Film School and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $3.16 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Monday, April 28? Order within and choose Two-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by bacobooks
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: *****FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING with Amazon Prime. Great Buy*****
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Film School: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World's Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat on His Face, Had a Stroke, and Sold a Television Series to CBS Paperback


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.79
$4.91 $0.01

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Have the next big idea for a movie? Submit a 2-15 min. concept video to Amazon Studios for a chance to have your movie made. Learn more.


Frequently Bought Together

Film School: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World's Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat on His Face, Had a Stroke, and Sold a Television Series to CBS + Film School Confidential: The Insider's Guide To Film Schools + 101 Things I Learned in Film School
Price for all three: $38.12

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936661055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936661053
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Film School is a must-read for anyone who has ever wanted to attend USC (myself included) or any other film program.  It's also a great motivator for anyone who wants to change careers but worries that it's too late (me again).  And have I mentioned how freaking awesome the cover is?   -- from Chicks Dig Books

His approach is reminiscent of the Harvard student who became an able-bodied seaman in the 1830s and sailed in a tall ship around Cape Horn to write the classic of experiential journalism, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST.- From David Howard's foreword to Film School. 

In 'Film School,' what doesn't kill USC graduate student Steve Boman makes for an entertaining book.
By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times January 31, 2012
If you're thinking "Paper Chase" for the movie set, you wouldn't be far off.


"Read Steve Boman's Film School to understand all the effort, heartbreak, creativity, begging, stealing, joy, backstabbing and stamina that it takes to make movies. Part exposé, part-American-Dream-come-true, Boman’s keenly observant and fascinating book takes the shine off of the glamour we know as Hollywood and shows us the real world of making movies.”
—Ali Selim, writer and director of SWEETLAND, 2007 Independent Spirit winner; director of episodes of IN TREATMENT, CRIMINAL MINDS

From the Back Cover

Steve Boman was just your average middle-aged ex-newspaper reporter and stay-at-home dad when he applied to be a student at the University of Southern California's vaunted School of Cinematic Arts.
Boman didn't know what would await him at the world's oldest and most prestigious film school, a place that has trained Hollywood heavyweights George Lucas, John Carpenter, James Ivory, Judd Apatow, Brian Grazer, Shonda Rhimes, John Singleton, Jay Roach, Conrad Hall, and many others.
In this rollicking, thoughtful, and unexpectedly touching tale, Boman shows what life is like behind the scenes at Hollywood's pre-eminent boot camp... and what it's like to do the almost unthinkable--sell a primetime television show while still in school.

More About the Author


Here's a Q&A that USC did with me recently. It has all sorts of biographical information and I explain a bit how this book came to be. Enjoy!

-------

Q: Congratulations on the new book, FILM SCHOOL: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World's Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat on His Face, Had a Stroke, and Sold a Television Series to CBS. When did you decide to chronicle your story with a book?

A: From the day I got my acceptance letter from USC. No kidding.

In researching film schools I discovered that very little was written about what it's actually like to go to film school. Anyone who is interested in law school can read Scott Turow's excellent One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School. Anyone interested in medical school can read Perri Klass' A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student.

Film school? Zippo.

I had toiled a long time as a journalist before going to film school. I thought I could put those skills to good use. So I took notes and wrote some rough chapters along the way. Of course, I had no idea then what would eventually happen.

Q: One of your intentions in writing the book is to help future School of Cinematic Arts graduates with navigating the School. What, in particular, do you wish you would have known before becoming a student?

A: Some were really basic: I had only the faintest notion of how the whole process works at USC...how one progresses from making (mostly cruddy) solo films to making some very good group films and television episodes. I wished I known that the first year was all about making mostly silent films. I wished I had spent more time editing before coming - I was dreadfully slow on AVID, and it was always my Achilles heel.

Some things I wished I had known were more big-picture: I wished I had known that I would sometimes feel like a complete dumbass, or like the most uncool kid since 8th grade swim lessons. I once cried like a baby in front of a professor over a student film! Since I'm a grown man who has seen a lot of real babies cry, that's saying something.

I talk about all that in detail in FILM SCHOOL. My book is more about the emotional journey of going to the School of Cinematic Arts than it is a technical overview. So it's a little like a chick-flick. But there's also a really amazing car crash in it and some wrestling and partial nudity, so I think I have a lot of bases covered.

Q: It seems like you came to SCA with a pretty unique point of view, what was your journey before coming to the School?

A: It was a unique point of view for film students, but out in the real world I'm a pretty ordinary guy: I'm a soccer dad, I worry about crabgrass, I wish my mortgage payments were lower, I eat too many donuts when given the chance.

My journey is the odd part. I entered USC in my late '30s. I was older than most students, but not all. I had three daughters. I'd been married more than a decade. That alone made me a bit of an odd duck among film students.

