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

Overview


One L meets You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

In this comic and moving and completely true tale, Film School reveals what life is like at the elite school that trained Hollywood?s biggest names.

When Midwestern journalist Steve Boman applied to the University of Southern California's vaunted School of Cinematic Arts, the world's oldest and most prestigious film school, he had more than a few strikes against him: His wife was recovering...

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Film School: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World's Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat

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Overview


One L meets You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again

In this comic and moving and completely true tale, Film School reveals what life is like at the elite school that trained Hollywood’s biggest names.

When Midwestern journalist Steve Boman applied to the University of Southern California's vaunted School of Cinematic Arts, the world's oldest and most prestigious film school, he had more than a few strikes against him: His wife was recovering from thyroid cancer. His beloved sister had just died of leukemia. He lost his job. He had three young children. He was in his late 30s…. And he had no experience in filmmaking.

As Boman navigates his way through USC's arduous three-year graduate production program, he finds that his films fall flat, he's threatened with being kicked out of the program and he becomes the old guy no one wants to work with. Defeated, he quits and moves back to the Midwest to be with his family. After he is urged by his wife to reapply, he miraculously gets in for a second time...only to have a stroke on the first day of classes. But instead of doing the easy thing – running away again -- Boman throws caution to the wind and embraces the challenge. He slowly becomes a gray-haired Golden Boy at USC with films that sparkle. And then he does the impossible: While still in school, for a class project, he dreams up a television series that CBS catches wind of and develops into THREE RIVERS, a primetime Sunday night show.

This story of challenge and triumph—and what it takes to make it in the world’s most famous film school—is a must-read for anyone aspiring to become a Hollywood great or anyone just looking for a good story.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936661053
  • Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,389,713
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Steve Boman worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Daily Southtown. He wrote stories for Chicago magazine, Salon.com, Advertising Age and others. He also worked as a liver transplant coordinator at the University of Chicago. In 2009, Boman graduated with an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. He developed a television series (CBS's THREE RIVERS) based on his experiences working as a transplant coordinator. He is married, with three daughters.
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2011

    Super book

    I too had the good fortune of getting an early start on this book. Just when I started thinking there are no new stories out there, Steve Boman wowed me with this one. It's real, and really entertaining. Nice job!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    A fun ride through film school!

    This book saved me a ton of money. I have have always wanted to go to film school, but now I don't have to. Reading this book was like living the experience vicariously through Steve. Thanks Steve. See you at the reunion.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    WOW! Fantastic Book!!

    I read an early "not-for-release" copy I received from a friend who was at the New York City publishing expo in May.

    Let me say here: This book will be a best-seller when it comes out this winter. Fantastic. Funny. Touching. I just put it down. I came here to post my thoughts.

    If you don't care about what happens in film school you will STILL like this book. It's that good. If you want to know what happens in film schools, it's the ticket for you. If you like EAT PRAY LOVE, I've got a secret: This book is better, by far.

    If "Film School" doesn't end up as a big-budget movie I'll be very surprised. My friend who gave me the advance copy promised me I'd like it. I do!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Wonderful: Emotional, sensitive, true.

    Film School came as a gift from my parents. I'm enrolled at the same school (University of Southern California) but I'm not a film student. I would like to be a film student. I talk a lot about making films. I think that's why my parents got me this book. :)

    First off, I didn't start reading this book unitl a few days ago. I'm back in class and I don't have much time. And then I started reading it: I was hooked!

    I keep talking to my friends about this book. My roommates wondered why I was reading a book that looks like it is a Romance Novel. It is NOT! It is fantastic!

    This is a book I could NOT put down after I started! I read this wonderful story in two days. I didn't study much! I want to post here how much I liked it. I texted my mom to say THANKS!

    This book made me cry several times. This book is very emotional. The author tells everything what he is feeling and it is just so well done. There are times when he writes and I start saying outloud "THAT IS SO TRUE!" I liked what he wrote about the way some people think at USC. There are a lot of people here I call "rich radicals" who don't ever have to work. They always complain. They grew up with everything. And they complain all the time about America. I am Asian, and both my parents worked really hard. No wonder my parents gave me this book.

    I give this book FOUR STARS. This is very funny, and emotional. As a young woman who is interested in film making, I loved this book. I am a little scared of going to a "film school" like at USC but I know that if don't give up and I help other people like Mr. Boman did I could do fine.

    I was so touched how Mr. Boman cared for his wife. He went to USC to support her, and I don't want to give away the ending but he succeeded!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

    Freaky GOOD!

