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Who Wouldn’t Want to go to Film School?

Yesterday, I told you why going to film school is stupid and pointless. Today, I’ll explain why it can be smart and pointful.

When I graduated from high school, I didn’t know any more about filmmaking than what I’d read in Entertainment Weekly. I knew there had to be a writer, and actors. I knew there was something called a “director,” but I didn’t know what he did, or why his name also appeared under “a film by.”

After one semester, I suddenly knew names like Truffaut, Murch, and Storaro. Of course, you could just add AFI’s top 100 movies to your Netflix queue. Between the commentary tracks and making-of videos, you’d get a pretty good introduction to film. You might want to read up on your David Bordwell, while you’re at it.

There is one thing you get in film school that you can’t get in your living room– other film students.

A university can be a safety net. Like Sarah, I come from a relatively minor upper-midwest metro area. I didn’t know anybody who wanted to make movies.

Then I moved to the second largest city in the country. Film school was a safe transition, where I was surrounded by other people of my age and temperament.

And there’s the institutional connections you get from a good film school. Internships are a great way to meet people, not to mention getting some real world experience. Plus, internships can have a magical habit of turning into real jobs. You can’t get an internship without earning college credit.

Learning the ropes, making connections, and getting your first gig are all possible without film school, but film school can make it easier.

But not all film schools are the same. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about some of the differences.

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7 Responses

  1. You are totally right! Going to film school is not a easy decision but it can really pay off if you are serious about making movies and film professionally. Take a look at our blog on going to film school for some advice.

  2. I mentioned this in the other thread about School but a big selling point of going is that at a film school you’re allowed to make movies many times over and there’s no penalty for failure. If your film mucked up this semester, just fix the one next semester. In the real world, we lose friends, alibis, investors, and lots of money due to simple creative mistakes easily solved by a bit more experience. Unfortunately, unless you’re one of those born-with-a-camera-out-of-the-womb people who were home-video geniuses at eleven years old that I’m so jealous of, it will take you a lot longer to find your artistic/creative force by trial and error in the real world than in the petri dish of a film school.

  3. Film school is too expensive and you meet too many hipster douche-bags who try to act as if they know everything about film when they don’t. I should know, I wasted a few months of my life going to one in London.

  4. I majored in Journalism in college but I am now working in a post-production house in Burbank. Almost any college graduate, I’d imagine, would have very few problems trying to get a spot in “the biz” if they came into their job with the right motivations and knowledge of the field.

    Film school won’t make you a better filmmaker necessarily, but it will give you the right background for the industry and the connections you’ll make with students and alumni will become invaluable.

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