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Degree in film and gigs


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#1 David Edward Keen

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 01:37 PM

Opinions regarding going to film school?

 

If the goal is to get a job on film sets and try making it into a career, possibly getting to operate or DP one day, might it be necessary to have the degree?

 

I went to music school in my 20s so I also acknowledge the incredible value on having a program, especially having coaches and peers and venues to perform in,  all in order to hone your skills and awaken potential.

 

 

 


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#2 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 01:49 PM

Opinions regarding going to film school?

 

If the goal is to get a job on film sets and try making it into a career, possibly getting to operate or DP one day, might it be necessary to have the degree?

 

I went to music school in my 20s so I also acknowledge the incredible value on having a program, especially having coaches and peers and venues to perform in,  all in order to hone your skills and awaken potential.

 

 

 

One can always learn useful stuff at school, but don't rely on it getting you a job. Experience and previous work will get you jobs. Hustling from the bottom to the top.


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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 02:02 PM

Film school is best used for networking, meeting potential filmmaking partners, getting access to equipment, rental houses, stages, etc. Don't expect it to land you any jobs though. If you want to be a cinematographer, meet directors and other aspiring DPs. You'll most likely trade favors with these peers for the first few years, AC'ing, gaffing, and gripping for each other as you build your reels.

Shoot as much as you can for others while there, get known as a DP early.
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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 02:33 PM

So do you really need a film school? Some say YES because you will make great connections for the future. Unless you're a partier and want to socialize all the time, that doesn't work well. So I say film school is pretty worthless in today's age. This is mainly because everyone can make films these days with low-end cameras and very few schools have professional equipment like they did in the past. I suggest to ALL people wanting to get into the film industry, to get a degree in a backup topic and get work in that topic so you can build a backup resume. Then once you have enough money, buy a camera and start shooting. Don't EVER get into any debt, no house, no fancy car, no family... if you want to do this right, you've gotta be lean and mean. Save every penny you can, live in a shit apartment, take the train if you have to. When you have enough saved, make a good backup plan and give yourself a year to make it happen. You won't make a dime that first year... and you'll be spending more then you ever have because it will cost you in travel. However, once you've done your year, you'll know if it's something you want to pursue.

Here is the difference between music and filmmaking... with music, people WANT to share their secrets, with filmmaking, nobody wants to share what they do. You can take all the courses you want, from the best people in the world, but you won't be better off then experimenting on your own. Nobody on a film set OR anyone in the "hiring" of crew, gives two shits about any degree's. Your resume would only be the shows you worked on in the past and your job capacity. I've never seen a professional crew member's resume even so much as mention degree's.

If you wish to be a cinematographer someday, the path is VERY simple. You need to get work on smaller productions in the lighting department or camera department and slowly work up the ladder. It really requires time on set, learning the terminology AND working with a master cinematographer. Plus, lots of experimental time for yourself to build a decent reel of your work. I always suggest young cinematographers invest in a cheap camera/lenses and never stop shooting. You've gotta be willing to work for nothing and build that demo reel, in between your bigger paid gigs.

The problem is getting your first gig and there isn't a simple answer to doing that. It's a catch 22... you've gotta have a resume to build a resume, if that makes any sense. The other way to get in, is to know someone. This is why so many people start as production assistants. They work their asses off and meet people along the way. Those people are just like you, they're working on other gigs all the time. Meet the right person, have the right conversation and you may be on their team for the next shoot. This industry is cutthroat though and it's very much based on social interactions, so if you're not prepared to be hanging out with strangers all the time after hours in order to move up the ladder, you'll probably not go anywhere. You've also gotta be willing to push people out of the way in order to secure gigs. You will never be handed an opportunity, you have to MAKE the opportunity yourself through demonstrating your hard work AND pushing to make it happen. This is why most of the top working crew people are mostly extroverts of one kind or another. Sure, creative jobs like Cinematography, Art Design, Costumes, Makeup, those people maybe a bit more introverted. But the vast majority of people you'll meet along your trip are extroverts to the max.

I went to film school. I have a lot of talent. I work very hard, but not hard enough evidently because having lived in LA for 13 years, I haven't yet been able to achieve any "success". I've survived with my backup career all this time and it's a shame. I have a lot to give, everyone I've worked with has called me a super talent and wonders why I'm not a millionaire, but it's about who you know. I don't know any millionaire's. LOL :)

Hope that helps! Don't get depressed, just make it happen! :)
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#5 Rakesh Malik

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:38 PM

The biggest flaw with film schools is that they are catering to the easy money... which is to say, the market of people who think that cameras do all of the hard work of making movies. I didn't come out of film school with many useful contacts; most of the people in my classes were dead weight at best during group projects, so who'd recruit them afterward? The "tests" in the production class were multiple choice... and the final was (gasp) setting up 3-point lighting for an interview. (Yes, seriously. That was the final.)

 

That's not to say that I didn't learn anything at all in film school; we had a great screenwriting teacher and a great film history teacher. I learned to edit while working as a intern for a production company.

 

I got my first couple of opportunities to be a DP by networking with nearly budget-free indie productions... based on my photography. Now I'm working on getting a company started and finding clients...


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