My bio: I grew up in northern Minnesota and I went to a small college in southern Minnesota named after the great Swedish warrior-king, Gustavus Adolphus.

I got my first post-college job working as a reporter and anchor at Minnesota Public Radio. I then worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and finally at a distressingly interesting newspaper on Chicago's South Side called the Daily Southtown. I freelanced a fair bit too.

In the midst of all that typing and talking I took a job at the University of Chicago as an organ transplant coordinator. Basically I organized the removal of livers from brain-dead people. I flew around the country in a private jet with a surgical team. I carried the cooler containing the liver. I assisted in a lot of surgical organ removals. It was an unusual job. I did it for a little less than a year.

After the journalism and organ carrying, I started a magazine called - don't laugh - GeezerJock. My business partner and I were dense enough to think we could make money producing a magazine for sweaty old people. We poured years of time into it, saw it grow to a circulation of 65,000, sold it, and then watched it sail away to the Bermuda Triangle of magazines, where it sank quietly.

So when I applied to USC I had spent a lot of time in media, just not much time in the world of moving pictures.

I also had spent a lot of time being a parent. Several years after we were married my wife entered medical school. Her training was grueling. I spent a lot of days and nights alone with our kids, changing diapers, going for walks, dealing with colic and reading Curious George and Goodnight Moon and many other books roughly a thousand times each to each of our daughters.

The basics of my arc are familiar to anyone who has been married for a while and has kids. The specifics are rather odd. And my wife and I have lived in a lot of different places, ranging from inner city Chicago and Philadelphia to small towns to the suburbs. I think all that moving helped me see past some of the cheap regional stereotyping that's so common in Hollywood.

Q: What were you surprised by the most when you transitioned to SCA?


A: That you don't judge a book by its cover. (Except in the case of my book. It has a really terrific cover, so judge away.) By that I mean there are students at USC who are terrifically talented and very hard working but who sometimes begin with a very low profile. The superstars in the early semesters are not necessarily the big successes later on. I learned to be patient, both with myself and in judging others, and trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. It's hard, because the School of Cinematic Arts is a really competitive place. Sometimes I got irritated at some really nice people. I wished it weren't so.

Q: With all of the adversity you have faced, what's the main lesson you have learned?

A: Don't stop moving your feet.

Really. If you do you can get a stroke. It happened to me. I sat for a long period of time and a blood clot hit my brain. That was no fun.

On the metaphorical level if you stop pushing forward nothing will ever happen. That's a guarantee. Nobody does anything by just dreaming about a good idea. If that were the case every person in the world would have their own television show or film deal.

Q: Three Rivers came out of a classroom setting. Tell us a little about the process of selling the show.

A: It was a very exciting process, and it involved a huge amount of luck, perfect timing, some talented people, a good idea and another big helping of luck.

I have to give a huge tip of my hat to Trey Callaway, a USC alumnus who taught my class, and Jack Epps, Jr. the head of the USC writing division, who was smart enough to bring Trey back to campus. When I considered film school, I only applied to USC, because I had hoped there would be opportunities like the one I experienced.

For all the juicy details you'll have to plunk down your money for FILM SCHOOL.

Q: The show had a short life on air. From your perspective, what went right and what went wrong?

A: What went wrong was we had about 9 million people watching it. We needed a few million more to keep it on the air. I'm not going to offer a postmortem. It was a nice ride.

What went right? Hell, we made it onto the air! We beat out the awesomely powerful Jerry Bruckheimer, who had a competing medical show lined up against us. A USC class project turned into a prime time series. That's pretty unique.

I was stunned when we went to pilot. That blew me away. The fact that we went onto a prime time slot for a couple months was just gravy. Don't forget I found out the show was going on CBS's primetime lineup just a day after I graduated from USC. That did not suck.

Q: That level of success is remarkable. Do you have any advice for other students who will skyrocket after graduation?

A: Well, one, my career didn't skyrocket. I made some nice money for a while and had a most excellent time being feted by some swell people. I'm now in the position where talented and connected people will at least give me some time when I have an idea for a new project. That's dandy. As I said before, I had planned to write this book before I started graduate school at USC. Writing it was hard - but it was a blast. I'm very proud of the book.

I've always admired people who could work in a variety of genres. Michael Crichton is a hero (having the series ER, the film Jurassic Park and the book Disclosure simultaneously at #1 isn't shabby). I admire the screenwriter and author David Benioff. I like writing fiction, I like writing non-fiction. I'd like to direct more too. I found that came fairly easily to me at USC. Maybe it's from having three kids and coaching many tiny soccer players.

I also get pleasure from working, so writing books and being in the moving picture business is a nice combination. Hollywood has a lot of "hurry up and wait." Book writing allows me to fill in the gaps.

