film-school Do I need film school?

I’m a college student, I’ve always had a love for film but the idea was suppressed by my African parents. So I’m in the middle of college and I’m realizing that i want to pursue film, but idk the next step. Do I go to film school? Do I learn on my own?!? I NEED HELP
 
Then you should finish your degree IMO.
That's a free ride and you're already half way there!

You can learn film on your own.
Many many people get college degrees in one thing and then a job in something totally different.

A college degree is ... like.. a checkbox on a government form. It satisfies bureaucracy.
Yeah finishing college was definitely in the plan. And thank you
 
This is a question I've heard over and over and over again throughout my own career and at least to me? It comes down to this...

I've actually met people who cannot learn any other way than by going to college. Don't ask me why they are wired that way... I have no idea but the truth of the matter is that SOME PEOPLE ARE.

On the other hand? Some people are not... In my humble experience, most indie filmmakers I've met are NOT wired that way. They want it so bad that they forge out on their own and learn by DOING. That's often why you'll see people come to indietalk.

So it really depends on HOW YOU ARE WIRED.

Just know however... Going to college and getting a degree in film or screenwriting or whatever is never going to guarantee a career or job in this industry. That part is going to be UP TO YOU and your perseverance.
 

onebaldman

Pro Member
indiePRO
IOTM Winner
In my eyes, the only thing film school is really giving that is guaranteed is a chance to meet extremely passionate artists and getting to work together in a group setting on projects.

That's about it. This is one of those few industries that seemingly care very little about your diploma. All they care about is whether you will show up on time, have some talent or vision, and are good interacting with people of all types.
 
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I’m a college student, I’ve always had a love for film but the idea was suppressed by my African parents. So I’m in the middle of college and I’m realizing that i want to pursue film, but idk the next step. Do I go to film school? Do I learn on my own?!? I NEED HELP
I had dreams of going to film school most of my life but thenone night my friend introduced me to someone who wanted to be a filmmaker as well now like eight years later we are best friends and filmmaking partners. It doesn't always happen like that. I was extremely lucky but I guess the whole point of it is film school is a great way to meet like-minded people and connections but you can learn to make a movie for free. I would try to find people in your community who have the same passion and try to schedule some short films to be made.
 
Also depends on what type of filmmaker you want to be. Some film schools train you to be a industry standard filmmaker/technician. They teach you how to work within a studio setting. Plus some have direct connections with industry (with studios, production houses, internships). That's important if you want a studio career (as sound mixer, DP, editor, post supervisor etc...).

Also schools give you connections with industry through the teachers, alumni, and even your co-students. These connections can (if the school is good) carry your career for the rest of your life. You'll get more work through your connections than through your resume during your entire career.

Other schools will take your money, give you a good basic training, and then leave you at the door when you've graduated. That's fine if you're a self-motivated person and realize that going in. But you have to be a very motivated person. Otherwise you may feel, well what now? afterwards. And then struggle to get any industry work after.

What I always say too anyone who wants to be a filmmaker is, "what's your day job?" If you can get a good paying day job (preferably in the industry) then that'll give you both the money and freedom to make your movies. Even then you have to be motivated to work on your film after a hard days work on someone else's. Remember, if you want to make personal, director-driven feature films, you won't make any (or very much) money from them (I'm generalizing here, but that's often the case, 99.9999999999999% of the time). You get the idea.

On the other hand if you want to direct commercials, industrials, episodic TV, or other people's work then find a school with industry connections. Even if you don't necessarily want to do any of those, still find a school with industry connections. Some of the best filmmakers I know, in fact all the best filmmakers I know, have day jobs in the industry - working for studios and production houses as motion graphic designers, editors, DPs, animators etc.

It's not impossible to be a filmmaker without going to film school at all. It's just harder. A lot harder. For one reason. Film school gives you connections. You'll network with other students and be able to find people you'll work with for possibly the rest of your life. It's easier to find potential Producers to work with (on your magnum opus) at film school that trains Producers than outside in the world. Same goes with putting a crew together.

But if you have the drive and are incredibly motivated you could spend your money on making a feature film and getting a crew together without going to film school. But finding/making the right feature and making it look as good as it should be is another story. This approach has as many pitfalls as anything else. I've seen too many feature films that could have been so much better if the makers had taken some advice before (and for example, shot with a different camera/lens, cast better, picked a different genre etc).

Personally, if I could afford it, I would go to a film school. But I'd make sure it was one that could get me (or help me get) an industry job when I left. Talk with the school on their success rates of finding students work in the industry. Speak with alumni. See what guild, association and union connections the school has. Basically do you due diligence.

But having a day job is what every filmmaker needs. It's gives you the freedom to take your time preparing to make a film, then time to make the film and the freedom to not have a heart attack when you finally realize you won't make a penny once it's released. Sure, your film can make money, I see that with films I distribute. But it's never as much as you'd hope for. Once you have a job, then you can make a film.

Hope that helps.
 
