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Should I go back to school


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#1 Nate Downes

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 11:33 PM

I went to the marist College film program (which is a misnomer IMHO) over 10 years ago, left after a year of fustration and dead ends, thankfully with no debts to show for it having used only grants and saved funds, and set out on my own. Now, sitting where I am, I often times wonder "what if" and contemplate focusing on an actual degree. In all honesty, is there much of a point in film-school when one is in their 30's? Alternatively, was contemplating a teachers certificate. Sitting here at a crossroads in my life, and wondering which path to take.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 02:25 AM

If it was an expirence of frustraition and dead ends then, why would it be any defferent now? Are you not working in the industry now and you're 30, is that the pavement you've layed down for your crossroad, I'm 30 and I can't be a dreamer all my life so if I teach, I'll have a stable job and be a responcible adult? If this is the problem, I'd just re-double my efforts to get work in the biz. If you want to teach film, you'll probably need a masters which is what 5 years with the single year you put in, how much could you do if you layed out a 5 year plan for yourself to get work in ther movie industry and stuck with it? If you're a true filmmaker, then teaching is probably not going to be artistically fulfilling to you. 30 isn't that old, dude, you got a LOT of time ahead of you to make things happen, BUT only you know what's right for you and if teaching is where you want to be, then go back to school and get your credentials, if not, head to where the work is and start getting a rep as a hard worker so you can make a living at what you want to do, I mean why spend your life making someone elses dream come true? B)
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 07:03 PM

I guess the question is, what do you hope to get out of film school? Contacts? Specific technical knowledge? An education in film theory/history? Something else?

I'm 27 and am finally getting my BA degree, so I have an inkling of where you are coming from. I decided to go to film school (San Francisco State University) and get my degree several years ago. This is after a few years of film classes at a community college, and before that, teaching myself to shoot Super 8, 35mm stills, DV on my own, reading and studying on my own, etc. The community college classes gave me most of the skills I needed to shoot 16mm film, get AC jobs, and crew, as well as make some valuable contacts whom I still work with. At this point, my goal was to AC professionally and DP shorts on the side, building my reel until I could DP full time. That's still my goal.

So my reason for going to film school was mostly to use the soundstage at SFSU, DP shorts, make more contacts, etc. Incidentally, I also had to take a lot of film theory and history classes, which was good for me and not something I would have done on my own. I've made a few promising contacts and shot some shorts, but if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have skipped film school because now I'm right back where I started two years ago in terms of getting AC work. I would say that you can learn everything production-based far quicker by crewing. Of course, if you get into one of the top end masters programs like AFI, then it's a different story.

On the other hand, most of my classmates in community college were in their 30s or older, and I felt that was a much more professional learning environment than SFSU, where I was surrounded by many 20 year old "auteurs" who will never work in the film industry. If you just want to make some contacts and get some formal instruction on cameras, lighting, set etiquette, etc., then I would highly recommend checking into your local community college programs and just taking the classes than interest you.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 07:11 PM

I know how you feel; I'm in a similar situation. I too am fed up with not having any money.

Can't say it had occurred to me to go back to school, though. If it ain't working now, I suspect it won't in the future.

To be honest I'm considering getting out of the business altogether, but I really have no idea what else I'd do.

Phil
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#5 Keith Mottram

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:07 PM

you might find you get a lot more studying now than when you were younger. education can be very beneficial in lots of ways. if you can afford to take a few years out of you life then it could well be a posotive experience.
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#6 Nate Downes

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 06:41 AM

I am thinking more of the contacts. Plus, while I can swing a camera great, I'm not so hot on the editing side of things so I could use a refresher there.
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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 03:07 AM

I am thinking more of the contacts. Plus, while I can swing a camera great, I'm not so hot on the editing side of things so I could use a refresher there.

What sort of contacts? Do you want to meet up and coming directors who you can shoot for? Unestablished crew members who'll work on the cheap? Professor/mentor types? Producer types? Future rental house/post house employees? I've met all these types in school, mostly at community college.

