This really depends on why


This really depends on why you’re going to school. You might want to be able to work on feature films in Hollywood and its dependencies; or work in a network TV station; or become an independent documentary maker; or shoot for National Geographic; or set up your own business doing corporate and private video, etc. It also depends on whether you want to study and understand the theory and aesthetics of moving imagery and how to create it — in other words, your goal is to become an artist — or whether what you mostly care about becoming an artisan, a journeyman in the video trade.

Going to the film school at NYU, Brandeis, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon and California School of the Arts will give you one kind of preparation, while going to a community college or the Art Institute will give you another. Attending classes such as those given by the Videomaker Magazine team will give you yet another.

These are all quantitatively as well as qualitatively different; each serves the needs of various goal seekers.

I studied production for a full year while working on a PhD at The Ohio State University, for example — everything from script writing and directing talent to how to run studio cameras and handle switchers in the control room. And I was lucky enough to be able to follow this up with another year of on-the-job training doing live three-camera studio shoots. For the next 30 years I used my video skills in teaching and research at a major university. And along the way I attended a couple of Videomaker conferences and trade shows and learned a lot at WEVA confrences and other trade shows as well.

My wife and one of my sons, on the other hand, both went to a local community college and got two-year AA Degrees in video production. Judy graduated, went to work for two production companies and several years later started our production company. Dan freelances shooting commercial video and legal depositions.

I don’t think my training was “better” than theirs; only different.

So to sum up: You really need to decide what, in your education, is important to you, then find a school that offers the opportunities that will help you achieve your goal. Hopefully you’re going to spend the rest of your life getting educated; whatever you choose by way of formal education is really only a shortcut.


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