4 answers

How important is attending film school in boosting one's chance of breaking into the film/television industry? I've heard debates on both sides but am still undecided as to whether it is a good investment.

7
100% of 5 Pros
100% of 1 Students
Updated Viewed 891 times Translate

I have been accepted into a prestigious film school that will require me and my parents to take on loans in order to meet the half of the tuition/board. Would it be better to major in a more lucrative area and try to do film on the side? I already have had experience in screenwriting, filmmaking, directing, producing, and entrepreneurship. My portfolio film won awards and is being screened at 7 film festivals. I am a networker and go-getter. I feel I would take advantage of all there is to offer at film school and am so motivating to learn more. However, some people have advised that I skip it and put the money into developing my craft and movies, and perhaps getting a different degree. #film #television #undecided

7
100% of 5 Pros
100% of 1 Students

4 answers

Hank’s Answer

2
100% of 1 Pros
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate

The only debate that's potentially hotter than this one is the one revolving around the current U.S. presidential election.


Maybe a comparison might work: If you were in a commercial jet on your way to, say, Australia, and things started to go bad, who would you rather have flying your plane? The guy who flew combat missions in a serious war, was shot at, brought back a crippled bomber and saved his crew... or the guy who learned to fly in a simulator?


'Twer me, I'd spend my money (1) making essential industry contacts, (2) using the cash to survive while I worked on serious (not my friend's thousand-dollar indie feature) productions - for free if necessary, and (3) pressing my contacts for mentorships, internships, shadowing... whatever I could do to learn both the craft and the biz.


As a side note, if a film school is "prestigious," why is it so? Is it because one or two really famous people went there? Okay, so what about the tens of thousands who went there who no one has ever heard of?


Make the world your classroom. Become knowledgeable in a wide range of topics (it makes you more interesting). Why is that important? Because the folks who will want to work with you and pay you for the privilege want to be glad they made that choice.

Thank you, Hank, for you thoughtful response. There is much to think about here. I did decide to attend film school because it is within a large university where I can pursue my other interests as well, meet students and professionals from all over the world, experience college life, and gain skills and connections. My short film is doing well in several festivals. I think it comes down to drive, hard work, networking, and as you say, pursuing interests and living life. Audrey L. Translate
2
100% of 1 Pros
100% of 1 Students

Mark’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate

Hi Audrey,
You've already filmed your portfolio film. Fantastic! I agree with the advice to skip the film school, and start producing and directing more. What you might consider would be what's your favorite genre that you perceive has an audience in the future. If you're interested in exciting girls and women, just ask what was the last movie they saw. Do they remember? Years ago? Or was it animation from Pixar? So they buy popcorn and sodas at 7-11 on Friday night to watch Netflix or HBO. Okay, I've heard my friends and family members yearn for movies which show that tender-loving care, adventure, hard work and safe tips will help them to solve their daily conflicts, especially when they deal with violent moments. They want to see respect at The End.

Thank you, Mark! I'm definitely drawn toward the chaos and quirkiness of families, as well as portraying dynamic female characters. Audrey L. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

James’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate

This is a difficult question to answer because there are people in the film industry that feel strongly on both sides of this issue. I want to be careful in answering so as not to make any enemies. On the other hand I think someone needs to give some sound advice to this often asked question. So, here goes. There was a time where film school was a must, today however many things have changed. I believe that schooling is important for a film or TV career, but what schooling is the real question. Get your feet wet working in the industry. There are a lot of smaller independent productions you can get involved in. This will help you find the area of production that interests you or that you are best suited for. Then you can decide what education would be best for the specific film career you are interested in. Graphic artist, art directors, writers, storage technicians, there are many areas of modern production, just watch the credits. Choose the education that will help you advance your ideal production job.


James Hout

Thank you, James, for your thoughtful answer. Audrey L. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students

Nicholas’s Answer

1
100% of 1 Students
Updated Translate

Take the money you were going to spend on school and make the best movie you can. This path gives you a movie. Take the other and you end up with a piece of paper.

Thank you for your suggestions. I have heard this one and it is tempting. I have made short films that are doing well in film festivals. In the end, I decided to attend university. I hope to take advantage of every opportunity to learn my craft and make professional connections. Audrey L. Translate
1
100% of 1 Students