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Do you need good grades in order to get a scholarship to film school?


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#1 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:06 PM

I'll admit right now, I'm really not the best student. I get distracted a lot, especially if it's a class I'm not interested in like Geometry or Biology (I get mainly B's and C's) But I really want to go to film school because I doubt I'd ever get to the place I want to be by making self-financed indies, and even then, I'd have no time or money for that. So how do schools consider students for scholarships? Do they have to be an outstanding straight A student?
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:48 PM

 But I really want to go to film school because I doubt I'd ever get to the place I want to be by making self-financed indies, 

 

And you think going to film school will get you around that and open the gates of Hollywood?

 

R,


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#3 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 11:31 PM

 
And you think going to film school will get you around that and open the gates of Hollywood?
 
R,

No, but I haven't seen a single "no budget" make a transition to big-budget sci-fi action films. Then again I haven't seen many Hispanics who come from inner cities with Aspergers become directors either. But even so, I wouldn't have the time for indies if I have to work a full time job to pay the bills.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 12:21 AM

No, but I haven't seen a single "no budget" make a transition to big-budget sci-fi action films. Then again I haven't seen many Hispanics who come from inner cities with Aspergers become directors either. But even so, I wouldn't have the time for indies if I have to work a full time job to pay the bills.

 

You are quite incorrect there.  Have a look at the history of Gareth Edwards on IMDB.  From the low budget indie film, Monsters, made with a crew of 7 people that fit into one van, right into Godzilla, budget 100 million plus!

 

If you think any film school will somehow allow you to side-step paying your dues you would be wrong about that.  Once you graduate from film school you will struggle and toil for a very long time before you make, "big budget sci-fi action films" as you call them.  This is a tough tough business and very few ever earn a living at it, be prepared.

 

Back to your original question, about grades.  The answer would be yes.  The reason being that you are applying to a university not just a "film school."  If you were to attend USC, UCLA, NYU, etc, you still need to get a good score on the ACT, and have pretty good grades in high school.  In any four year program you are still going to have to take math, history, English, etc, along with your film classes.  You will not be taking all film classes and doing nothing but production.  In most film programs you will shoot very little your first year.  Most of your classes will be general education courses that all of the students will be required to take.  Welcome to the world of Psych 101, Econ 101, and Math 101.

 

You'll be writing some pretty long term papers, and sitting through some pretty scary exams, if you pursue a four year university degree.  Which is what the top film programs like USC and NYU offer.  Many film students drop out of four year programs, or never graduate because they despise doing all the "other courses" that they see no value in.

 

The alternative is to go to a much shorter "film production school."  These are usually privately run and do not offer a four year degree.

 

Here's what USC requires from incoming freshmen to be considered.  You'll notice that high school grades and your ACT and SAT scores are required.

 

http://cinema.usc.ed...rprocedures.cfm

 

R,


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#5 Brett Bailey

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 01:04 AM

There's not more that I can say that Richard hasn't already stated.  Yes, grades matter.  Nothing is easy in life.  It will require blood, sweat, and tears.  This industry is ultimately a business, so yes, math matters.  Understanding the mechanics of a free market and capitalism matters.  If you're wanting to know how to "light," science (some physics) matters.  So, you should take every subject seriously.  There are a myriad of stories of individuals within this industry who have had various disabilities, but ovecame them.  Film school does two things ( A )  Allows you a place to network.  And, ( B ) Teaches the "very basics."  I would recommend someone starting out in this industry, if they were attending a university, to major in business and minor in film.  It helps knowing the daedal intricacies of marketing, management, and finance.  Plus, if film doesn't work out, you can fall back on your business degree.  There are many paths within this industry.  That's just my two cents. 


Edited by Brett Bailey, 15 December 2013 - 01:07 AM.

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#6 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 09:22 AM

I know who's not going to college.

Edited by Reuel Gomez, 15 December 2013 - 09:22 AM.

