After Film School Special

There is an important thing that I neglected to mention in my discussion of film schools last week. It has more to do with what happens after you graduate than choosing a school.

See, the thing is, you don’t know anything.

Well, you know a lot, but you also know very little. Film school can only prepare you so much. There are many, many things you won’t understand until you actually experience them.

Paying your dues, for instance. Professors always told me that I’d have to “pay my dues,” but I never quite understood that it meant working a series of terrible, mind-numbing, menial jobs on inconsequential shows, just so I could get promoted to doing horrible, soul-crushing, degrading jobs on good shows.

The anti-film student bias Nathan mentioned last week comes from kids who forget that they don’t know anything. They stroll out of film school, ready to show the world what amazing filmmakers they truly are, then open a door on a hot set, only to find themselves face-to-face with a steadicam at the end of a three minute take.

Yeah, I totally did that.

Because I didn’t know anything.  And neither do you.  So don’t go spouting off to the key grip about Felini and Baudrillard.  Just get him his damn coffee like he asked, and maybe he’ll show you which side the gobo arm goes on the C-stand.  (The right, by the way.)

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6 Responses

  1. On one movie, the Camera Operator got his son on as a P.A. in the camera department. He walked into shots. He drove golf carts through shots. He knocked over a c-stand into a shot…with him, of course, following instantaneously.

    He got into shots more often than the boom.

    (He’s gone on to a very successful career in the Camera Dept.)

  2. The only thing that saved me from complete mortification the time I walked through a take (fortunately between the slate and “action!”) was the knowledge that everyone does it once — it’s like a rite of passage into veteran status.

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