I say follow your passion.
I have a Bachelor’s in Media Arts & Animation, having learned the art & technical skills of 3D. Even though you can technically learn everything from books & groups, going to school was invaluable for me personally.
First off, being surrounded by creative peers is great for focus, creativity, and that needed competitive push. Second, it gives you the time to do the creative work you want to do AND it pushes you to make time because you have to. You have real life goals and deadlines while trying to learn the craft of your field, which is huge. You always think you can make time, but a lot of us find it more difficult to do so while focusing on work and/or in your case, another major and trying to “squeeze it in” during your free time. Last but not least, having other people in the field that are constantly looking at your work & offering feedback is invaluable.
Now, granted, you don’t HAVE to go to school to get all this stuff necessarily but you will most likely find it much harder to find without the sort of “in” that school would give you. School allows you to emerse yourself in your passion, gives you time and resoures to work on real world projects and start out a valuable “network” of peers that can take you well beyond your college years.
I’m not saying you have to go to school to be a fantastic filmmaker, but I don’t think it is right to completely discount film school either. There are a lot of benifits too.
One thing I have to say though. Film school, art college… it is what YOU make of it. You get what you put in and that’s true of the college route or the personal one!
Just my two cents from a personal perspective. Hope if helps!
~Scarlett (aka Volta)
he didn’t take the bait xD
Thanks for your comment. I think there are a lot of benefits from attending film school, and at this point I’m pretty much decided on that course. Connections, being able to make films and talk about cinema with a bunch of people like yourself— it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Before giving you any advice—because advice should not only reflect the opinion of the giver but also the needs and situation of the recipient—I went to your profile and noticed that Slacker is one of your favorite films. I love Slacker, too. But I saw if before you were born.
Here are a couple of thoughts—
the ‘connections’ argument is crap. If you bring anything to the party, self-generating connections are a fact of life. You can assume they will materialize, if you have something the rest of the world wants. If you don’t, good luck, in a cohort or all alone. The wannabes, the koolaide drinkers and the poseurs are the crowd that needs the cohort.
You want a Plan B. The beauty of a liberal arts degree is that it is the ultimate Plan B. The horror of it is that there is no Plan A. The wonder of having no Plan A is that you face the world naked. OTOH, that’s how you were born.
If you want to go to film school, treat as a vocational exercise. Do not be seduced by the oppportunities to B.S. Find yourself, as a cinematographer, a whiz at post-production editing (commit to a software package the way a pilot bailing out of a flaming plane commits to his parachute), a makeup artist, a lighting guy, a caterer, a publicist. I dunno. Any of those subsidiary roles. But don’t be seduced by your dreams of fame and greatness.
Have those dreams, and execute against them, just don’t let them twist you.
I’ve always thought one benefit of going to film school is if you don’t make it as a filmmaker, your degree could help you get a job in the industry. If I fail, I would still love to work in the industry.
“keep in mind that there is no film industry anywhere except hollywood”
Huh, news to me. Currently productions are trending OUT of Hollywood. Word on the street’s Schwartzenegger’s pissed .
As for Nick B.: you say you want to go to an in-state college to help with tuition and gain access to film classes, but you’re getting an English degree? Look, nobody cares what the piece of paper sez beyond “BA”. Go to your in-state college and get a film or media arts degree.
My recommendation in general to most people is that education is always useful, and if you can afford it it is worth it to go. Most people these days would rather spend the money on a production, which is a business venture instead of a personal investment. The choice is to the user. HOWEVER, one thing worth mentioning on the local not-filmmaking-school state university front is the equipment access on the cheap. Spend a couple-three hundred on a studio production class and that typically comes with access to field equipment and editing bays. Then spend your entire semester using the equipment.
Never think of college courses (or even your current high school courses) as being opposed or different from film school. In math class you’re learning fundamentals of business. In physics class you’re learning frames of reference. In humanities classes you’re learning about topics you’ll want to film about. In art class you’re learning color and composition. In English class you’re learning analysis and how to write. In psychology class you’re learning representation and illusion. Just go with it. But if your intent is to be a filmmaker, than be a filmmaker and stop worrying about the details. The answer to how to get into the film industry differs which each person who talks about getting into it. More people in the industry get their jobs meeting producers at bars than coming in from film school, and the real jobs in the industry are the below-the-line jobs. The reason why YouTube sucks is because you’re putting up your piece of heart amongst Jackass wannabes with lower production values. So if you really want to get into film, you discipline yourself to convert every experience you have into something you can use for movie making and you learn how to produce.
Let me share another piece of advice for the youngun’s here: a very frustrating thing you’re going to discover is that people are always going to talk about making movies, but few are going to actually make them. This means your closest friends in film may understand you, but will not help you get productions together or get jobs. It may mean that that guy you hate seems to be making more films than anyone else you know, and that’s because he’s actually doing it. If you want to MAKE movies, the only way you’re going to is if you actually do. If you just want to talk about making movies, you’ll never be short on contacts. I say this because recently I’ve noticed a tendency in people to find an us vs. them conflict behind why they don’t get in, and yet I never see them try to do anything. Many talented individuals are losing out on the opportunity to get into the film industry because they’d rather dream of how great the movie would be ideally without even going as far as to write a friggin’ script down! These wannabe filmmakers, of whom range from classmates I’ve had to close friends I cannot convince to get proactive, are like poets who never bother trying to publish anything—they are intelligent and imaginative, but who gives a fuck?
So really in the end it doesn’t really matter where you go or what you do or how you do it as long as you get your hands on a friggin’ camera and shoot some footage. Until then, everything you do is useless for getting into moviemaking (industry or non-industry).
I am not a money-making director, and the below-the-line work I’ve done has paid me little. I am not famous and I probably won’t be. But I have made three independent short films amongst my numerous student films, two of which have been shown on local screens and one of which has been shown outside the state, and the ratings for the two up on my YouTube channel are crap yet I have an IMDb profile, unlike some of the best rated independent stuff on that website. I am talking to filmmakers and film industry workers daily and trying to be friends with all of them. I am also unemployed and might lose my apartment. Two days ago I ran across an old classmate working at a pita joint. We caught up. He said he was jealous of me because it always seemed like I was “doing stuff.” I joked about how at least he can pay rent. He soberly told me he’d trade with me any day. And I agree. He and I both had great ideas. He never bothered trying to make his a reality. I asked him when he was going to, and he said, “I’ve given up; I’m going back to school to be an architecture major.”
Chantal Ackman: Many talented individuals are losing out on the opportunity to get into the film industry because they’d rather dream of how great the movie would be ideally without even going as far as to write a friggin’ script down!
How true about the risk taking: artists make stuff.
no, i wont take the bait. i learned my lesson before on another thread about arguing with teenagers. it might be the ultimate exercise in futility.
have fun with puberty, and good luck on everything after that.
btw here is the Akerman quote:
While Akerman admits “one part of me wants to make a big commercial film and have money,” she finds the entire fiction film process cumbersome. Writing “is annoying when you have to make a fiction film –sometimes it is destroying the film or experience of the film…and everyone putting money in it has to read the script…”
What a slacker she is, eh?
Sorry about the misspelling of her name above, but I lost the edit function.