I've actually met people who cannot learn any other way than by going to college. Don't ask me why they are wired that way... I have no idea but the truth of the matter is that SOME PEOPLE ARE.

On the other hand? Some people are not... In my humble experience, most indie filmmakers I've met are NOT wired that way. They want it so bad that they forge out on their own and learn by DOING. That's often why you'll see people come to indietalk
I will agree with these statements.

For some it's a mix of the two. Get out there and just do it. Learn what you need to learn. Then maybe you'll want to take some formal classes. For me this seems to work the best. Instead of years working on a degree I learn by doing. When I find something that needs improvement or just additional clarity I'll attend a seminar or take an individual course. As an example, I took a seminar on being a VO performer, not because I wanted to be a VO artist (although I wouldn't mind) but to understand the mind-set and the processes. I even booked a session to do a VO demo. I've taken acting classes/workshops not because I want to act (I would never make ANYONE suffer like that!) but I want to get a feel for things from that perspective. I was very fortunate that I got some email mentoring from Randy Thom (before he became so in demand; he now runs Skywalker Sound), one of the fathers of modern sound design. There are several forums where notable sound-for-picture folks answer questions for the rest of us post audio types.

So what you really need to do is Know Thyself. Only you know what you need. Do you want to go to film school because that's how you learn best, or do you want to go for the status (or other similar reasons?) of having it on your resume.

You're in the right place. There are experienced professionals here on IndieTalk who are very generous with their time and advice. Take advantage of this resource.

Peace & good luck!

Uncle Bob
 
Yea....there is the question can you afford it. Studying Film school in America will cost you $88,608,- if yo go to University of Southern California. In Belgium it will cost you $3842,-. if you do 4 years.
 
I’m a college student, I’ve always had a love for film but the idea was suppressed by my African parents. So I’m in the middle of college and I’m realizing that i want to pursue film, but idk the next step. Do I go to film school? Do I learn on my own?!? I NEED HELP
The merits of going to a film school is an ongoing debate in the film and video community. As someone who has undergone professional training in Filmmaking through online filmmaking program from Asia's Top Film school, I would love to shed some light on how professional training could help one learn from film school, and how to apply the lessons to your career in film and video.

Learning through the structured programs , has helped me greatly in the conceptual understanding by applying the grammar, tools and techniques of film craft. This was something I couldn’t usually learn from YouTube and the likes.

It has given me a comprehensive knowledge of the art of storytelling from script to screen by deep diving into the various facets of filmmaking right from Screenwriting, Cinematography, Direction, Editing, Producing and Sound Design.

I would urge all the filmmaking enthusiasts, do give it a try rather than getting tangled in the debate of “Filmschool vs No Filmschool”, as online programs will give you the flexibility of learning at your own pace, and most importantly it comes at a fraction of the cost of physical Film schools.
 
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jax_rox

Staff Member
Moderator
Here’s the thing. Yes you can forge a career without film school. The ease with which you can do that really depends on you, the market you’re in, how well you network etc.

Going to film school allowed me to have a career in film - and I’m not someone who necessarily thrives in a University/college environment. I have carved my entire career through the networks I made at film school, and I am confident I would not have the career I do had I not gone to film school.

The best thing about a good film school is you learn a lot about how films are made, you learn what you want to do and how to do it and you do it all in a safe environment where it doesn’t matter so much if you screw it up.

I came out of film school with a heap of experience and a greater network. I went back (to a different school) and completed a post-graduate course; doing that landed me a number of gigs I otherwise would have been unlikely to get purely due to the contacts I made there.

No-one cares if you’ve been to film school, and yes you can carve out a career without it - but if you have the means and ability to attend, I highly recommend it (though I didn’t have to take out a $250k student loan to do so)
 
There's a lot of good advice here. The only thing I would add is that there is a middle ground and that is to enroll in single workshops/courses related to the role you want to pursue (director? producer? writer? actor?). If you're not sure, then film school might be a great way to learn about the different roles and departments. Another way would be to volunteer on some student films to see how a set works and get a sense of where you gravitate. If you know what it is you want to do, then take a course here or there (where your school schedule permits) and see how you like it.

It's been said on a number of different threads here: filmmaking is a hard, hard profession. For most people, it is a few moments of heroin high separated by months or years of hustle, rejection and grinding work. The filmmaking profession is highly competitive and therefore difficult to make a living in. That said, if this is something you really want to do... there will be no stopping you.
 
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The big benefit of college is connections. As I've said before, all my work connections came from those I initially had at college. After college they were all through work connections. I've hardly ever gotten a gig through a resume/CV or even (believe it or not) a showreel.

Ask anyone who's a busy professional for his showreel and they show you one that's 10 years old.
 
The big benefit of college is connections. As I've said before, all my work connections came from those I initially had at college. After college they were all through work connections. I've hardly ever gotten a gig through a resume/CV or even (believe it or not) a showreel.

Ask anyone who's a busy professional for his showreel and they show you one that's 10 years old.
Not after this Corona period....
 
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