Film History Lesson: George Melies

The incredible movie “Hugo” brings back into the public consciousness, the work of filmmaker George Melies. I won’t tell you why, but go see the movie and you will find out for yourself.

It’s amazing, though, because at NYU film school we did watch Melies’ film “A Trip to the Moon” when I was a freshman in 1996. Back then, you couldn’t very well see this movie from 1902 without some connections. It really was an advantage of going to film school. Of course, nowadays, you can see the movie on youtube, and learn about Melies on the net. Here is his film:

You have to remember, this was shot in 1902. NINETEEN OH TWO. This guy was like the James Cameron of his day. Most people didn’t even know what a movie was, and he was doing stop action tricks and special effects.

He is also credited with inventing the dissolve, the fade, and stop motion effects. Holy cow!

Unfortunately, many of his film were lost. But like so many filmmakers, Melies didn’t go to film school, because they didn’t exist back then!

He simply had imagination and passion!

FYI, interesting trivia. The Smashing Pumpkins paid an homage to this film in their music video for “Tonight Tonight”. Check it out:

Remember, if you go to film school you are going to be paying $4,000 a class to watch a movie like this and hear some old professor tell you the exact same things you could find on Wikipedia. Take your own imagination and passion and just start making movies like George Melies! To learn how check out Film School Secrets!


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