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Film School, Yes or No


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#1 Nick Centera

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:19 PM

Hey, thanks for reading. Right now I am beginning to apply for colleges and get to that step in my life. My passion is for film-making, so I really want to keep that going strong in my life. My question is whether to go to college and major in a Film degree of some kind or to get a degree in something else and do film-making on the side once I get going with that career. If you have any experience with this, if you went to film school, was it hard to support yourself with a degree in film, and also if I could get the other side where you didn't get a degree in film but still followed that type of path. Thanks a lot.
-Nick
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:22 PM

Nick, this has been discussed many times before. Just do a search.
To make it simpler, lets just say there are people from both camps here and it has to be, really, a personal choice.
I mean, you're in Cali right now, which is a lot closer to the action than a lot of other people with celluloid aspirations. Why not nose around a few film schools out there and a few sets?
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:27 AM

Hey, thanks for reading. Right now I am beginning to apply for colleges and get to that step in my life. My passion is for film-making, so I really want to keep that going strong in my life. My question is whether to go to college and major in a Film degree of some kind or to get a degree in something else and do film-making on the side once I get going with that career. If you have any experience with this, if you went to film school, was it hard to support yourself with a degree in film, and also if I could get the other side where you didn't get a degree in film but still followed that type of path. Thanks a lot.
-Nick


Here's my $.02.

Do you NEED to have a film degree to get a job in the business? No. In fact, a FILM degree has no impact on most people who want to work in the business. Of course, it helps to know what precise job you want to have before you make this decision.

That said, I would advise a University education for anyone with the means. Further education gives you more than just a "how to" on making movies. If that's all you're interested in, take a workshop or two then jump into the business by working for free at first. You'll have to do that anyway with a degree.

However, having a college degree means that you will likely have developed valuable communication and work skills that will take you farther in your career, no matter what it is. You'll have the opportunity to work in group settings (in film classes as well as other classes).

My suggestion is to find the best film school you can afford that will teach you about the job you want to have. Then major in something else. Sociology, Political Science, English, History....anything that will give you a broader liberal arts education. It's one thing to learn how to make movies. But too many film majors don't know what to make movies about.

Do what you need to to get the degree, but don't overload the schedule too much. You'll want time away from school to intern or work at a nearby tv station or production company that does professional work. Learning theory and making short films in school is valuable and recommended, but it's also vital to learn how those theories are applied and modified in the real world. Try to volunteer or work with as many different people as possible. Find willing Producers, Directors, Cameramen, Editors (especially Editors!)... don't be afraid to poke your head into the Theater Department and ask to volunteer on a couple of the stage productions... not necessarily for performance nights, but on the rigging crew (lighting) and in the Wardrobe Department. If there are classes that offer these opportunities, take them. If not, do it anyway. If your school has a screenwriting program, take that even if you don't want to be a Screenwriter. You're going to end up doing your chosen job at some point, but the more you know about what everyone ELSE is doing, the better you'll be at your job and at the BUSINESS aspects that it takes to do your job.

For the most comprehensive worldwide list of filmschools as well as a wealth of other valuable resources to help you, visit www.whatireallywanttodo.com. If you have any specific questions about anything you see there, don't hesitate to send me an email.

Good luck!
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#4 Greg Corso

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:45 PM

I've been going to film schools for 4 years and I tell ya, I kind of wish i just spent a year going on sets and seeing where that would of taken me. Say it took me no where, i could of decided then to start film school. Or if i thought film wasn't for me I could of went to school for something else. now i have so much money invested in it, it would be a big set back to change my mind now...
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:46 PM

Oh good god, this TRULY HAS been debated to death, the arguments on both sides are always the same. PLEASE do, do a search. You're not going to hear ANYTHING that has not been said over and over again on both sides of the issue. TRUST ME! ;)
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#6 Benson Marks

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:17 AM

Did you know that 94% of all the famous Hollywood writers, producers, directors, and filmmakers never attended a four-year film school? That, I think, says quite a lot.
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#7 John Brawley

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 02:53 AM

Did you know that 94% of all the famous Hollywood writers, producers, directors, and filmmakers never attended a four-year film school? That, I think, says quite a lot.