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#7 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 09:44 AM

There's not more that I can say that Richard hasn't already stated.  Yes, grades matter.  Nothing is easy in life.  It will require blood, sweat, and tears.  This industry is ultimately a business...I would recommend someone starting out in this industry, if they were attending a university, to major in business and minor in film.  It helps knowing the daedal intricacies of marketing, management, and finance.  Plus, if film doesn't work out, you can fall back on your business degree.  There are many paths within this industry.  That's just my two cents.


I was composing a response to one of Richard's earlier posts in this thread when I read Brett's post. Honestly Reuel, Brett is right on. I am testimony towards that. I had no "in" to this business. I majored in film AND business. I believe my business degree has taken me much farther towards becoming a success as a cameraman than my film degree did. Let's face it: you will be working in the Film INDUSTRY, Show BUSINESS!

This is not to say in the least that film school is not beneficial. It is. As Brett stated above, it introduces you to a networking environment and helps lead you to the path in. It's still up to you to go down that path on your own. If this is truly what you want to make your life's work about, you will do anything it takes to make that happen. You will have a "take no prisoners" attitude towards your goal. And this begins with hunkering down and improving your grades and taking the subjects that you think don't matter.

Let's face it: Cinematography is math. Good luck to you. And by the way, I am particularly partial to USC. They boast of the top film school in the world as well as their highly respected Marshall School of Business. Can't go wrong! Great recommendation Richard!

G
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#8 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

I know who's not going to college.


NOT THE RIGHT ATTITUDE!!!
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#9 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:00 AM

I just want to make movies. I want to be a director. That's it. Not a doctor. Or a construction worker. A director. Someone who instructs people with the goal of expressing his ideas or interprets ideas in a new way. I'd rather be self-taught than sink a whole bunch of money into something that might get me nowhere. I'd rather sit in front of a computer and read for a couple of hours or days than go to a school and take years to learn the same topic.
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#10 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:07 AM

These are my grades right now. Not very pretty are they? My grade in Geometry is low because there were a whole bunch of "Do Now"s (short assignments given to us at the beginning of the period) that I didn't do because my teacher gives us only 5 mins. To do the assignment and I couldn't grasp the concept and despite asking for his help, he didn't want to so...yeah. My grade in Biology is low because there are a lot of assignments that I just did wrong. My grade in English isn't actually that bad, my teacher just hasn't put in my grade for the essay I did on "Antigone" yet.

Edited by Reuel Gomez, 15 December 2013 - 10:08 AM.

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#11 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:11 AM

It looks like I can't post the screen shot I took of of Progress Book so...Biology- 32.68 Geometry- 48.29
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#12 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:14 AM

Okay, here's the link to the picture: https://fbcdn-photos...1874_n.jpg?dl=1
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#13 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

Are you kidding me Reuel??? You JUST want to make movies? Direct?? Let's get real. You are talking about the biggest mental and physical commitment that you will ever undertake! There are no free passes here. If you think that this is going to be easy, you are mistaking my friend. Film directors, by nature are some of the most prepared and intelligent people I have ever met. The successful ones anyway.

All I read from you are excuses. That's defeatist. Get off your rear end and start finding solutions to your problems. Get a tutor for biology. Make it happen!!! I'm honestly disgusted with your lack of faith in yourself. If you don't have faith in yourself, no one else will. And don't hide behind your ethnicity to make yet another excuse to why you can't be successful in ANYTHING you put your mind and efforts towards. Faith and commitment = success. Are you committed Reuel? If you are, you will find solutions to your challenges.

Edited by Gregory Irwin, 15 December 2013 - 10:50 AM.

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#14 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:52 AM

Are you kidding me Reuel??? You JUST want to make movies? Direct?? Let's get real. You are talking about the biggest mental and physical commitment that you will ever undertake! There are no free passes here. If you think that this is going to be easy, you are mistaking my friend. Film directors, by nature are some of the most prepared and intelligent people I have ever met. The successful ones anyway.

