How to Make Your Movie: An Interactive Film School

Format: Power Mac and Windows 95

In today's entertainment world, with its extravagant stage environments, themed attractions, exhibitions, and road shows, many different media trades must work together. If you are an apprentice who wants to be film literate, or a show business veteran who wants to brush up on the tools and the talk of movie production, here is an interactive multimedia solution that you can tour on your own time.

How to Make Your Movie: An Interactive Film School ($89.95) is a three-disk CD-ROM package with a production notebook. From the original premise to the final cut, each step in the production of a short dramatic film is used to demonstrate the concepts and techniques of filmmaking. Music and sound files are also included, allowing you to edit your own version of the film with almost any desktop editing software.

The CD-ROM uses the environment of an "actual" film school, where you can navigate through the simulated 3D building. You can experience the whole filmmaking process starting in the Research Room and going on to the Script Room, and then move on to the Preproduction Room, which will prepare you to make your film.

The Film History section is only an outline, and the Film Festivals are marginally helpful, but things begin to get really serious and worthwhile when you encounter the story concepts of a beginning, a middle, and an end. You will find excellent and well-seasoned overviews and real-world details of cinematic grammar and structure, research, scriptwriting, and planning. The Equipment Room features an interactive Lighting Studio and a light metering exercise. You can review the range of cameras, stock, and the sound and lighting equipment that is most commonly used in this country.

After you've shot your movie, go from the Production Room to the Post-Production Room for editing and sound mixing. In each of the five production rooms, you'll hear from professional filmmakers and educators from film schools such as NYU and UCLA as they share their wisdom of the art and the craft of filmmaking. On the fourth floor is the Screening Room, where you can watch the finished class film in its entirety.

The teamwork of the preproduction, production, and the post-production processes, with all their organizational forms and formats and accountabilities, are admirably represented, warts and all. Post-it notes, 3 x 5 cards, and voiceovers pepper the interactive landscape with the frank and honest comments of the pros. Working with actors, screen tests, props, location scouting, permissions, scheduling, budgeting, crews, shot lists, sound and picture editing--all will prepare you well for the real, and often chaotic, world of film and video production. If you can get by the art school/indie attitude of the package, you will find this address a rewarding destination on your journey of media knowledge.

Interactive Film School; c/o Electronic Vision, 5 Depot Street, Athens, OH 45701; (800) 516-9361; www.