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Is Stillmotion's MUSE program really worth the cost? A pilot asks Patrick Moreau some tough questions.


Lintelfilm
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Hey EOSHD'ers,

In case anyone's interested, I've just written an article about Stillmotion's MUSE program (which I've been a member of for a couple of months now). It contains a Q&A with Patrick Moreau, and details a lot of the misgivings I have about the program.

You can read it here:

http://lintelfilm.uk/blog/muse-vs-muser

Would be great to hear your thoughts. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have too. BTW is anyone else here a MUSE member?

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Firstly, I want to commend you on a well written article/ interview. But, like most information I have read about the Muse program, I found your article to be lacking information that explains exactly what the program consists of. I assume there is some no disclosure element to the pilot program?

As a writer first, and a filmmaker third... Or something, I have read almost every book about screenwriting, so I get the gist of what they're selling. The question becomes... Is the program a paint by numbers, formulaic program, or a jelly of the month club that shows real life examples as to how their process works? 

In the end... If you find it useful, then it is. I don't like plans or programs that promise the world at a hefty price tag when most of the information can be checked out from your local library, or on the World Wide Web. 

But every book I have ever read about story or screenwriting has had some little nugget that has made my writing a little better, or the process a little easier... For that alone, I have never felt I wasted a penny on a writing book.

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Firstly, I want to commend you on a well written article/ interview. But, like most information I have read about the Muse program, I found your article to be lacking information that explains exactly what the program consists of. I assume there is some no disclosure element to the pilot program?

As a writer first, and a filmmaker third... Or something, I have read almost every book about screenwriting, so I get the gist of what they're selling. The question becomes... Is the program a paint by numbers, formulaic program, or a jelly of the month club that shows real life examples as to how their process works? 

In the end... If you find it useful, then it is. I don't like plans or programs that promise the world at a hefty price tag when most of the information can be checked out from your local library, or on the World Wide Web. 

But every book I have ever read about story or screenwriting has had some little nugget that has made my writing a little better, or the process a little easier... For that alone, I have never felt I wasted a penny on a writing book.

Thanks man. Yes I know exactly where you're coming from. I can't really answer your question because I still don't really know myself! There isn't any ND on MUSE - I think it's just that it's hard to see the wood for the trees so nobody knows how to sum it up. Personally I think if you're making short docs of corporate videos (as I am), then MUSE will be useful as a way of focusing all those theories of "story" onto that specific, real-world discipline. For anything else I can't imagine it telling you anything you don't already know.

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For anything else I can't imagine it telling you anything you don't already know.

I think this is the most salient point of any creative endeavor, be it writing, filmmaking, music, painting, sculpting, or whatever. It's the balance between theory, creativity and craft. I understand all of the theory of screenwriting and a lot of filmmaking. I feel I have the creativity for both, but the honing of skills involved with the craft is a lifelong process. In my opinion, craft is the most important part of the equation and with every new script I write or shot I shoot, there is a rethinking or recreating of the craft that is solely unique to that project, or scene, or shot, or character.

When the guy you interviewed, I have already forgotten his name, compared his program to Hemingway, I kind of threw up in my mouth a little. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate confidence and pride, without it, nobody would ever succeed in this business, but everything I read about this program seems to guarantee success with a craft that could take two lifetimes to master... That's what I find a bit off putting. And this brings me back around to what I liked about your article, the exploration between marketing and content. 

But as I said, if one can get one nugget of good information, then it is worth it. Good luck with it and I would love to read an update as you progress with the program. 

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I think Stillmotion has a lot of great filmmaking knowledge to share, but my eyebrow became permanently raised with them when they pushed that lemonade-selling / slave-saving little girl whose father bragged that he was a viral content marketer or some such.

You have what these guys and Shane Hurlbut are doing, which is direct audience monetization, and then other camera blogs that are clearly bought and paid for by certain brands. The bottom line matters to everyone I guess. 

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You think it's getting bad in the motion picture "industry" as things get more democratic?  You should see what happened to the indy music scene over the past few decades.  I've been a clown in that rodeo for awhile.  And endless amount of young new people are dabbling in the profession without a clue and they grasp at everything and anything for a foothold --which makes them ripe for exploitation.

Back in the day a tradecraft was protected simply because it was a somewhat exclusive club to get into.  Forget about that with movie making, for better and worse.

I just assume I'm a mark for that sort of legalized grifting and carry on with as much skepticism I can muster.

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Hi Matt,

I signed up to Muse.  I'm just a beginner who has been trying to learn video on the side, for the past couple of years.  Your blog post is excellent and you ask Patrick some interesting questions.  Probably like you I've been looking for ways to learn all about video, and most of the online content focuses on technical content and not the craft.

For shooting video, most information is around how to set up the camera, expose, shutter speed, etc. but not what type of coverage or shots are needed for editing. Things like composition, the "language" of film or video are also seldom discussed.

For audio, there is information on how to acquire audio (get the mic close), microphone types, etc., but not much on the why and even less on how to best use and blend that audio (dialogue, music, nat sound) when editing.

For editing, there is much about how to use Final Cut or Premiere, but much less on the craft of editing and workflow.  I know there is Inside the Edit, but it is a little expensive and I'm not at that level yet.

Finally, and most importantly, there is very little (if nothing) out there where you can learn how to identify and tell a interesting story and get the best out of your interviewees.  That is where Muse comes in.

For me, I am long past the point where I want to return to school, film or otherwise.  I have restricted time due to family and work constraints to acquire the craft-based information from a library (which is also quite limited where I live).  I also don't live in a video production hotbed, so have next to 0 possibility to learn through mentoring.  I'm looking to Muse to give me insight and help me better understand how to tell a story.

I see value in the programme (for me), although I'm just going through the beginning module, and it will take some time for the learning to sink in.  I'm meeting up with a couple of people who are working on local "good news" stories so I will be able to practise and improve not only my technical skills, but what I'm learning in Muse.  I also have some ideas for larger-scale documentary work that I'd like to do, but the local stories will help me get the confidence and experience to tackle something larger.

Some of the paid resources that I've used in the past are:

Ripple Training (FCPX, some production/editing craft), The Tao of Color (color correction theory), Larry Jordan (FCPX + editing/production technique), Izzy Video (introductory video shooting / storytelling), Creative Live (Griffon Hammond - Sriracha Doc), Dave Dougdale / Caleb Pike for learning the Panasonic cameras better.  There is some good content on Lynda.com by Anthony Q. Artis and Jeff Sengstack.  All have been worth the expenditure, for me.

There is a lot of pretty good free stuff out there too, for example, I learned a lot from Dave Dougdale and Chris Fenwick showing how they edit and do the audio for a promo.  Ripple Training has a lot of good 5-minute how-to videos as well as the longer FCPX virtual user group recordings.  There is also a lot of stuff on production or techniques, but once again there is little content that digs into the "why" and shows how to put it all together to get something decent.

 

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