (or uninterested) in traveling to Cancun, Panama City, or wherever it is the kids go these days. No excuses -- any of these suggestions can be done on a budget:
Read your camera's manual! Seriously. I've met a lot of people that have never read their camera's manual. You might be surprised at some of the things it'll do. After you read it....
Take a daytrip for inspiration! Get out of your apartment and explore your area. Take your camera and shoot some location scouting shots. Already got some inspiration?
Work on that script you've been meaning to write! Visit your local library, take your notebook or laptop with you and don't leave until you've written a few pages. And while you're there...
Catch up on film history! Check out (literally) some of the greatest films of all time. Blockbuster probably doesn't have them, but your library might. And get some books while you're at it: Bazin and Sarris are your "beach reading" this week.
And for extra credit:
Teach yourself filmmaking software! There are a ton of ways to do this. Here's just one of many: Lynda.com's excellent Final Cut Studio tutorials are all available online, and for $25 you have access to every single one of them for an entire month. That's enough time to learn enough about Final Cut, Compressor, Motion, DVD Studio Pro to move you to the head of your class.
The most precious resource for us filmmakers isn't a camera or even money -- it's time. If you're not already making a movie this week, use this week to recharge your batteries. Literally. Then go shoot. If filmmaking isn't just a hobby, it's your compulsion, I can almost guarantee that in ten years you'll look back and consider this time better spent than doing tequila shots in front of MTV's Spring Break camera crews. At the very least, you'll remember more of it.