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How much experience and Knowledge do you need to major in film and media production?

I am interested in majoring and film and media production. The only experience I have is filming and editing youtube videos. Other than that I don't know a whole lot. How much experience do I need to major in this and is there something I should be doing to prepare myself for this major? #college #film #media #film-production


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Hank’s Answer

My past film crews and production team have numbered between about 5 and 50 people. And I have no idea who was a college graduate or what the graduates might have majored in.


I taught filmmaking at the college level for five years. You don't have to go to college to become a filmmaker. Every single person cam to me with just one thing - a recommendation from someone who I respected and whose work I both knew and respected.


I know I'm going to take a hit for saying this, but a college degree in a creative field (1) puts you between two and four or more years behind your peers, (2) costs a lot of valuable cash, and (3) provides no information or experience you can't get elsewhere (without spending all that cash).


Go be a runner or a mail room clerk at the place you'd like to work. If a company doesn't have an internship, create your own with them. Offer to work for free so you can learn the biz. Use that cash to stay alive, not sit in a classroom.


MOST IMPORTANT: Make as many valuable contacts in the industry as you possibly can. Think about it... If this business was all about how good stuff was, why are there crappy films and TV shows? It's because it's not about the work, it's about relationships. That doesn't mean your work can be poor, just that "the work" is not the #1 motivator.


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David’s Answer

Judging from the knowledge about filmmaking from the hundreds of recently graduated film school students I have worked with over the last 20ish years, none. Don't get me wrong, film school has it's place but you can not be taught onset skills in a class. On the production end, school is needed. Mr. De Valle can certainly attest to that. (if you haven't yet check out his resume on IMDB)

That stateted, I'm in Mr. Isaac's camp on this one. The bulk of my career (production design/art direction) has been fixing shoots under way. I am a proponent of working in all areas of the production team before choosing a definitive path. The better versed you are in the varying departments the better equipped you will be to work in cross department situations.


Film school will have you work as a PA anyway Why not do that first and get not just a taste but a headstart on your class?


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Bob’s Answer

You don't necessarily need a lot of practical experience to apply for a film major, but check with each university to which you're applying as they all may have different prerequisites. It's great to be making your own videos, as some schools may require some evidence of your visual storytelling skills. That said, you need an overarching passion and love of storytelling, filmmaking and its history. And 'history' doesn't mean going back to 1980. It means understanding and studying films from the very beginning of the 20th century. Learn in advance as much as you can about writing, directing and editing (of course this will also depend upon which specific area you want to focus).


Also understand that (hate to say this) a filmmaking degree doesn't necessarily guarantee a successful filmmaking career. It's very competitive, but that should not deter you. You may also find that, as you go through school, your areas of focus may shift. it is an organic process. Best of luck!


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