And 84% of statistics are made up on the spot....

jb
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#8 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 08:49 AM

And 84% of statistics are made up on the spot....

jb



and 20% are innacurate.
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#9 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:44 AM

I've been thinking about my life a lot lately, as well. I want to be a Chartered Accountant. I love accountancy. The action. The adventure. The chance to speak to the world through numbers and mathematical balance. Should I go to school for this? Or, should I hang around in accounting offices and try to just pick it up?

Does the accounting business work like the movie business?
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#10 Hal Smith

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:08 PM

I've been thinking about my life a lot lately, as well. I want to be a Chartered Accountant. I love accountancy. The action. The adventure................Does the accounting business work like the movie business?


I think you need to talk to my friend Max Bialystock, he might have an interesting way of helping you to combine both of those.
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#11 Serge Teulon

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:18 PM

When the sarcasm settles in....
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#12 Damien Bhatti

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 12:33 PM

and 20% are innacurate.


2% are wrong.
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#13 Danny Haritan

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 01:04 PM

2nd year at film school. I love my school, though there's a lot to learn in only 64 weeks of school. I like my school a lot because it's just not making movies, it's a lot of history of films the first few weeks, learning about American and International Cinema. Plus our school is the first school in the United States to go all HD.
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#14 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 02:34 PM

#1: Make sure the school you go to puts a lot of emphasis on Production. Theory is good, but you don't get jobs after graduating by knowing a lot of theory.

#2: Film school is always what YOU make of it.
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#15 Andrew Koch

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 03:50 AM

2nd year at film school. I love my school, though there's a lot to learn in only 64 weeks of school. I like my school a lot because it's just not making movies, it's a lot of history of films the first few weeks, learning about American and International Cinema. Plus our school is the first school in the United States to go all HD.



Are you saying that your school has an all HD post workflow or are you saying that the school only teaches HD production and neglects to teach FILM production. If the latter is what you are saying then there is a serious element missing from your education. Learning to shoot film is a major aspect of learning cinematography. The majority of major productions are still shot on film and this is a necessary skill.
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#16 Danny Haritan

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:52 PM

Are you saying that your school has an all HD post workflow or are you saying that the school only teaches HD production and neglects to teach FILM production. If the latter is what you are saying then there is a serious element missing from your education. Learning to shoot film is a major aspect of learning cinematography. The majority of major productions are still shot on film and this is a necessary skill.


We still shoot on minidv, and dvcam tapes, but the advanced programs are using HVX with P2 cards. The program I'm in doesn't use actual film, as my major is Cinema and Digital Arts. There's another program just focused on actual film cameras. And I wasn't bragging about being all HD. I'm more into older films and the simplicity of them, and wish I could just use film cameras.

Edited by Daniel Haritan, 09 October 2008 - 02:53 PM.

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#17 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 03:33 PM

We still shoot on minidv, and dvcam tapes, but the advanced programs are using HVX with P2 cards.


That sounds ridiculous. Solid state and all non-tape technologies should be taught in both programs. It's not too "advanced", I suppose the equipment just costs a bit more so the school feels better about the "advanced" students handling the gear.
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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 09:52 PM

I don't see how it can cost too much? I'd think spending $10k for a good HVX package would be far more costly than 3 for an old Arri. . .
The film school I went to just got a 35 (BL4), and a RED, and all the solid state/hdv you can shake a stick at. Plus we're still running the Bolexes, Eclairs, Arris, and Aatons. . .
I totally agree that you should have everything at your disposal for a film school to really be rounded. Elsewise, you learn the bad-habits of infinite tape.
I see Daniel, that you're out in Pitt. If you ever make it down to Philadelphia, let me know, I'd be happy to show you 'round an SR3 and let you roll off a couple hundred feet.
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#19 Danny Haritan

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:29 PM

I see Daniel, that you're out in Pitt. If you ever make it down to Philadelphia, let me know, I'd be happy to show you 'round an SR3 and let you roll off a couple hundred feet.


Thanks for the offer. I've only been to Philadelphia very few times, but I'll keep your offer in mind. My roommates brother lives there and he visits often, maybe I'll have to join him for a free trip.
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#20 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:43 PM

most certainly let me know. I can normally be found at pubs of ill-refute and lower cost Chimay, or on the forums.
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