Jump to content


Photo

Student going to film school


  • Please log in to reply
51 replies to this topic

#1 Weber Kendrick

Weber Kendrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 20 June 2014 - 08:43 AM

Hi everybody, I'm new here. I'm going to film school next year, a big one which will cost my mom 200k, to my family, it's quite a big money so my mom ask me to choose a major in Film major. So how many jobs are there in film industry except director manager ? I'm interested in Cinematography and Visual Effects, but both jobs require different skills, right ? so i've to decide which one should i go for. I have some questions
_How much does Cinematographers and VFX artists earn a year ? 
_About working-hour, which one takes more time ? i heard that Cinematographers only work 8-9 months a year but still earn 70k .
_About working-place, seems like VFX artists always have to seat in the studio while cinematographers, I'm a kind of person who like going out , making friend with people, i don't really like seating in a room for hours
Tks a lot for advice :) 


  • 0

#2 Weber Kendrick

Weber Kendrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:15 AM

i mean my mom ask me to choose a job in film industry that earn well so i can pay for her living expenses cause she has retired and divorce with my dad


  • 0

#3 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5069 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:48 AM

It's a high risk process, it often comes down to less on how much you can earn, but more on how can I manage to survive. There are no automatics to getting high salaries in the film and TV industries, How much do they earn in a year is a question very much like asking how long is a piece of string? Some do very well, others manage a living wage, while others struggle to survive.  


  • 0

#4 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:28 AM

If this is a serious situation where your mom is investing in your future to help with hers then I would think that Cinematography would be a bad choice. There are much safer fields out there than this if your main concern is making money. And with 200k, that gives good options. Business, Medical field, and even vocation fields like master mechanic are almost guaranteed to make you money. Cinematographer has to be something you are passionate about AND be willing to struggle with no guarantee of ever making good on.


  • 0

#5 Gregory Irwin

Gregory Irwin
  • Sustaining Members
  • 589 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Work is based in Los Angeles but I live elsewhere.

Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:31 AM

I agree with Brian, Weber. It is impossible for you to make these career decisions at this time. Film school is much like a military boot camp. It's survival! My experience in film school, during my freshman year was I don't remember even touching any equipment! It was studying, reading and getting a general understanding of the structure of our industry. There is so much to learn that I had no social life. It was a 1000% commitment to maintain the grades just to stay in film school. That's how much competition you will be facing. Your focus needs to be on your passion for the craft of filmmaking and not how much money you could make. You may not really know what craft you want to do till your junior year.

And in reality, it doesn't get any easier when you actually work in the industry. There is actually more competition and stress and you are managing a self employed business. But I'm happy to report that it is all doable. It just depends on YOU! Just out of curiosity, what school are you considering?

Greg
  • 0

#6 Carl King

Carl King
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:50 AM

Sounds like the best way to make money is to start a film school. $200k is a lot of money for a retired woman. I totally agree with Matthew.
  • 2

#7 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 20 June 2014 - 11:42 AM

Unfortunately film is not an industry that requires or rewards people who have degrees.  It's not like becoming a doctor, or a dentist, where university is a requirement to be licensed and you are guaranteed a high salary once you start work.

 

The vast majority of people that spend big money on the big film schools will have thrown that money away.

 

And you cannot go into the film industry because you want money.  You have to do it because it's your passion, otherwise you will not last 6 months.

 

R,


  • 1

#8 Gregory Irwin

Gregory Irwin
  • Sustaining Members
  • 589 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Work is based in Los Angeles but I live elsewhere.

Posted 20 June 2014 - 12:11 PM

And you cannot go into the film industry because you want money.  You have to do it because it's your passion, otherwise you will not last 6 months.

 

R,

 

I totally agree! That is reality.

 

Greg


  • 1

#9 Weber Kendrick

Weber Kendrick
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 20 June 2014 - 12:38 PM

Tks all for your opinions 

If this is a serious situation where your mom is investing in your future to help with hers then I would think that Cinematography would be a bad choice. There are much safer fields out there than this if your main concern is making money. And with 200k, that gives good options. Business, Medical field, and even vocation fields like master mechanic are almost guaranteed to make you money. Cinematographer has to be something you are passionate about AND be willing to struggle with no guarantee of ever making good on.

