In Defense of Film School

A Fan commented on yesterday’s post about PA Bootcamp [sic]:

I’ve heard this applied to film school in general. You can either pay to learn how to make movies, or get paid to learn how to make movies. It just depends on what you’re more comfortable with.

A not uncommon view of film school, but I’d like to draw a distinction between PAB and USC.

The thing is, being a PA is a straightforward, well-defined job.  It doesn’t take that long to learn what that job is.

That’s not what film school is for.  Film school is meant to teach you about the entirety of film, writing to editing, cinematography to sound, acting to producing.  It’s also about history and theory: Battleship Potempkin and the Kuleshov Effect.

Sure, you probably could figure out the Kuleshov Effect, and other things of that sort, on your own, even if you didn’t know the name.  But film school takes a hundred and twenty years of film theory and condenses it into a four year program of study.  Rather than reinventing the wheel every generation, film school allows us to learn from the masters, and improve on them.

It’s the difference between Martin Scorsese and Robert Rodriguez.

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8 Responses

  1. Hi, I’m a freshman in high school, and I have a passion for filmmaking. I’ve been reading your blog for about a month,and I have a couple questions. Should ior should I not go to film school?My uncle is an AD and my cousin is a PA,so I don’t think finding a job would be that hard for me in the future. Also, my goal is to become a director or writer someday,so what steps should I take to get there?should I take a video class in high school or not?should I take a journalism class?I know its a lot of questions,but i’d really appreciate your feedback.Thanks.

  2. I meant it more as a joke than anything else. I have a friend who graduated with him in at UT in 08. He did like correspondence courses or something. He was the speaker at his own graduation. The tool had a tassel attached to his cowboy hat.

  3. I don’t quite get what you’re saying. He’s been very vocal about how unnecessary film school is, and El Mariachi came out in 1992. Did he get some sort of honorary award?

    I googled “Robert Rodriguez Film School,” and you can guess what kind of hits I got.

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