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School vs. PA

Heather writes:

I’m in a dilemma about trying to find the money to go to film school or just getting off my tush, going to New Orleans and applying for a PA job. I was accepted to a film school but I can’t seem to find the money to pay for it. I know that I will have to pay my dues as a PA after I get the certificate anyways but I want to make sure I know my stuff before I get started. I’m 36 and not getting any younger.

If you were 18, I’d say, “Go to film school.” As much as I begrudge my alma mater for being overpriced and pretentious, it was instrumental in teaching me the vocabulary of a film set/office, and giving me those contacts, as you mentioned, which are invaluable. Especially for an eighteen-year-old, it’s important to live that college experience – sitting around, smoking clove cigarettes and discussing Kuleshov, raging against the dying of the light, and debating auteur theory.

But for a thirty-six year old, it’s probably best to just get out there. You don’t want to delay yourself another two or three years.

Ultimately, your greatest learning experience will be in your first three industry jobs.

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