Realistic about Film School

Congratulations! You just had an epiphany that you want to be involved in the film world. Maybe you realized this after seeing another trailer for another remake/reboot/sequel and believe you have better, more original ideas. Maybe you saw the latest Oscar winning film and were like “I want to win one!” Or maybe it’s just as simple as just feeling like it’s the right thing and wanting to tell a story. Whatever your reason, as a graduate of a Radio-Television-Film program I’m going to give you tips on how to be realistic about the process.

  • You have to take the basics. In your freshman and sophomore year, you will most likely have to take a all the “101” type classes. If and when you take these classes you find that nothing in them is interesting to you or you find yourself struggling, it might be time to move to other pastures.
  • You will have to do a project that will be confined by various rules set by your professor. Say you’re still wanting to continue on the path. When you take more of your film classes, be aware that you won’t be able to make just anything. You will have guidelines and you will have a deadline. Yes, it’s not the most artsy thing to do, but it will prepare you for the real world if you want to work more in the commercial realm.
  • You will not be the director for everything. One of the key things to learn in film school is to be able to do multiple jobs. Yes, that includes working the lights, holding a boom mic until your arms are sore, and sometimes bringing the food for the crew. It’s not glamorous but then again, if you don’t make your own films, you’re going to do the grunt work.
  • Editing should be required. Take at least one editing class. It will not only help in your filming but also make you appreciate what editors have to do.
  • Network right now. Network, network, network! Those people you work with will be the same people who will recommend you for another job.
  • Intern and work on others’ films as much as you can. A degree is nice but if you have no experience to back it up, most people will be reluctant to take you on. So work on that student film (masters students are always looking for free/cheap help), intern, and check those job postings!
  • Above all else, have fun. It’s going to be hard work but if you enjoy it, if you get a thrill out of it, then a film degree will be worth it. Not to mention if you go to a 4-year school, you can always supplement yourself with a business minor.

It is at this point you might be asking me “How come you’re a freelance writer doing the business thing?” to which I will answer is that while I do not regret my film degree, I realized I was more of a fan of the planning, marketing, publicity, and overall business of filmmaking rather than the production. I will most likely make some little videos but for now I’m learning the business and writing.


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