All I read from you are excuses. That's defeatist. Get off your rear end and start finding solutions to your problems. Get a tutor for biology. Make it happen!!! I'm honestly disgusted with your lack of faith in yourself. If you don't have faith in yourself, no one else will. And don't hide behind your ethnicity to make yet another excuse to why you can't be successful in ANYTHING you put your mind and efforts towards. Faith and commitment = success. Are you committed Reuel? If you are, you will find solutions to your challenges.

That was the most uplifting thing I've heard all day. Thank you. You're absolutely right.
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#15 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 10:57 AM

That was the most uplifting thing I've heard all day. Thank you. You're absolutely right.


I'm glad to hear that. But from now on all I want to read from you is about your progress with all of the above. Nothing more. Best of luck to you Rueul. You can do this. Just believe.
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#16 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:01 AM

I'm glad to hear that. But from now on all I want to read from you is about your progress with all of the above. Nothing more. Best of luck to you Rueul. You can do this. Just believe.

I didn't think I'd hear such motivating words from someone who's industry and doesn't even know me. I really do appreciate them and I WILL try harder. Not give up and get distracted and not focus because I'm using my plight as an excuse.
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#17 Reuel Gomez

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:05 AM

My friend Aleah just offered to help me with my work during study hall so I already have help.
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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:32 PM

I just want to make movies. I want to be a director. That's it. Not a doctor. Or a construction worker. A director. Someone who instructs people with the goal of expressing his ideas or interprets ideas in a new way. I'd rather be self-taught than sink a whole bunch of money into something that might get me nowhere. I'd rather sit in front of a computer and read for a couple of hours or days than go to a school and take years to learn the same topic.

 

Well Steven Spielberg was turned down by USC, not once, but twice!

 

There's no rule that says you need a degree in order to make movies.  There are plenty of USC film school grads out there selling insurance, the vast majority of their graduates do not become, "feature film directors."

 

So if you just want to make movies....go make em.

 

R,


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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 03:20 PM

This site is an interesting read, although they are marketing their product:

 

http://filmschoolsec...l-reality-check

 

Have a look at the Chris Rock video, anyone else spot the giant continuity error?

 

Anyhow, there are two important points about these film schools that are true and I have had to deal with both issues myself as does everyone who has attended.

 

1) Not only are you paying a lot for tuition, but, you will need to make a final graduate movie at some point.  The university will not fund any of this.  You will get access to equipment, and crew in the form of your classmates, but you will need to find the money for everything else.  I remember first entering university and seeing all the fourth year student final projects.  And then hearing, "well I spent $20,000.00 of my own money on this."  Yikes.  And that was 1987.

 

2) You will most likely need some loans to get through, very few students will graduate debt free.  Now here's the problem....you will need to make monthly payments on that loan for a very long time, except, you'll be in an industry that will not be paying you monthly.  Not by a long shot.  You'll have long stretches of unemployment, so this presents a real challenge.

 

R,


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#20 Matt Sezer

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 05:37 PM

When I was at NYU, Ang Lee, an alum of the program, came into talk to current students. When asked what advice he had for current students aspiring to be big directors like him, he replied, "If you're the type of person who listens to advice, I'll tell you right now to get out of filmmaking." He said you have to be "possessed," a bit insane, to become a filmmaker, something that someone who passively takes advice is not.

 

I feel my time in school helped me a lot because it forced me to make films. There's no other time in your life where you'll be forced to make a film and be in an environment that is conducive to that. The real world is not conducive to making films. You need to be able to transfer what you learned in the "film safe" environment of school to the "film hostile" real world. Many people fail at this. You need to be self-driven or "possessed" to do this. Given that a lot of stuff in high school is BS (I didn't do particularly well myself), you still do need to question your ability to succeed by yourself in areas where you struggle.

 

Being in school exposed me to films and directors that I never would have been exposed to otherwise. The liberal arts classes that I took exposed me to new ideas and critical thinking skills. I wouldn't say that financially it was a great investment, but the way I look at it, if you wanted to make a lot of money, you wouldn't be in film. I'm a better filmmaker now. The films that I tend to like don't generally make a lot of money.


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