Now, I have some financial advice as well for anyone who happens to sell something during their school years. During the time Three Rivers was filming, I went to a meeting for new Writers Guild of America members. An old WGA salt warned us: "When you get that first big check, don't do something stupid like blow it on a new car. You'll regret it!"

To that I say: hooey. If you get lucky, go blow some money on a stupid thing. You'll rarely get that chance again. When those Three Rivers checks started arriving I bought a blazingly fast jet-black V-8 muscle car - albeit one that can seat my whole family. If I want, I can do a burnout all the way out an elementary school parking lot! That's stupid. And fun. It was a dumb financial decision, and my wife grimaced, but when can you do such in thing in normal life?

By the way, my wife has now adopted the car as her own.

Q: What's next for you?

A: Speaking of stupid and fun, I've just got back from doing research into my second book, which involved riding a Harley-Davidson motorbike, solo, 11,000 miles around the United States and Canada in 28 days. I had so much fun writing FILM SCHOOL, and my publisher liked FILM SCHOOL so much, that I wanted to get started right away on another book. I wanted to write a book about tribalism and speed and the reigniting a lost passion and the long goofy history of motorcycling charlatans...and a road trip on a big honkin' sky-blue Harley is an excellent way to do it.

I'm also working with a group of really talented individuals on new television series we hope to get on the air soon. I've got a very insightful writing partner and we've worked very well together. I'm wearing sunglasses more so I can look all cool and Hollywoody when I say I'm working on a project that's once again "in development."

Customer Reviews

After reading the book, I finally got the cover.
normUK
I just finished reading Steve Boman's "Film School" yesterday.
John M. Grant IV
This is a very engaging book, easy read and educational.
D. Ernser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James2b on January 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Don't know if I got the chops to get into film school, but if I do, I would want to know exactly this. I read it, now I get it. Good reality check and a great read. I checked imdb and see that Boman didn't get to do much writing on his idea for the CBS show. Too bad. His writing is refreshingly honest, like meeting someone on a plane ride whose story makes you want the ride not to end. And it is pretty darn funny. There is a lot going on in the book and, at the end, the cover makes sense in a "Get Shorty" kinda way. Forget Hollywood and give us more books!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Slp on March 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was definitely worth my time and money. It opened my eyes to another world and took me out of March in Wisconsin for a short time everyday. Steve Boman,s WRITING is straightforward and without any R rated features. If you like memoirs about people accepting challenges, enjoy. I would like to see the movie version .....
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Film School is a tour de force of interesting detail, insightful observations, common sense, and challenges to the reader. You'll find what you want to know about entering the entertainment industry, including the widespread predjudices found there and how to deal with them. And the whole thing will be presented in tems of the life experience of someone it is almost impossible not to like. I read the whole thing in one five hour setting. I wish my life showed such courage and perseverance.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By gj on November 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Film School" works really well on at least two levels. First, there's the basic overall story arc that drives the book. It's the story of a fish out of water, Steve Boman, and how he suffers a stroke on the first day of class at the iconic USC Film School, grapples with the intracacies of making student films and on graduation day triumpsh by selling a TV series. Beyond that excellent overarching story is Boman's innate story-telling ability in relating the nerve-wracking details of getting through film school and just how technically difficult and how much work it takes to make a 5-minute silent film. After reading this book, you'll have a greater appreciation for any movie you see in the theater, because you'll know just how tough a film is to make. "Film School" is definitely a book worth reading. You're already on Amazon, for crying out loud, order it right now!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BLST on December 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best stories I have ever read, fiction or non. So good I am requiring my daughters to read it. If you decide to pick it up, and you should, be prepared because you wont put it down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JJ on February 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DISCLAIMER: Reading this book didn't actually get me into the MFA program, but it helped to convince me to attend.

While I was applying for grad school I came across this book to get a better sense of USC's famed film school. Boman gives a spectacular account of the most rewarding and discouraging moments of the SC film school.

I'm currently in the middle of the program and I can point out that there are a few differences since the book was published...
1. less films made in your first year as described
2. no more Arri cameras (all digital unless you're planning to become a cinematographer)
3. the facilities went from great to the best in the world (take a tour and you'll understand)

Overall, if you are looking for a detailed account of the program and what it is like to go to USC, this is the book for you!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Nilsestuen on December 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this guy's story and can relate a little in that I am someone who lives in Los Angeles and a family member is recovering from a stroke. So I was captivated both by the window into the entertainment industry - particularly the fresh take, told by a student and someone who was a bit of an outsider. It actually made me smarter in conversations with my friends and neighbors who are in the business. Also the details of his experiences with the stroke were brave and will hit home if you know anyone who has experienced that. I thought it was a great, entertaining read. I loaned it out after and others are enjoying it enough that I can't get it back!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cookie's mom on August 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, probably because my daughter is in the process of applying to film schools, but I think it would be interesting to anyone who wants an insider's view of film schools and the film industry. It was an easy, quick read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa2ad712c)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?