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Film Schools


Jbells123

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So lately I've been building up my portfolio for some film schools such as Calarts, Chapman, and Loyola Marymount University. I know that the schools look for the "inner you" so to speak, but how interesting must a five minute film be to really capture someone's attention when there are hundreds of films being presented?

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Why dot you take that hard cash buy some used arri lights, red one mx camera or black magic 4k and start shooting dedicate your self to learn story telling cinematography color. Some of the famous directors like Quentin Tarantino Lana and Andy Wachowski Christopher Nolan Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick to name few never wen to film school

 

Terry Gilliam

Film school is for fools. Live and learn how to make films. I didn’t go to film school. I just watched movies in the cinemas. And probably my greater education was actually making films, so that’s all I would ever say: watch movies, get a camera, make a movie. And if you do it enough times, eventually you start learning how films are made.â€

 

Quentin Tarantino

“Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do,†Tarantino told students during a master class at the Cannes Film Festival

 

James Cameron

One of the best things that happened to me was that I didn’t go to film school. I used to go down to the USC library and read everything. I’d Xerox stuff. I made my own reference library of doctoral dissertations on optical printing and all that.

 

 

You will spent shit load of money to get access to film cameras that you can buy now for 5000k on ebay red one mx body goes for 5 to 8k. I wen to film school they told me i can learn it all in 1 years 11k down the hole took me 5 years to pay that off working as a tradesman  i dont mind my job at all money is really good but if i could do it all over again i would spend my 11k some place else. School those day is only good for me if you want to make like minded friends that why we have forums like this one. I hear those film schools in USA are dam expensive. like 700 dollars for each class you attend a day.

 

Just my 2 cents

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We have to remember that film schools give you opportunities and an education, You will know people there that will probably work with you for the rest of your life, It's more about the people you meet! You might afterwards work with one of your teachers on his next movie, or not, going to film school doesn't mean you WILL have a job, but it will certainly help a lot!

It's true that doing everything by yourself is what a lot of people recommend but we have to remember that those guys are geniuses (unless you consider yourself as good as Tarantino, Kurosawa, Nolan etc...) Doing everything by yourself is hard, and it depends on what your are aiming at!

 

PS: here in France we don't pay film schools, la Fémis and Louis Lumiere are almost free and they are one of the best schools in the world. (la Femis is number 5 worldwide, students have won many prizes in Cannes and other big festivals) The difference is that we have to pass a very hard exam in the beginning which is very selective. So money is not a problem, you have to earn your eduction not pay it!

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Why dot you take that hard cash buy some used arri lights, red one mx camera or black magic 4k and start shooting dedicate your self to learn story telling cinematography color. Some of the famous directors like Quentin Tarantino Lana and Andy Wachowski Christopher Nolan Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick to name few never wen to film school


Whilst Aronofsky, Terrence Malick, Ron Howard, Wally Pfister, Janusz Kaminski, David Lynch, George Lucas, Judd Apatow, John Carpenter, Doug Liman, Jay Roach, Lee Unkrich, Jeff Cronenweth, Robert Yeoman, Francis Ford Coppola, Alexander Payne, Rob Reiner, David Silverman, Gore Verbinski... to name a few.
All went to film school.

Film school is not for everyone, and you don't have to go to film school to build a career, but many successful people have sure got a lot out of it.

 

You will spent shit load of money to get access to film cameras that you can buy now for 5000k on ebay red one mx body goes for 5 to 8k. I wen to film school they told me i can learn it all in 1 years 11k down the hole took me 5 years to pay that off working as a tradesman  i dont mind my job at all money is really good but if i could do it all over again i would spend my 11k some place else. School those day is only good for me if you want to make like minded friends that why we have forums like this one. I hear those film schools in USA are dam expensive. like 700 dollars for each class you attend a day.


My film school had two Alexas, an Epic, a 435, 4 SR3s, an Aaton XTR, and a deal with the local rental house to rent out an Aaton Penelope for 3 months of the year for use by students. In addition to 5Ds, Varicams and the like.

We had tens of thousands of dollars worth of lenses, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lighting, sound and grip equipment.

I now work regularly with the people who were my friends at school. I helped out on many sets, which helped me to hone my skills in a safe environment, and its my contacts that I met at film school who basically built my career. Most people I work for, I have been recommended to them by someone I went to film school with. Or recommended by someone who I was initially recommended to by someone I went to film school with. Or are someone I did go to film school with.

