Focus on Filmmaking

The Artists Rights Foundation, a nonprofit organization launched by the Directors Guild of America, has developed a Web site to teach young people the basics of filmmaking.

The AdmitOne site at offers lengthy descriptions of the tasks performed by members of a film crew, along with tips and interactive exercises. The section on art direction, for example, provides suggestions for choosing and obtaining props, as well as a virtual set that can be used to design two scenes from an imaginary movie about Mars.

Though most of the site celebrates the joy of filmmaking, the artists' rights section sounds a sour note about the power studios wield over filmmakers. The main lesson here is that the people who make movies don't control the copyrights and can't stop studios from altering movies--in a detrimental way, naturally.

That's not a surprising message, given that funding for the site came mainly from the Directors Guild and filmmaker George Lucas and not the studio-backed Motion Picture Assn. of America.

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