DMA Central


Making Indiana Jones: The World’s Greatest Adventurer Turns 30

Originally named “Indiana Smith” (they changed his name on the first day of production), Indiana Jones was born thirty years ago on the movie screens of America. Harrison Ford played Dr. Jones, or “The Man in the Hat,” as 1981′s adventurous archeologist was called. Director Steven Spielberg yelled, “Action!” while his friend and production partner George Lucas oversaw the story. The movie was a cinematic touchstone. And not an easy movie to make:

Harrison Ford on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

On Location with Indy A grueling location shoot in Tunisia, France and England almost sent the star to the hospital – twice. Once when a Nazi plane rolled over his knee (Ford wrapped his leg in some ice and kept shooting), and another time when Ford and the crew came down with a horrible stomach flu. (Spielberg didn’t get sick because he brought his own food: cans of Spaghetti-O’s.)

“We named the dog Indiana.” George Lucas named the character after his dog. The same dog was also the inspiration for Chewbacca of Star Wars. Yet, as the star whose name would grace the movie marquee, George Lucas didn’t want Harrison Ford starring in his movie because the actor had already appeared in Lucas’ American Graffiti and Star Wars. Ford was, however, Spielberg’s first choice.

Improvise “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage,” was a line ad-libbed by Ford. It was’t in the script. Neither was the famous scene where Indy shoots down a wild-eyed swordsman. Ford was supposed to use the whip and take the sword out of the attacker’s hand, but he had gotten food poisoning and was too exhausted to perform the stunt. After several unsuccessful attempts, it was Harrison Ford that suggested that “shooting the sucker” would be easier on Indy. Spielberg agreed, the cameras rolled and the rest was movie history.

Movie Milestones Raiders was the first film Spielberg ever shot in the UK. The film also marked Alfred Molina’s silver-screen debut. The sequel to Raiders, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was the first movie ever to carry a PG-13 rating because of its violence.

This is how I feel every time I watch Pawn Stars.

Remaking the Classic Serial Adventure Great, iconic adventure movies that stand the test of time, like Raiders of the Lost Ark, don’t come around very often. Making a great movie takes a lot work. But the technology today gives filmmakers an edge. If you’ve got a dream for a great movie or want to learn how to make movies period, you should start your adventure in Digital Moviemaking. By getting training for Final Cut X, you could make an incredible film. Summer camps at Stanford University can help you master the craft of filmmaking, like Indy wields a whip.

Indiana Jones is a movie icon and hero, he’s an everyman that makes us love the movies even more. Happy 30th, Indy!


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Teaching the Basics of Filmmaking

By Lee Manansala, Teen Filmmaking Instructor DMA @ Harvard University

The basics of filmmaking are, to be perfectly frank, the most important things an aspiring filmmaker needs to know.  Composition, screen direction, shot sizes, set protocol—these are the things that get one hired as a director in the film/television/commercial industry.  The students I taught at DMA had innate creativity to spare, and I was just there to teach them how to apply that creativity to the film medium, and how to use the tools of the medium to realize their cinematic visions.  I’ll admit, it sounds funny to use a term like “cinematic visions” to describe short films made by teenagers, but it’s entirely appropriate—these kids were GREAT, eager to learn, and they had amazing ideas and a real sense of what they wanted their films to be!

I taught my students Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro, two incredibly sophisticated filmmaking programs that intimidate and baffle some of my fellow graduate film students at NYU.  The programs are, however, very intuitive, and by explaining the basics of what the program is actually doing, I found that my students took to both programs very aptly and comfortably.  By the end of the third day of instruction, the entire class had what I like to call “the edit face”:  the look on a seasoned editor’s face when she/he is fully immersed in a project.  On the final day of instruction, the class outputted their projects onto DVD with DVD Studio Pro, something I didn’t do until my first semester at NYU.

I’ve dreamt of making movies since I was 10, but never thought it was a possibility.  The countless names on the credits at the end of every movie made me think it was an incredibly involved process and a near impossible task.  I wish a resource like DMA was available to me when I was younger.  The process would have seemed less complicated, I would have met kids with dreams in common with my own, and I would have spent less time doubting myself  and more time learning and becoming inspired by the tools of filmmaking.

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