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#1 Amy Jennings

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:29 PM

I am currently a student and will be starting University next year.

I am unsure if it would be the wisest option to study film in university and if I will be able to find a job when I have finished my course. I currently study media at my school and have made a couple of short films and an animation. I'm tying at top of the class, so I guess I have some skills in the subject already.

My question is: If I go into this course, will I be able to get a job in the industry easily? Are only students who learn at more renowned universities and other such institutions the ones who gain the jobs in the industry? How much can a minor film maker earn? Can I use my skills to branch off into other subjects if it does not work out?

Thank you.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

It's often not what you know; but who you know and luck. No one has ever asked for my film-school credentials here in the US at least. It's more what I've done. Now, film school gives you an option to do things, which is nice, as well as meet people. But, it can be very expensive. What the right path for you is only something you can figure for yourself. That said, I don't (normally) regret film school, but it was by no means my way into the industry. In fact, I might've been working more had I not gone to film school. But, i wouldn't've shot as much as I have too perhaps.


--also edit--
My dad got his degree in english lit. He did it not for a job; but just because college was the last chance he figured he'd have had to do and study what he wanted to study. I followed the same idea when I went to college. I highly recommend it, if only because once you're done university, you have to deal with a real world, and often times that means you have to put your loves on the back-burner. If you work hard, no matter where you come from, you can make it.
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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:54 PM

--also edit--
My dad got his degree in english lit. He did it not for a job; but just because college was the last chance he figured he'd have had to do and study what he wanted to study. I followed the same idea when I went to college. I highly recommend it, if only because once you're done university, you have to deal with a real world, and often times that means you have to put your loves on the back-burner. If you work hard, no matter where you come from, you can make it.


Very true. I majored in Media Arts in college, graduated and did a few media-related jobs. Then I became an FDNY EMT after 9/11. As a result of circumstance, it was ten years before I made another short film (I made my first in college.)

But the point is that I got back into it (and that film actually did rather well around the festival circuit.) And this job has allowed me to pay my way through grad school in the same subject. I've made a lot of contacts (in and out of school) and I have a lot of options that I may be able to advantage of as I'm about to graduate.

So you never know where the road will lead. My advice to you is not to limit yourself to only one part of filmmaking. Learn as much as you can and you will have more to offer.
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#4 Peter James Scott

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:04 AM

Hi Amy,

This is my opinion, and not the only option, but I think it’s important to go to university and attain a degree. Employers will look favourably on a person with a degree than someone who has not, even if the degree is not related to to the job in question. I have heard of many stories of people who take degrees in one subject but go on to do something completely different. The point is having a degree shows that you are willing to learn and study and have the skills to go on and learn any job. Due to the economy and shortage of jobs, employers are look for specific qualities, and having your degree will do you no harm.

Having a degree also helped me to figure out what I wanted to do. At the beginning of the course I new I wanted to do something in art, such as illustrating, but at the end of the three years I found out that film making was really something I could focus on and work hard at and enjoy.

You are lucky as you already seem to know what you want to do, so you can really focus on it over the next three years, without having to worry too much about money and job searching.

No I don’t think going somewhere prestigious helps you much more in an education. If you go to a prestigious film school then you may come into contact with more of the right people in the industry.

The best thing to do would be to try and get on sets. I learned more in one week about film on a set than I did at university in 3 years. (I suppose this is the counter argument for uni).

As Adrian said, a lot of it will come down to luck. A lot will also come down to hard work. Also don’t be afraid of volunteering!

As for how much a minor film maker will earn after leaving university? I would say not much at all, and you may find yourself getting part time jobs while you work for free on low budget films. I am in this position now. Things were a bit slow at first but stuff has started to pick up now and I’m getting more involved in the film industry. In between jobs I try and improve my portfolio with private work so things are constantly on boil.

Hope this helps and good luck I have every faith!

P. J. Scott

Twitter @PJScott89
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:25 AM

Going to a good film school gives you the opportunity to meet people who might, one day, work in the industry. The biggest advantage is that it also gives you the opportunity to shoot films on some other person's dime which in turn gives you a finished product that you can shop around as work that you have done. Connections are good but the connection must have faith in your abilities to give them what they want. School is no guarantee but with schools churning out directors and Dps at a record pace there is a great likelihood that this will be something you have in common during potential job interviews. Good luck.
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