Should I go to film school?

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Should I go to film school?

Postby iiTzDaryl on 04/16/2011, 1:17 am

So I'm a 17 year old high school student and I want to be a filmmaker. Specifically a film editor or visual effects artist, or both. I have been making videos, short films, and motion graphics for about 4 years and I really enjoy it. I've learned a lot from the internet and especially from this site. I want to go into the film industry but I'm not sure if it's worth going to film school because what if most of the things they teach me are things I already know. I don't want to waste thousands of dollars. What should I do? Is it worth going to film school, and is it a good career?
Last edited by iiTzDaryl on 12/3/2011, 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Rob Neal on 04/16/2011, 2:50 am

There are already lot's of posts on here on this subject, do a search.
Some say you learn a trade, and get involved with others and get the "college experience".

I and others say it is a waste of time and money when there are far too many people wanting to do this than there are jobs. Make a decent showreel, pester companies. Pester them so they know your name, pester them until they avoid you, then pester them some more until they either give you an interview or tell you to, in no uncertain terms 'F off'. You have to be persistent.

Hang out with indie film makers, gain experience, watch and learn. Keep practicing, keep improving, use ORIGINAL work, new ideas, clever use of technique etc. Nobody wants to see a showreel of light sabres and VC tutorials.

And stay confident.
Good luck.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 04/18/2011, 6:32 am

Rob Neal wrote:Nobody wants to see a showreel of light sabres and VC tutorials.

+1
I thoroughly enjoyed my university experience. Not only did it give me experience working with some equipment and in certain situations I otherwise wouldn't have, it also gave me chances to work in various teams on a lot of various projects. Experience is key and I got quite a bit at university.
Another benefit is that you have a college degree. Now, ordinarily I would have said it doesn't matter, but that was until I applied for my current job. They require a college degree to work here. Thankfully, I had one.
I'm with Rob in that I don't think it's necessary. If your work is solid, who cares how you learned it? But apparently, some people do care.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Rob Neal on 04/18/2011, 6:51 am

Michael_Szalapski wrote:If your work is solid, who cares how you learned it? But apparently, some people do care.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would accept me.
If they demanded I had a degree even after seeing what I can do, they are far too up their own backsides for me to want to work with people like that.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby grinner on 04/18/2011, 6:57 am

In the 15 years I spent salary climbing, never did a degree come up in an interview. Nor has it my last ten yeras of doing the hiring for my company. It's about the work they can do, not how they spent their first few years out of high school.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 04/18/2011, 7:33 am

Rob Neal wrote:If they demanded I had a degree even after seeing what I can do, they are far too up their own backsides for me to want to work with people like that.

Haha. If only you knew how right you were.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby grinner on 05/10/2011, 4:44 pm

bottom line... if you wanna be a filmmaker, make some films. You can go to school if your mom and dad can afford to pay for partying for a few years. That was my case. I enjoyed it. Did it aid my career in the least? well, of course not but I got laid alot and yelled woohoo every weekend. It rocked. So if looking for a good time, college is a great place. If wanting to embark on a career in video, you should just get to work. Getting behind in line of those who opted out of college will most likely just make ya bitter.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Faust on 05/10/2011, 6:30 pm

Rob Neal wrote:Some say you learn a trade, and get involved with others and get the "college experience".

I and others say it is a waste of time and money when there are far too many people wanting to do this than there are jobs.


That's true, however if you go to film school you will have more connections and therefore more job opportunities. Additionally, people will take you more seriously if they hear you have gone to films school. Either way, you shouldn't get just a standard degree in just film. Get something specific, so people will know that you have extensive knowledge on that subject. But then again, it's not completely necessary. Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater and Spike Jonze all never went to film school.

grinner wrote:bottom line... if you wanna be a filmmaker, make some films.


Hear, hear!
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby NikanA on 05/10/2011, 7:03 pm

If you want to go to college learn Marketing or something along those lines. You'll get a more useful degree and it'll help you if you decide to work in advertising or such.
Learn VFX and film by picking up a good book or finding an indy film making group.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby iiTzDaryl on 09/21/2011, 8:57 pm

What kind of things should I look for when choosing a school? Particularly film school.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby grinner on 09/26/2011, 1:17 pm

Chicks... local hang outs... and a local weed man.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 09/27/2011, 6:16 am

iiTzDaryl wrote:What kind of things should I look for when choosing a school? Particularly film school.

grinner wrote:Chicks... local hang outs... and a local weed man.

Or hot guys... local hang outs... and a local farmer's market - depending on your preferences. :P

I'd say look for a place that gives you lots of practical, hands-on experience as well as networking opportunities.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby chrisfig on 09/29/2011, 8:09 am

I'm in the "there's a lot to be learned in the college experience" crowd but in the end it really is all about your portfolio/reel.

That being said, no matter what you do read this.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Bolg3r on 09/30/2011, 11:12 pm

i am gonna be going to film university in my country....


mainly for the experience and lots of things that you probably wont learn looking on the internet...

also because in the last year they give you a work on some of the TV or Cinema channels or directors related to the university so that while you work on your final test you start to work for some people that is already settled on this. If you do a good job they probably gonna hire you after you graduate.

Here on my country the degree is really important... after that or while doing it, you can do lots of courses or go to lessons or work with some indie film makers...

i think the university is really helpful... but maybe it depends on the country.. here we doesn't have soooo many film makers.. more people are related to TV than Cinema.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby grinner on 10/2/2011, 10:50 am

You'll only need the Nexium if you skimp on the weed man.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Timber_Wolf_2 on 10/19/2011, 7:55 am

A professional 3D modeler once told me that certification in a given software is more valuable to an employer than a degree. You may want to look into that.

