For some reason, I occasionally - well, once every couple of weeks, probably - get enquiries about how to "get in" from people who don't consider themselves "in". I hasten to add that I don't intend to rehash my feelings about job prospects in the UK film industry in this post; I've done that enough, and I get contacts from people all over the world and I don't have any idea what the prospects for these people are.
Now, even if I considered myself "in", which I really don't in the sense that most of these people are probably thinking of, or in any way qualified to give advice, I have to ask: is there a limit to how useful any specific advice whatsoever can be in such a flaky field?
People seem to obsess over the employment history of prominent people with the idea that closely emulating a person's choices is a worthwhile route to emulating his or her success. Conversely, in discussion with almost everyone I know who does anything approaching film and TV work, and regardless of their abilities, I discover that there is a certain amount of luck involved.
Many people dislike this assertion, considering it an attempt to write off genuine exceptionalism, but I don't think someone's unique-snowflake brilliance, or lack thereof, is really the point at issue. Naturally, professional ability is involved, but many people report career choices based on almost moment-to-moment happenstance which will, of course, not be valid for anyone else. This isn't about writing off effort as luck, it's about reacting to the changeability of real life in the right way. Specific advice based on any one person's circumstances is almost never going to be valid for anyone else, unless they're in a very prescribed career path such as medicine, the military, or law. By comparison, advancement in filmmaking is absolute bloody chaos, and the idea that it's practical to try and emulate someone else's success by analysing their behaviour is crazy.
So, no, finding out where Robert Rodriguez went to film school will not help you.
Does this make sense to anyone?