Shadow, Of any member I am



Of any member I am probably the most qualified to answer your question. First off, I’ve traveled the very road you’re staring down. I was a Zoology Major (Genetics Emphasis) and got through my first semester of my Senior Year before I realized I wasn’t willing to spend my life in the lab no matter how good I was (am) at the Sciences. I followed my original passion and transferred over to Fine Arts and went through the Fine Arts Drawing/Painting Dept. In the meantime, I knew I was going to need to do crazy things like ‘eat’ and ‘pay rent’ so I took additional courses in Graphic Design and Sculpture. I figured I could use the knowledge I already had as a medical illustrator and the wood working, welding skills I picked up from sculpture came in handy later.

After graduation, I did all kinds of stuff but eventually got into photography and then filmmaking during my Military Service. After which I went to filmschool to augment my professional experience. So now, all that knowledge from the different fields of study, learning good research techniques and writing constantly aid me in my production work.

So I ask, ‘are you good at the sciences, complex math and the other areas of study that will lead to a successful career in Neuroscience? Are you ready and willing to dedicate your life to the years if not decades of research and lab work that will be required?’ If you answered ‘yes’ to either or both those questions, then I say stick to what you’re doing and finish. You can always change course afterward. If you said ‘no’ to either or both questions, then you better know that being a film director is not a job per se. Nobody just rolls in and directs even if their mommy or daddy owns a studio.

You’ll have to learn the craft of filmmaking which entails dozens of jobs. You won’t have to be expert in any of them (but it helps to have mastered at least one), but you’ll need to have a clear and working knowledge of how each job functions. You’ll also need to understand how the business end works as well. Most directors these days get there by producing their own films and working their way into larger and larger productions. You’ll need to know the gear and how it all works, have a good sense of visual and audio design, you’ll need strong management skills in addition to self-discipline in order to bring in projects on-time and on-budget. You’ll also need psychology and social skills to forge and motivate teams of professionals to bring your visions to life within the guidelines you set down. Most important, you’ll need to know how to deal with actors which are the component that can and will make or break your work if you haven’t mastered the skill.

The majority of people who desire to be a Director have no idea of the magnitude the job entails. Most just see it as ‘the guy in charge’ when it’s more like, ‘the person who shot their mouth off and will get their head cut off if they don’t deliver’. Funny thing, I bailed on spending my life in a laboratory only to trade it for spending time in photography laboratories, being chained to an editing machine and doing just as much if not more research than I ever did in the sciences.

Either way you go, it should be the one that’s best for you. Unfortunately, you’re the only one who can figure that out. One thing I will say, if you decide to change and can go to film school, go. If you want to be a film or television director, go to an accredited film school program. Make sure the graduation requirement is your making a film. Many film schools only have so many students directing or working on a senior (graduate) film project. If you’re not politic enough, you won’t be picked to serve on the project in any position let alone as director. At best, you’ll just write a script. Schools which require you to make a graduation film means your final grade comes from you making an original film (which is the whole purpose of going.) Do not go to a Communications Degree program. That is for the technical side of Broadcast TV primarily Broadcast Journalism unless that is what you want to do. In a Comm’s program you’ll barely learn the gear and won’t make any films.

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