Student stuck at Pitt
Posted 31 December 2006 - 01:25 AM
My name's Bhavin and I'm pretty new to these forums. Anyway, I have a pretty weird dilemma and am wondering if anyone has any advice from experience. Main question is - is it too late to start?
I was undecided for my major until sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh - which isn't really huge on its film program. Their courses are more analysis courses, however, they let us take one production course per semester at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
I've taken basic film production courses and have shot only five shorts on DV and 16mm. This upcoming semester, I've finally completed all the prerequisite courses to take a lighting course.
I feel I haven't completed enough production courses/shot enough films to ready myself for a grad school (AFI, NYU). In comparison to students that attend actual film schools, I feel I won't have enough experience or education to show those grad schools I'm serious about pursuing a career in cinematography.
Do you guys have any advice on what I can start doing to ready myself for these schools? As of now I'm contemplating on graduating early this April and finding an actual film school to attend. Is there anything else I can do? I really appreciate any help I can get. Thanks
Posted 31 December 2006 - 02:40 AM
Of all the university courses I've done most of them I've blagged my way into by talking to the course coodinator, once they get a chance to see how passionate you are all the pre-reqs can be signed off...
That being said, it could be said its the same in finding work - maybe its different in the States but an education might help but is certainly no prerequisite here in New Zealand ...
Posted 31 December 2006 - 03:16 PM
However, I already tried talking to my advisor - trying to pick up more than one production course per semester. She wouldn't allow it.
I am more concerned about what I should do after this semester. Does a film school truly prepare you for grad school more than a university that features a film program? Or do the two schools teach enough for grad school? Where do the core techniques of cinematography come from - undergrad or grad?
I'm aware the best way to learn is to go out there and start shooting - and that is what I've picked up since I've learned about Pitt's awful program. But I do need a guide/mentor and other students who are also passionate about film production more than film analysis. Can a film school provide me with this? Or is that the grad school's job?
Posted 31 December 2006 - 05:33 PM
Posted 31 December 2006 - 06:18 PM
I had a somewhat related problem when I was already at film school - we had a great program, but unfortunately who did what was entirely decided by the students, which led to a lot of paranoia, politics, and back-stabbing. Eventually, I got sick of it, so I wound up spending most of my free time hanging around equipment companies and meeting the pros instead. Working in the "real world" helped me focus on what was important - skills, knowledge, set etiquette, personal relationships - and helped lower my stress level by not being as hung up on what happened at school. Also, while everyone else fought over who would get to DP or operate, I just quietly took most of the AC jobs on a LOT of the student films. Having the pro experience made me a better AC, and people appreciated that, which led to more work, including DP gigs.
The important thing to remember is that you do have some control over your experience level. You shouldn't have to rely on any one person, company, or institution - that's the whole point of networking.
Posted 31 December 2006 - 07:55 PM
Have you looked into any of the local film communities or non profits? A quick google search took me to this organization: http://www.pghfilmmakers.org/
They seem to have a good selection of production workshops and courses that perhaps could give you an advantage if you plan on applying for grad school. Not to mention organizations such as this are great for networking and finding work in the area.
Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:12 AM
Thank you everyone for your replies. I'll def try to take as many courses I can at Pittsburgh Filmmakers - but more important, I learned what is most important is to shoot as much as I can and learn from it. This not only means to shoot my own projects, but to try to get on other local projects as well, whether its a professional or a student project.
Thank you very much, you've inspired me to get out there.
Posted 01 January 2007 - 08:18 PM
My opinion is that you should work as a camera trainee (or intern as I think you call it in the US) to see how the pros do it and also earn a bit of money as an AC (eventually) and then shoot as much as possible as a DP on the side.
My point of view with regards to undergrad films schools is most of them are a waste of time - you might as well buy yourself a camera and editing system and do it yourself with the money you would have spent. Working on student films might help but to be frank most student DPs who shoot student films aren't that proficient and copying their techniques might just teach you bad habits as these DPs are still finding their way and don't really know what they are doing.
I used to help out on a load of student films and to be frank most student DPs shoot in the most inefficient manner because they have never seen how the pros do it.
Also read and watch a lot!