    I went to the same school this guy did! SOOO TRUE!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    A True Treasure and a Rare Find

    My bag was packed with three books when I had to fly to London and back on short notice. My bag held The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and That Used to be Us and this book. I always visit the bookstore before traveling and stock up on the latest material.

    On the flights the book I kept coming back to was this one. When I started I simply raced through it. I had planned to sleep for some of the trip but I could not when I was reading this memoir.

    Recommending this book is a pleasure.

    Mr. Boman has written a deeply personal and moving story from material that in less qualified hands could have been a cliche.

    I should have been tipped off when in the introduction, Mr. David Howard compares this book to one my grandfather had on his bookshelf, Two Years before the Mast, a book I had read as a teenager. My grandfather loved that book and while I found it slow going I developed an affinity later when I reread it as an adult. So imagine my surprise to find THIS book compared to Two Years etc.

    It raised my expectations and I'm pleased to say they were met.

    Mr. Boman tells a very interesting saga about the entertainment business. It is an area I have only passing interest. I am an engineer, but perhaps having been raised both in England and here in the States I have a more bookish bent than many of my fellow engineers. Truth be told, his real story is about family and relationships. On these topics he excels.

    His writing is crisp, without being terse. His humour is sometimes a bit "American", but I rather enjoyed it. His insights into relationships and foibles (his own and others') is remarkable. I noted another review here (perhaps it has been taken down) that was highly critical of Mr. Boman and this book. The criticisms mostly centered on the astonishing claim that Mr. Boman was and is "immature". I wonder if we were reviewing the same book. I found a great level of maturity in these pages.

    There is much to envy in Mr. Boman's memoir. Perhaps some are green-eyed with that envy??

    I have yet to finish Mr. Friedman's book. It is rather a bore. Ms. Skloot's book is much more interesting, although I finished it after Mr. Boman's book, to his credit.

    I am giving this four stars, without reservation.

    APC, 2012

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Disappointing, immature, unethical - AVOID at all costs

    I guess it is a dream of a lot of people to attend film school, but do not try to live vicariously through this book. I finished it, but with a lot of distaste. I found the author to be incredibly immature, seriously biased against women, self-centered, inappropriate and ruthless in reaching for dollars rather than quality. His wife went to medical school, had 3 babies and had surgery for thyroid cancer - and he clearly felt that going to film school to give a firm financial future (???) for the family was his right, leaving his young family in Minnesota to live in LA to go to film school on and off (as the mood struck him) for a couple of years. No body with any intelligence thinks that film is a secure place to work, so it's ruthlessness built on a foundation of greed rather than creativity. He goes out of his way to insist that film school is harder than medical school (not true), so we see him put his poor wife and her struggles down from the very start. Then he puts all the women with any authority that he meets at film school down, unless they are useful to him. The film partner who has an idea for a film about dancing zombies - he calls her "fat rumped" and leaves the school rather than work with her for one semester! Strangely, his student opus about a roll of holy toilet paper (!!!) is his joy - but funnily enough,zombies are extremely popular in modern media, holy toilet paper, not so. So who had the better idea - clear to us, but not to him. For someone with 3 daughters, his anti-woman bias is very disturbing. It comes up again in a pitch class, where the male faculty who offer no comment are OK with him, but the one female who asks him not to pace constantly is called a man-hater. Really disturbing immaturity is evident too - where he does a gofer role on another student's film, he expects a producer credit (!!) and not getting that, he goes out of his way to deny the same student any producer credit on the next one. I could not believe that any publishing house would produce this biased, childish and unethical material - for example, the author admits overworking a child actor against school rules just to meet his deadline, and putting a cameraman at risk, again against school rules, then rails against the female professor who RIGHTFULLY wants to expel him - it is truly unbelievably childish to read his lack of insight about his serious problems with other people. Read this book to find out who used to make movies in the bad old days, because with the rise of digital media, films are no longer the purview of the prejudiced few, and we must be thoroughly grateful for that!! The attitudes in this book are the very ones that we need to put firmly behind us in order to progress as human beings. Better yet, skip this completely, read anything by a WORKING and MATURE filmmaker and save yourself from this utter garbage. Extremely disappointing, and if this is the type of person that USC is graduating, then thank heaven for the film schools elsewhere. PS to the author; despite the constant claims that USC is the best film school, the 2 in NY are known to beat them by miles when it comes to turning out MATURE, INTELLIGENT, CREATIVE filmmakers.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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