 

 

Sounds like the best way to make money is to start a film school. $200k is a lot of money for a retired woman. I totally agree with Matthew.

All we have is like 800k, and Dad will take 400k for himself so mom only has 400k left, she's willing to give me 200k to study, She recommend me Computer Science and many others but i don't like them, All i love is to get out there and filming
 

 

I agree with Brian, Weber. It is impossible for you to make these career decisions at this time. Film school is much like a military boot camp. It's survival! My experience in film school, during my freshman year was I don't remember even touching any equipment! It was studying, reading and getting a general understanding of the structure of our industry. There is so much to learn that I had no social life. It was a 1000% commitment to maintain the grades just to stay in film school. That's how much competition you will be facing. Your focus needs to be on your passion for the craft of filmmaking and not how much money you could make. You may not really know what craft you want to do till your junior year.

And in reality, it doesn't get any easier when you actually work in the industry. There is actually more competition and stress and you are managing a self employed business. But I'm happy to report that it is all doable. It just depends on YOU! Just out of curiosity, what school are you considering?

Greg

I'm ready to deal with challenge, I love making film, that's my passion, that's why i choose Film major, I'm aiming to FSU College of Motion Picture Arts.  :P I have 2 gap years to work and study more about film, so i have to decide now whether should i go with Cinematography or with VFX 

 

Unfortunately film is not an industry that requires or rewards people who have degrees.  It's not like becoming a doctor, or a dentist, where university is a requirement to be licensed and you are guaranteed a high salary once you start work.

 

The vast majority of people that spend big money on the big film schools will have thrown that money away.

 

And you cannot go into the film industry because you want money.  You have to do it because it's your passion, otherwise you will not last 6 months.

 

R,

I believe that i'm gonna survive, cause i really really love making movie. I'm best at making movie  :)


  • 0

#10 Gregory Irwin

Gregory Irwin
  • Sustaining Members
  • 589 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Work is based in Los Angeles but I live elsewhere.

Posted 20 June 2014 - 12:46 PM

I'm assuming that based on your picture and FSU, you are talking about Florida State.  The good news is that a state funded university should not cost anywhere near $200K.  Am I wrong?  And if I am, I'd rather spend the same money and go to USC Film if you could get in.

 

G


Edited by Gregory Irwin, 20 June 2014 - 12:49 PM.

  • 0

#11 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5069 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:07 PM

A friend of mine did computer science and now edits top BBC dramas. For VFX, there are computer degree courses for creating CGI, which also have applications in gaming. Of course, you also have to be into the mathematics.


  • 0

#12 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 June 2014 - 02:33 PM

She recommend me Computer Science and many others but i don't like them, 

As someone who is Graduate Computer Science as we speak, you are right not to do this either if you don't have a strong drive for it. They seriously have "weed out" courses that are made

for the sole purpose of getting people to quit who wont put in maximal effort. Same thing with Engineering.

 

That being said, if you really wish to film, I would think that 200k would be best put into starting out into the field and acquiring some nice tools instead of throwing away on school. I could be wrong though.


  • 0

#13 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5069 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:53 PM

If you're going to spend that amount of money going to film school, you really need to consider the A list ones. However, you may find that you need a portfolio in order to get into them.


  • 0

#14 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:24 PM

That being said, if you really wish to film, I would think that 200k would be best put into starting out into the field and acquiring some nice tools instead of throwing away on school. I could be wrong though.

 

With all do respect Matthew I definitely would not recommend that route either.  A young person would blow through that cash in no time and have nothing to show for it at the end.  

 

R,


  • 0

#15 Carl King

Carl King
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:59 PM

On the one hand I don't want to discourage a kid from going to film school if that's what he really wants to do and his mom wants to spend her money -- this happens every day. On the other hand, the world is full of people who have gone to film school, then moved back home and worked at Home Depot or whatever. As I near 40 years old, I think of the value of this hypothetical $200k... and with my life experience I would not give it to a film school. It is totally viable to buy a GREAT camera for only around $5,000 (C100 with all its features to learn), buy some books, start shooting, and make a good living freelancing. Then work your way into whatever filmmaking area you want. 

 

Weber, if you leave your mom with $200k and she lives another 20 years, that's only $10k a year for her. She'll be broke. 