I graduated college with a bachelor's in Broadcasting. It's a very versatile degree that ranges from TV/radio announcing to audio production, video production, and visual effects. I focused more on the video. I have often considered getting a masters and am still undecided, but most of the jobs I looked into didn't want a degree. Not even a bachelor's degree. They wanted some years of practical experience, and they wanted flexibility.

That being said, I started my degree as an absolute newbie. I learned SO MUCH at college, and not just about video... but about life. About me. About everything!!

I strongly recommend a "liberal arts" college (one that teaches more than just a trade) with a major in your area, probably cinema or film or media production.

Not only will it make you a more well-rounded individual, but you would be AMAZED at how many people from other majors could use help with video work. College can afford you an opportunity to break into the freelance realm and gain yourself some real-world experience. At my college, my vocal passion for media caused me to become the go-to guy for small video projects and major audio production projects. I earned such a reputation as a media guru that the college's HR department knew about me. Now I work for my alma mater in their video department creating their next admissions video!

I am a supporter of the degree, but not for the degree's sake. It's the experience. It's the value of years of college that the workplace just simply can't provide.

Hope this helps, and I wish you all the best!

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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Rob Neal on 10/22/2011, 3:54 am

Michael_Szalapski wrote:Or hot guys... local hang outs... and a local farmer's market - depending on your preferences. :P

Why do you think I moved? ;)
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby rajni on 10/29/2011, 9:41 pm

If you think you know very well what they teach you and you have the confidence then no need to go school. Keep practicing and try your level best. Wish you best of luck.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby jax_rox on 11/6/2011, 8:10 pm

Speaking as someone who has only just finished film school, and was in the exact same boat you are right now out of high school.

I came out of high school having been editing on FCP for years, dabbling a little in Avid and getting paid to shoot corporates and the like already. I was ready for the industry and didn't want to go to some film school that only served the purpose of getting me a piece of paper you don't need anyway. Plus, I knew everything they were probably ever going to teach me anyway.

It was a 3 year degree. I finished my first year thinking why the hell did I even make the effort to do this couurse? But, I had made a whole lot of great friends and I didn't want to just up and leave that crew so I stayed. And I'm glad I did. Second year was great, and second year was the year I actually started learning. I thought I knew everything there was to know - I've frequented industry forums for years and figured that's all the info I'd need. But, there's so much I learnt. Plus, opportunities I got just because the school afforded them to me. I got to mingle and make great friends who will now become industry partners through it. I got to try a couple of things I was really interested in before realising exactly what it was I wanted to do/be. I made a great connection with a Director who now gets me to shoot everything he ever directs, I got to shoot on film, broadcast digital and high end Red and Alexa. I got to talk to people about films, making films and they'd engage in the conversations with me rather than getting bored with it like my hiogh school friends.

But the most important thing was, I got to make a whole lot of films. I was able to crew on 50-100 different sets during my time and learnt invaluable knowledge and experience from those, as well as making contacts with people who are either currently working in the industry or are about to be. And I got to make mistakes. We wanted our films to look amazing and some of them did. But, some of them didn't. We were able to accidentally flash a mag of film, lose every single bit of interview footage that we'd shot for a doco, overexpose and underexpose entire assignments by one-two stops. We were able to work with and make connections with actors. And we could do this in a setting where we were allowed to make the mistakes. It didn't matter, at the end of the day we were learning and now those mistakes will never be made on the sets we are getting paid to be on. That's why I'm an advocate of film school - you'll get onto sets where you can learn a whole lot, make a whole lot of connections, and you can make mistakes in an environment where mistakes are encouraged. Where you won't be up for a paycut or a half price discount for the client if you make those mistakes
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Timber_Wolf_2 on 11/9/2011, 9:55 am

jax, you rox. Your testimony alone would be enough to convince me. That being said, and my own positive views of further education notwithstanding, film school is not for everyone. For example, I would LOVE to go to film school. But I can't afford it. I also have a steady well-paying job that is at least in the right industry, if not my dream job. I also have a girl here. So film school (for the time being) is not for me.

Ultimately, as far as film school goes, I say, if you can do film school, then for Pete's sake, DO IT!!!
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Kevin Monahan on 12/1/2011, 12:05 pm

I worked at Pixar on two films as an AE pre-viz artist. Yeah, they wanted to see my reel but they also wanted to see a college degree on my resume. The sheepskin never hurts and always helps.

If you don't have time, go to a good trade school, learn something specific and become awesome at it. I know 2 Academy of Art students getting work (and making bank) as Houdini artists in a big post house in town.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby iiTzDaryl on 12/2/2011, 2:12 am

Is it a good career? Will I be successful in the long run?
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby Bolg3r on 12/2/2011, 4:35 pm

iiTzDaryl wrote:Is it a good career? Will I be successful in the long run?



that depends on you and you alone... you haev to make it happen nobody else
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby austria migs on 12/8/2011, 11:21 am

Many happens to be successful base on experienced alone. They had many trial and error, yet in the end they still manage to make things worked out. But still, i believe that going to a fine school and learning all the technicalities is something you can get it of you will go to an academy of your interest. From there you can get a lot of ideas and strategies that can be given to you until u become very well informed of this and that. So, i would suggest you go to school where you can enhance your talent more.
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Re: Should I go to film school?

Postby queerine on 12/29/2011, 3:07 pm

It's been a year since you posted this question. I am curious. Are you in a film school now?
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