The Films That Changed My Life: Dov Simens

June 14, 2016
Dov Simens – the creator and teacher of the world famous 2-Day Film School (which will be in Melbourne on July 16 and 17) – picks the films that have changed his life.

Dov Simens is one of America’s most enduring and influential film teachers. Dov is credited with launching thousands of film careers, including those of Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, and Will Smith, to name a few. His world renowned 2-Day Film School (which Simens will present in Melbourne on July 16 and 17) shortcuts the journey to filmmaking success with an intensive, no-holds barred course that focuses on the business and key fundamentals of filmmaking, not the art. “It’s called show business for a reason,” says Dov. “Whether you’re experienced in film and TV or want to get started, have millions of dollars or nothing at all, your ideas can become a film success if you commit to the business of it.”

FilmInk spoke to Dov in Hollywood as he prepares to come down under, and we asked him about the films that changed his life. “I get excited about movies that were smart and savvy enough to make money,” says Simens. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate the art of film. I’m simply fascinated by the art of success in this business. For that reason, I’ve categorised the films that have impressed me the most by their production budget.”

Blair Witch Project

“NO-BUDGET”: UNDER $20,000 OR 1-DAY, REAL-TIME MOVIES – THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

“Horror is one of my favourite genres for low budget big success. It was after seeing The Blair Witch Project that I realised that anyone can use a camera, find good unknown acting talent, shoot in one location, get it played at a festival, utilise social media, and create a global buzz.  It was brilliantly done.”

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“MICRO-BUDGET”: UNDER $200,000 OR 1 WEEK SHOOT – ROPE

“Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope exemplifies the essence of what I teach. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock was one of the early masters of being clever with production budget and film fundamentals in creating a success and fortune in film. In Rope, Hitchcock simply puts two actors in an apartment and directed them to talk for 90 minutes. Genius.”

Corman’s-Drive-In-1

“LOW-BUDGET”: UNDER $1 MILLION OR 3 WEEK SHOOTS WITH TV NAMES – ANYTHING BY ROGER CORMAN

“Roger Corman, aka ‘The King Of The B-Grades’, focused solely on making ‘tacky’ genre movies and marketed them with high impact titles and posters. He produced over 700 movies that were distributed to over 35 countries. He was hugely successful in his craft.”

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“MEDIUM BUDGET”: UNDER $10 MILLION OR 5 WEEK SHOOT WITH 2-3 MOVIE NAMES – RESERVOIR DOGS

“Quentin Tarantino wrote, directed, and produced Reservoir Dogs, and with it, brought back to the fore how to make good cinema profitable with a quality script, carefully selected actors, and a lean production budget. It’s stage-play thinking – something that I teach at film school. Using imagination with the one space, with quality acting and content. He recently did it again with The Hateful Eight and made a huge profit.”

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“MEGA-BUDGET”: $100 MILLION+ OR LONG TERM SHOOTS, VISUAL FX, A-LIST NAMES – SUPER HERO FRANCHISES

“The ultimate genre in spending a lot to make a lot. These movies essentially repurpose successfully well-worn content for the masses. Their investment is the visual effects – the eye candy that draws people in for the cinema experience. It is an art form none-the-less, and it makes money on itself as soon as number 2, 3 and so on are released.”

Dov Simens will be in Australia to present his 2 Day Film School at The Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne on July 16 and 17. For more information, head to the official Facebook page.

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