 

That's not a sound business plan -- but I didn't have one when I was college age either. I'd say let your mom keep her money to retire with. And if you're good at making movies, you won't need film school. Anything else is just conjecture or gambling. 

 

-Carl. 


  • 0

#16 Gregory Irwin

Gregory Irwin
  • Sustaining Members
  • 589 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Work is based in Los Angeles but I live elsewhere.

Posted 20 June 2014 - 06:03 PM

I've got to play devil's advocate with full respect to Carl's posting. I believe that he has a valid point to a degree. There are certainly cases where one can point to successful people who have not gone to college. But there is more evidence out there that college degrees do have an impact on one's earning potential - even within our industry.

I received two degrees when I was in college. One was a degree in cinema and the other was in business. What did I get out of it? Certainly not a guaranteed career. But I was taught a method of critical thinking and a discipline that led me to achieving my life's and career goals. I was given opportunities via my schooling to take full advantage of a pathway in. And of course, I was formally taught the craft and business of cinema to proceed forth in creating my own successful career. I'm not even getting into the whole "college experience" that helps define one's self. I still have great friendships and business relationships that were created back in college. That was 35 years ago.

From that time through today, I have been blessed with opportunities to have continually worked on the type of jobs that I originally got into the industry to be involved with - the big budget, studio Hollywood movies. Back in 1989, I started my own camera equipment rental company that still services the Hollywood studios today! I attribute all of this to my own ambitions and to my education.

To Carl's other points, I would hate to see Weber go out and blow a ton of money on a camera that will be outdated in a year. If he's going to buy a camera, buy a less expensive one in order to practice the craft with. A good cameraman can make beautiful images with less fancy gear. Finally, Carl has an excellent point with regards to the financial impact of Weber's education vs. his mom's financial well being. A sound business plan is needed but that's now a whole new topic.

The school of "Life's Experiences" is a good one. But I will always argue that the formal version of education will take you to another, higher level and offer opportunities that you mIght not otherwise have. I feel qualified to say this since I'm of an age where I have experienced both.

Greg
  • 0

#17 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:37 PM

 

With all do respect Matthew I definitely would not recommend that route either.  A young person would blow through that cash in no time and have nothing to show for it at the end.  

 

R,

You are probably right, Richard. I do not think it is a good idea either BUT I was merely stating that out of the two possibilities (film school and broke vs $200k in gear) that he could have tools that can make him some money and at least have some salvage value for the gear if he couldnt make it happen.

 

Obviously with $200k  there are many better options for making money. Hell, even a good and stable preferred stock can pay more or less guaranteed funds. But he sounds adamant about going headfirst into film on his mother's dime.


  • 0

#18 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:10 PM

It is totally viable to buy a GREAT camera for only around $5,000 (C100 with all its features to learn), buy some books, start shooting, and make a good living freelancing. Then work your way into whatever filmmaking area you want. 

 

I really don't think you could to be honest.  A good living freelancing at 18 years old with a $5,000.00 camera?

 

Hmmmmmm?

 

R,


  • 0

#19 Carl King

Carl King
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 June 2014 - 11:11 PM

Hey guys, I don't want to sound like I know all the answers. I've been freelancing in LA since 2008 and doing very well. Could I have done it at 18? Probably not, you're right. But I've had many great day jobs along the way that contributed to my income, skills, and experience. And to be clear, I spent many years in graphic design, music, and writing -- and those all added up to what I do now for a living (which is mostly music education videos and marketing promos). About 1/3 of my income is fun stuff: mini-docs and music videos, etc. I know many freelancers in LA who are self-taught and move from project to project, and they do fine.

And if the original poster is specifically wanting to work in mainstream feature filmmaking, that's not my area of interest -- so apologies if I am an outsider getting in the middle of things. And I think my answer would have been different if it wasn't half his retired mom's money. Scary! I think I can imagine Dave Ramsey freaking out over that one.

-Carl.
  • 0

#20 Gregory Irwin

Gregory Irwin
  • Sustaining Members
  • 589 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Work is based in Los Angeles but I live elsewhere.

Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:48 AM

No apologies needed. All good debate.

G
  • 0


Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

Abel Cine

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal

Willys Widgets

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

The Slider

Glidecam

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS