Think M. Night Shyamalan should go back to film school? There's a website for that.

When you first heard that M. Night Shyamalan will direct Will and Jaden Smith in a sci-fi flick set 1,000 years in the future, did you react with hoots of joy and calls for more lemon drink? Or did you groan loudly and do a dramatic eye roll, Liz Lemon-style? If you fall into the latter camp, I’ve got good news for you: Today, three friends launched a new fundraising website. Their goal? To collect enough money to send M. Night Shyamalan back to film school.

Chris Baker, the copywriter and author who came up with the idea for the site, tells EW that he was first inspired last summer at a screening of Inception. The movie was preceded by the trailer for a silly horror movie called Devil. When a title card at the end of the spot revealed that the film came “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan,” the theater’s audience burst into raucous laughter. (A similar incident was captured on camera and quickly went viral before being yanked off YouTube.) He sent out a tweet proposing the Shyamalan film school campaign, and his friend Eric Roller — another copywriter — replied that he’d like to help, “but only if we can call it M. Night School.” Baker and Roller then recruited Vanessa Castaneda, their buddy from advertising school, to serve as the nascent project’s art director.

Because each member of the trio has a full-time job, M. Night School was built slowly for several months before it could launch officially. But when the director’s name was in the news again last week, Baker and company went into overdrive to get the site ready for prime time. They launched it this morning and have already raised $211.24, at last count.

So what’s going to happen if the team manages to reach their $150,000 goal? “We want to do a stunt where we present him with a giant check,” Baker explains. “Obviously, the guy’s a multi-millionaire — he’ll refuse it.” If Shyamalan doesn’t accept the money or refuses to show up at such a ceremony, the site’s creators have a backup plan: They plan to hold a festival in New York for aspiring filmmakers hoping to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The winner of the festival will receive the money raised by M. Night School as a scholarship in Shyamalan’s name.

The site’s founders know that their project isn’t exactly kind — when Shyamalan finds out about the site, “I think he’ll probably be a little hurt,” Baker says. Still, he isn’t kept awake at night by concern for the frequently derided director’s feelings: “His movies do make money, for better or for worse, which is kind of the irony of the whole thing.” So if you’ve got an extra Washington burning a hole in your pocket, consider contributing to the cause. Then again, if you’re an unabashed fan of The Happening and its ilk, you might want to start an anti-M. Night School campaign; if Baker and his friends succeed, you might never see another scene like this one again.

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  • sunsetsnow81

    This is too cruel. The Happening should have gotten an Oscar.

    • tracy bluth

      If there was only a special ceremony dedicated to The Happening, The Room, Showgirls….

    • @sunset

      hope your being sarcastic

  • Nope

    He’s a pretty decent director. People take issue with the plots of the movies, not his directing.

    I personally enjoy most of his films.

    • Nathan

      He’s terrible as a writer as well, his dialogue is some of the worst and most wooden ever committed to celluloid. He actually has the ability to make good actors like Paul Giamatti and Adrien Brody appear campy and just plain bad.

  • Chris

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks M. Night crashed and burned after “Sixth Sense.”

    • tracy bluth

      I actually think “Unbreakable” is very underrated. So I’d say he crashed and burned after that.

      • LOL

        Signs is pretty decent.

      • SM

        I think “Unbreakable” should be called “Unwatchable”.

    • commentor

      I really liked Signs. Unbreakable was interesting. The Village was ok, bordering on silly… to me this is where he began to fail.

      • MCS

        The Village really was where things started to crack

      • Krystal

        the village was stolen from the book called running out of time.

  • Peter

    His filming is fine. Very good, even. He needs to go to writing school.

    • Vicky


    • Dave

      Agreed. Or he should just stop writing and direct a movie that someone else wrote.

    • RyanK

      Yep. I’ve said it before. There are some scenes in all of his movies that really show that he knows how to shoot a film, but the writing is so bad that you hardly even notice. Just don’t let him write the scripts and I think we’ll be fine.

  • tracy bluth

    What? No!

  • commentor

    I’d like to see him direct a movie based on a script he didn’t write. Now THERE’S a challenge.

  • fancypants

    M. Night’s direction is fine, but he’s a horrible screenwriter. He needs to direct the work of other screenwriters or become a better screenwriter.

    • JP

      His decline since he peaked with The Sixth Sense has been epic. Bunk ShaymaLamaDingDong in the same room as Uwe Boll and Paul WS Anderson for this supposed school idea. . .

  • Carmen SanDiego

    lady in the water was awful, one of the worst movies i ever saw in the theaters.

    • Junie W.

      I like his films. The sixth Sense is a classic. This seems like junior high school bully mentality.

      • Andrew

        This is not junior high school bully mentality. These are mostly critiques of his work. When your work is out there, you are subject to being critiqued. That’s how the art world revolves, either it be good or bad. In film school, we were constantly critiqued on our work and you learn from it. M. Night Shyamalan is known for not liking to be critiqued by anyone, that’s why his movies are horrible.


    @EW Staff:

    – –

    Is this some sort of lame PR stunt for this so-called copywriter guy’s book?

    – –

    Some mean-spirited people (bullies) simply never cease appalling me; they’ve always found some cheap routes to be hurtful.

  • Jenn

    This is kind of cruel.

    • M Knight

      why is it cruel? His movies since the 6th Sense have been garbage.

  • Professor Chilidog

    I thought The Happening was decent. I still think his worst move was to make the aliens allergic to water at the end of Signs. Great movie up until that tacked on ending. The aliens were on the ground running thru cornfields all over the world. We’re supposed to believe they never encountered a drop of water during all that time on earth? Bah!

    • Andrew

      Thank you!!! My brother and I thought we were the only saying, “C’mon! His weakness is water?? Did that alien not feel sick or something the moment he came into this planet?”
      The only pretty good thing about his movies is the cinematography. That’s it! I went to see Lady in the Water with my girlfriend at the time to prove to her that he sucks as a director and writer. When the movie was over, she gave me a very big, “Yeah, you were right.”

  • Cosi

    I think Uwe Boll needs the school more than M Night does…

    • M Knight

      Uwe Boll and a special ed in that film school for those losers who’ve made some of the worst movies of all time (Friedberg and Seltzer)…actually, they should never give those losers money to make another movie and ban them from distributed their garbage to the theater

  • Matt

    I think most people either don’t like his dialog or the Types of quirky films that he does. I personally have highly enjoyed his films and I think he has a unique style which I love. I love The Village and Signs the most. He’s great at giving you a Eerie feeling when you watch his films.

    • Jalyn

      He doesn’t really give you a eerie feeling, more like a why did I see this movie in the first place feeling. Plus his writing sucks and he’s not that good of a director either.

  • Shamus N.

    Why just M. Night Shyamalah?

    • Jalyn

      I totally agree. There’s more directors who should be considered also.

  • Hank

    Don’t sweat it. These folks are probably among the people who think “Dancing With the Stars” is good television.

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