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Does getting a degree in Photography branch out into usable skills like videography?

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I am wondering what my options are with a one-dimensional degree to branch out into other fields like mass communications or the movie industry. #film #television #videography #movie-production #personal-development #career-details

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James’s Answer

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Speaking for myself I would agree that photography knowledge is a plus. I have an extensive background in photography and the skills I learned are often applied to my film and television career. Framing, exposure, color balance, just to name a few, can be applied to videography. Knowledge is a good thing!


James Hout

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John C.’s Answer

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A photography degree is almost as useless as a theater degree. Don't waste your time or money doing a degree in either. A technical two year degree in media production followed by real world experience as a studio worker is the only way to get into the film industry. In fact most who go to film school dropout to go work on films and never go back. In most cases those who do are proud of that fact.


Let me explain this even better. If you get a four year degree in film, sans some very rare very expensive programs such as USC Annenberg, you'll have a useless degree because what you were trained to do is no longer how a movie is made. Catch that? Four years of school means, just like a written book, the information learned is moot by the time you hit the market.


Also, the only jobs being hired in film, TV, music etc.. are law degrees, finance degrees, accounting and to a lesser degree technology project management. So you're way ahead of the game going to a two year program like an Art Institutes program where you'll actually work on something being produced in the real business.


Now here is where almost every AI (technical) type student messes up. They don't climb their way to the top of their class during their program. They also don't produce anything meritorious during that time that anyone would care to call 'good'.


When I completed my AS in Media Production and Audiovisual Engineering I had already produced over 100 hours of on-air programming with local news and public access and wore every hat in the process. This was all over and above my course work requirements. I also did a fair bit of self study and helped theater departments at local schools get their technical game in order. I became a local guru of sorts because I actually learned and did everything I could.


So my first job out of that two year program was camera guy for a division of ESPN, which in the first month turned into technical director and pregame show producer. I showed everyone I had a solid reel and knew what I was doing and as soon as the opportunity came, I asked for it!


Soon I was doing preshow operations, training new crew members and then going into the booth and doing my job. Sounds like lots of work right...yes, it was and it's honestly the bare minimum required if you really want to get into the media business. Work. Learn. Work. Learn. Volunteer to do the extra hard thing. Ask for new tasks and opportunities. Work. Learn. This is the only path into the business that will get you there. Unless of course you're a trust fund kid and your dad can pay your way into the most sourced film school for new top talent. Even then only the top 5 or so get a real shot at an industry job because they know someone. It's all about who you know and who you can network with and get to return your call. Example: I dine and party with Grammy winners and have one off relationships to people like Johnny Depp, but even I can't call him directly and I've been on both sides of the camera in indie feature films many people have watched. Same for popular TV shows.


So all that said, you have to want that media career REALLY BAD, just to get a shot at being a worker bee. So go look for internships right now and see what it is in the industry you actually want to do for a long time. Openings are rare, few and far between. I have a buddy who has been a camera operator in feature film for about 25 years and his goal was to be a director of photography...never going to happen! He doesn't know enough people of clout to get that position and is terrible at networking and industry politics. He's awesome as a camera-op too, which means no one wants to see him leave that role because his shots are amazing. He's done the Wahlburgers show, American Idol, films like Deadpool etc...
He does direct indie films and produces other media, but most of that doesn't pay much.


So my thing is this...either settle into a technical discipline which can't be sent to china since that's where most animation and special effects jobs go. Get a job doing the physical sets and technicals and you'll see the world. Or go to school for finance, accounting, HR, law or some other very professional level role and forget about being a filmmaker. Office people and production people almost never cohabitate unless they're busy yelling at each other over some terrible misfortune like a hurricane blowing away the entire set etc...


Yes, you can intern with those professionals in the industry too. Buddy up to a lawyer in the business, a finance person, a tech project manager et al. I've seen those interns eventually end up running the show, but only if they become a person of tremendous value and work very hard...almost like magicians.


No matter what track you pick, I wish you amazing luck, resilience and success. Just keep reminding yourself, it's all make believe and failures aren't as bad as people make them out to be. I've seen people do the dumbest things and yet be forgiven and handed second chances because they had a great first impression and work ethic. Own your mistakes, give credit where it is due and never stop trying to do something amazing!


So much more for you to learn....Ugh, impossible to teach it all on a forum like this.

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