The Rogue Film School will be in the form of weekend seminars held by Werner Herzog in person at varying locations and at infrequent intervals.
The number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 65.
Locations and dates will be announced on this website and Werner Herzog's website: www.wernerherzog.com approximately 12 weeks in advance.
The Rogue Film School will not teach anything technical related to film-making. For this purpose, please enroll at your local film school.
The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.
The focus of the seminars will be a dialogue with Werner Herzog, in which the participants will have their voice with their projects, their questions, their aspirations.
Excerpts of films will be discussed, which could include your submitted films; they may be shown and discussed as well. Depending on the materials, the attention will revolve around essential questions: how does music function in film? How do you narrate a story? (This will certainly depart from the brainless teachings of three-act-screenplays). How do you sensitize an audience? How is space created and understood by an audience? How do you produce and edit a film? How do you create illumination and an ecstasy of truth?
Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.
Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.
Related, but more reflective, will be a reading list. Required reading: Virgil’s “Georgics”, Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, and Baker's "The Peregrine" (New York Review Books Edition published by HarperCollins). Suggested reading: The Warren Commission Report, “The Poetic Edda”, translated by Lee M. Hollander (in particular The Prophecy of the Seeress), Bernal Diaz del Castillo “True History of the Conquest of New Spain”.
Required film viewing list: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948, dir. John Huston), Viva Zapata (1952, dir. Elia Kazan), The Battle of Algiers (1966, dir. Gillo Pontecorvo), the Apu trilogy (1955-1959, dir. Satyajit Ray), and, if available, “Where is the Friend’s Home?” (1987, dir. Abbas Kiarostami).
Follow your vision. Form secretive Rogue Cells everywhere. At the same time, be not afraid of solitude.
"…Then, about five years ago, a friend of mine moved here from Kelowna, British Columbia. She said, You know, in Toronto, friendships are all based around talking. What you do with your friends is you go out for coffee or drinks, or you go to their apartment and you talk about stuff. In Kelowna, what you do with your friends is go swimming. It seemed really beautiful to me that in Kelowna your friends might just be these people who liked floating around in the water with you—that the people floating near you are your friends."
— The Chairs Are Where the People Go, Misha Glouberman & Sheila Heti
“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
“The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”
― David Graeber,
The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California). Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground—you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
But you have to believe in your position, or nothing will be driving your work. If you don’t believe in what you are saying, there is no point in your saying it.