The editing thing, just take a class or two at your local community college, there's no need to enroll in a four year program for that. All they can really teach you (besides the basics of film grammar which I'm sure you already know) is how to use a specific program anyway.

Some sort of post production class taught by an industry professional is very useful though -- you'll learn all kinds of practical things about how a lab works, what kind of questions to ask during a telecine session, how to work with a colorist, workflow issues, framerate compatiblity issues, sync issues, etc. That's worth going to school for.
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#8 Daniel Smith

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:03 AM

I know how you feel; I'm in a similar situation. I too am fed up with not having any money.

Can't say it had occurred to me to go back to school, though. If it ain't working now, I suspect it won't in the future.

To be honest I'm considering getting out of the business altogether, but I really have no idea what else I'd do.

Phil

You're into the computing side of things. Just grab a book on C# and Java and do an afternoon course. Starting wage for most junior programmers is about 24k. And the junior programmer I know is hardly 'super tehnical'.

I know of a project manager who's about 40 years old, he left his job a few weeks ago paying 75k a year, for a job paying 100k a year.
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#9 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:02 AM

Nate.

This is a difficult one and i do sympathise with your predicament. no one can really answer your questions adequately though there are
really only more questions. What do think going back to college will achieve for you? Unless you do something totally different i can't
see the benifits. If you can light, frame, expose film or video, run a crew, translate the vision of a director or client into what they
wanted, then your doing what this business is all about on whatever level that might be for you, but y,know this job is hard wired into your
bones, i feel blessed every day i'm on a set doing what i love to do and alot of it is mundane corporate stuff, but i do it the best that i can
and hope someone likes it and asks me to shoot something i really want to shoot.

We can't all be Jordan Cronenweth,

but i try everyday!

Good luck.

Kieran.

Edited by Kieran Scannell, 07 June 2007 - 11:04 AM.

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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:12 PM

I know how you feel; I'm in a similar situation. I too am fed up with not having any money.

Can't say it had occurred to me to go back to school, though. If it ain't working now, I suspect it won't in the future.

To be honest I'm considering getting out of the business altogether, but I really have no idea what else I'd do.

Phil


Phil,

You obviously have the brain power so I suggest med school. Doctors make big bucks and are never out of work.

I'll finance this entire plan, however I want the TV rights to this venture. I want to make a reality series out of this.

I mean your bedside manner would be fall on the floor hilarious. We'll be there to capture the moment you tell some poor joe lunchbox he has cancer. I have a great name for the show, "Dr. Phil." Sounds like I've heard that some place before??????

Any way I digress, here's an example of the scene where you tell a guy he has cancer:

Dr. Phil: Mr. Wilson I'm sorry to inform you that you have cancer.

Wilson: Is there any hope doctor shall we start treatment?

Dr. Phil: Oh why bother you'll most likely die any way.

Wilson: But my wife and kids, can't you offer any hope?

Dr. Phil: No, none. Accept that you are going to die, what's the point in trying to save you? You might live and kill some one as a drunk driver. It's better that you die.

Wilson: But....but.....but.....

Dr. Phil: No butts!! You're dead!!

END SCENE.

Ok I can't use the big long words the way Phil does, but you get the idea.

So what do you say Phil, partners?

R,

(a joke Phil....incase you didn't guess that :D )
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#11 Daniel Smith

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:01 AM

You obviously have the brain power so I suggest med school. Doctors make big bucks and are never out of work.

Yeh but it takes nearly 10 years of your life to become one, if you haven't got the a-levels already. (and they have to include biology etc.) Unless you got to one of these dodgy med schools who hand out phd's like nvq's...

Do an honours + masters at greenwich in software engineering (4 years) and be on 50k within two years. C# developers are also in demand.

Phd's in computing are stupidly difficult, but probably the most rewarding. (I've been computing for about 13 years and obtain A grades in a-level, but I wouldn't stand a chance at the phd)

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 08 June 2007 - 08:03 AM.

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