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career decision, require help from the experts!


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#1 Joel Blumer

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 01:06 AM

Hello all, I am an aspiring filmmaker, and I am going into my senior year of high school, and of course, like all seniors I face the critical decision of what to do with the rest of my life. So thats where you guys come in. I am in love with the idea of being a filmmaker, and also with the idea of going to a film school. I have heard wonders about film schools in NY, and also how almost anyone who went to a school in NY loved it, Ive been researching the schools that are supposedly at the top, (RIT, NYU, BARD, and others). What I have been in search of is the opinions of experts who are in the industry, or who are trying to get it, what I need to know is whether I have what it takes to become a filmmaker (I am interested in Directing or D.O.P.). Is there anyone who have went to one of these schools and had great success? Is there anyone who is having trouble making it? And how hard is it to get into these schools anyway? (I heard that only 60 out of 600 students get into RIT Film, is this true? or a myth to scare away applicants?) I have won a couple awards, but how good of a movie are they looking for to get accepted? And btw Film is not the only thing I am good at, I have been into engineering for a long while, and only recently been considering how great it would be to enter in the the filmmaking industry. And also my parents are willing to support me in whatever i want to do, but 40k/year is a lot to spend if your not sure of whether your going to have a job after 4 years,(and i agree). Well any way, haha sorry for all the questions, but I would GREATLY appreciate any comments or advice from directors, D.P.'s, Students etc. THANKS SOOO MUCH!
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 05:04 PM

Since you haven't made up your mind about what you want to do within film, I'd suggest an enrolling film school where you get to dabble in all departments. This will make it easier for you to choose what field it is you find the most rewarding. Film school is not a necessary thing to have in the film bizniz, but it's never a bad idea - at least you make some connections from like minded.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 05:24 PM

You're in luck. I'm a 3rd year film student at RIT. :)

I can't really compare it to any other schools since I've only attended this one, but I'm very happy with what we learn and how we're taught. The acceptance rate is actually a little worse then what you cited above, actually. Work hard.

The basis of RITs film school is very much in with fostering a collaborative environment. Students cooperate within your own year as well as between years. Another ncie feature is end of quarter screenings. Every quarter you make a film, you're required to screen it at the SOFA public screenings, and then to take quesions, criticism, etc.

If you want to ask me any more specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at <cdketh@alltel.com> I'd be happy to talk with you about it. B)
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#4 anamexis

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 05:37 PM

I generally use The Princeton Review for information and statistics about colleges. They have good overviews, such as average GPAs and test scores, admission/enrollment statistics, tuition, etc.
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#5 Sean Azze

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:51 PM

And btw Film is not the only thing I am good at, I have been into engineering for a long while, and only recently been considering how great it would be to enter in the the filmmaking industry.



How I envy you. I wish I had some other interest aside from film, but alas I am cursed with the obsession of becoming a success in an industry where the success rate is almost nonexistent.

I'm not much older than you, and in a similar position in that I'm just following my dreams and trying to put some work together to market myself as a filmmaker. But yet I think I'm experienced enough to tell you this much - the idea of a career in film cannot just be a passing fancy. This has got to be a passion that consumes every waking moment of your life. While you eat breakfast you should be thinking about potential shooting locations, sitting on the toilet conjuring up camera angles, and dreaming in bed about story concepts. You should get a tingle in your spine just from the scent of a fresh roll of film.

Unless you have a relative who has connections in the industry, or enough patience and financial backing from your parents to wait for your aspirations to materialize into something real, this is not the field to get into. You may have recently discovered that you're the second coming of Hitchcock and it wouldn't amount to squat. Because when it comes down to it, a lot of times the best work never sees the light of day. Film doesn't follow the same progression a 'normal' career follows where after graduation your life begins. I've had a bachelor's degree in my hand for close to a year, and I'm still searching for a catalyst to my hopes and dreams.

