Director's Take: What I Got from Film School

Director's Take: What I Got from Film School

Comments

Yes and No

compass2k's picture

I have a similar history to the author. Filmschool when film went clickity-clack, instructing and working and an advanced degree decades later in the digital era.
I agree with a lot that Pete said. Basically a course is a compulsory, deadline driven, intensive opportunity to turn out a few shorts. Given many people and groups spend years not getting out films - the deadline driven approach is an (expensive) gun to the head solution.
The downsides are the expense, the padding and that no component of a film degree is not also available outside it though youtube, books and community groups. Often free.
The expenses are many thousands - usually tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Your government may pay like here in Australia or Canada or Germany or your family or not - in which case I wouldn't bother as filmschool is a scam financially - there is no way recycled public information on set process, 3 point lighting, basic editing etc costs that much to learn and a third or your time will be spent swallowing and regurgitating rubbish on feminist constructions like 'the male gaze', socialist and french philosophy from Deleuze, Sarte and Focault , artists like brakhage and john cage and irrelevant arts filling designed to empty your pocket and employ school graduates whom never actually got round to leaving as 'instructors'.
You can learn everything you are taught from books and video, you could shoot many more shorts with a community shooting group or your friends in the two to four years than students do and no you don't need experience with arri lights and cameras to be industry ready,
If you have access to the money - its a bad financial investment but nobody gets in to film for financial reasons. Filmschool will get you started - it wont employ you but it will start your showreel.
If you dont have the money join a shooting group, join a film appreciation group (like the AFI that has expert talks ) , visit youtube for directors and dops talks, shot by shot breakdowns, cheap gear hacks and forums for advice., collect friends with gear (a camera nut, a soundhead and keen editor and you are 90% there) and SHOOT !!
Reading and viewing only means anything when you have your own crap to compare it to. Go crazy - in my starting days media was $2000 (about 5k in todays money) for 2 minutes (stock, dev, prints) now its reusable. You'll get better each time and will probably get a job quicker and wont need to spend half your life waiting for government or industry funding to make your films.
You can show it online to many people and enter competitions the same way or hire out a local art cinema for a few hundred. The owner likes your stuff they might organize it themselves provided you provide staff. Art cinemas are passion project too ..
In summary - got access to the dolllars but not sure about the self starting energy - go filmschool. If you dont have the money I wouldnt spend 5 years saving to get knowledge and experience you could accumulate yourself in two.