Jaelin writes in:
What is your opinion of the PhD in regards to Film, Cinema, Production, and the like? I know I do not need one for my personal career aspirations but I have always wanted one because one of my family members I look up to since childhood has one but I am frightened that having a PhD and trying to enter the Entertainment Industry might actually hurt me rather than be conducive. Am I just being ridiculous?
You’re not being ridiculous for considering all avenues that might lead to your dream.
A PhD will certainly not help you land a job, you’re right. If film school doesn’t matter, a post-graduate degree will matter even less.
But will it hurt? Possibly. There is certainly an anti-film school bias among certain members of the crew. With good reason, by the way. Many film students enter the workforce assuming they know everything. They’re pompous, pretentious, and utterly unaware of their own incompetence.
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is the greatest illustration of banal, post-modern ennui ever committed to film. Everyone else is just following Buñuel’s footsteps.”
“Yes, that’s true, but where’s my coffee?”
“I spilled it down the front of my pants.”1
While you, dear reader, may not be That Guy, a lot of Those Guys exist. As a PA, many people aren’t even going to learn your name, much less anything about your personality. Tell them you’re a film school graduate, and they’ll immediately put you in the same box as those other morons.
The usual caveat applies: there are plenty of reasons to go to film school; you really have to decide for yourself if they’re worth the cost for you. But those benefits do not include instant job security.
In short, don’t put “Jaelin Lastname, PhD” on your resume’s header. It won’t help, and it can hurt.
* * *
Here’s a clever Kickstarter video:
I don’t know these guys, and they didn’t contact me about promoting their campaign. I just stumbled across their self-promotion on Reddit, and enjoyed it.
For that reason alone, I think they deserve your support far more than some people I could name.