If you love it, man - then by all means, film school or no film school, just be around it. Learn everything you can. Be ready to be referred to as "hey you", and to put up with rejection and bullshit. Should you catch that big break, all I can say is please take me with you. :lol:

But keep in mind, there's plenty of money in engineering and not as many sad stories or for that matter, competition.
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#6 Jaan Shenberger

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 01:37 AM

i'm no expert really, but i would HIGHLY ADVISE that you also plan on learning a specialized craft that is part of the film production/postproduction process. this does not include directing, writing (you're more likely to win the lotto than be hired as a director or writer), or editing (nowadays there is no excuse to not be proficient at nonlinear editing software).

even if you want to ultimately be a writer/director, it will be advantageous for you to learn cinematography or production design or makeup fx or animation or compositing or something like that, so you can at least get into "the industry" in the camera/art/fx dept or something. you'll be able to make more contacts and meet other young people who are burning to work on side projects.

here are a some things i've heard/seen about the strengths of a few US schools (of course, these are very general)...

usc, nyu, ucla for making contacts within the industry.

art center (in pasadena) for cinematography or if you wanna direct commercials.

school of visual arts (nyc) or calarts (valencia, ca) for animation-related stuff (though these schools are known for cirriculums which encourage learning multiple disciplines in filmmaking).

if you plan on going to a large university or college with a film department, i'd advise that you do a lot of research to learn about their program. many departments like this teach the "learn to be a great director/writer by doing a lot of critical studies, and then finding other people with the technical skills to help you bring your film into existence" way. i don't mean that in a negative way (i highly value critical studies), but those programs tend to produce aspiring writer/directors (ie. unemployed), rather than people with practical skills that can get them a job somewhere in the industry.

but off the top of my head, if you wanna be a combo director/dp, then i'd suggest art center. though, they tend to churn out people with very commercial(advertising)-oriented reels. but then again, that's where "the money is" if you're a director or dp. plus, michael bay went there! yay!! (sarcasm).

and keep in mind that the above info about those schools is from just one person's insights and should be taken as such.

hope this helps,
jaan
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 09:35 AM

Well don't forget the film school at BYU.

BYU has recently produced Jared Hess the 24 year old director of Napoleon Dynamite. Imagine that, right out of film school and your first feature makes 44 million at the box office and becomes part of pop culture. And they did it with out one swear word, car crash, or any T&A.

BYU has also produced Neil Labute, In The Company Of Men, Obsession. And Richard Dutcher, God's Army.

BYU costs a small fraction of all the schools you mentioned, has a much nicer campus than any of the schools you mentioned, and being in Provo Utah it's dirt cheap to live there compared to LA or NY.

R,
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#8 Tim J Durham

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 10:50 AM

Well don't forget the film school at BYU.

BYU has recently produced Jared Hess the 24 year old director of Napoleon Dynamite. Imagine that, right out of film school and your first feature makes 44 million at the box office and becomes part of pop culture. And they did it with out one swear word, car crash, or any T&A.

BYU has also produced Neil Labute, In The Company Of Men, Obsession. And Richard Dutcher, God's Army.

BYU costs a small fraction of all the schools you mentioned, has a much nicer campus than any of the schools you mentioned, and being in Provo Utah it's dirt cheap to live there compared to LA or NY.

R,

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

AND has the worlds best skiing (Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Park City, Deer Valley) with lift ticket prices (at Alta and Solitude) even a student can afford.
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#9 Joel Blumer

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 07:04 PM

Hey thanks, you guys have really been a great help! I just wanted to give a few more specifics about my personal thoughts. I was thinking that if I would get accepted into a film school, and graduate, and have trouble making it into the business, that I would do something else maybe in videography (I already do a few weddings), and i was thinking that I could do something like that for a period of time until I made it in the film business. Could anyone tell me if this would work? You guys have been great with your responses, and I would greatly appreciate as many more replies from as many people as possible, ALL imput is welcome!! Thanks again, Joel
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