It's not for everyone and you don't necessarily need to go. But I now have a professional career in film. I can't say for certain that I would not still only be doing events, corporates and wedding videography had I not gone to film school.
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I understand that film schools certainly aren't for everyone. I have thought it over a few times whether I should just attend community college and then transfer or just not do the college at all and use the contacts I have, but I like to have a backup plan. I really want to be a filmmaker, and I feel that I really need to learn the studies and what not of film. It's hard to make a decision because I know that it's all about your contacts and who you know and what kind of experience you have. I just don't know how long it would take to be a filmmaker if I don't go to college. 

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My feeling is you should either go to film school, or spend those 3-4 years crewing on films, gaining experience and working in the industry.

I have never been a fan of this 'don't go to film school, just shoot a feature!' mindset, as without some basis of training (whether that's learning from those better than you by being on a set, or in a film school environment), you're making a film blindly, and whilst you will learn some things from it, I see it as much more of a waste of money than film school itself.

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Academic education is paramount in filmmaking. Any of those names that supposedly didn't go to film school actually did. Just, not the kind of school that gives you a degree in the end.

 

Many succesful directors and cinematographers have built a career without going college or any "formal" film school. You can skip it if you read tons of books, attend seminars and experiment a little. You need to crawl before you walk, let alone run... Nowadays you can get the education without going to school (the Internet has made available many study programs an bibliographies that can serve as a guide), but you need to get the education anyway!!

 

Making a feature with that money would probably a waste of money (one that I've seen more than once). Taking time to study and learn, and then spend money on some film (preferably not a feature) would be more sensible. I've been working for almost 20 years and you can easily tell the difference between the formally trained professional and the self-taught through experience. The latter is a one-trick pony, effective in his/her task but easily confused when taken out of his/her comfort zone.

 

You see, the thing is that not only should you know HOW to do a task, but also WHY is that task performed in a specific way. The phrase "because it's always been done that way" or "that's way everyone does it" is sadly quite common and reveals a professional with shallow knowledge and little ground for improvement or evolution. Some gaffers will always be gaffers and some get to be DPs. And it's not beacuse of their "talent", that's a made up word which means "lots of hard work, perseverance and continuous study".

 

Get some vast base -not basic- knowledge, either going to school or by your own means, watch and analyse as many films as you can and then go on screw up some minor production. If you've done the former, you'll be able to know why you failed and learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them systematically. And ten years from now you won't have to watch the expensive pile of crap that you shot when you were not ready. I don't mean to offend anyone or be patronising, but I've seen that mistake made so many times... and not once have I seen anyone spend their "college money" on a feature that was even watchable. And the worst thing is that not even they knew why it was so bad.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I agree with last comment, education is essential and those great directors who didn't go to filmschool actually did go in a way.

The greatest mind in medicine history who made all the discoveries we're basing the science upon now, all did not officially graduated high school, applied to Harvard medical, took the coarses and graduated with a degree. Non of them did, they had the exact same education but they searched down for it, they read and read and hunted down professors and spoke to them everyday.

What I mean is, in almost any field right now, the world has become so open that you can get the education people recieve in college without going, it's just a lot harder and you don't get a degree in the end.

So it depends on what you want and what you can do, can you spend most of your time willingly reading tens of books, hunting down every bit of information on the web, and contacting professors and filmmakers to get education? If you're not willing to do so, paying for filmschool will give you the education without that much effort as compared to being on your own, and it gives you a degree in the end, which surely helps in getting work. There are both argumenta but I believe it depends on what you can/can't do relative to how financially comfortable you are. But no filmschool is not a useless idea.

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as with most schools, the people teaching are quite often the ones who never made it in the real world.  If they had done, they'd be on set rather than taking the money from people who don;t know better.  Obviously this is a generalisation, but unless you're being taught by someone who actually has some proper background, don;t pay a penny! 

 

put the money in the bank, and live off it while working for free in the real world in a decent place with real people.

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as with most schools, the people teaching are quite often the ones who never made it in the real world.  If they had done, they'd be on set rather than taking the money from people who don;t know better.  Obviously this is a generalisation, but unless you're being taught by someone who actually has some proper background, don;t pay a penny! 

 

put the money in the bank, and live off it while working for free in the real world in a decent place with real people.

 

A hackneyed old trope that I suggest is not true in 99.999999999% of teachers, lecturers and professors - believe it or not, there are some people who educate because they love to educate, because they love the working environment, get real job satisfaction from helping kids and because they are sick of associating with the type of scumbags who inhabit the industry who have no qualms about, say, taking advantage of an inexperienced person, trying to persuade them to work for free whilst showing them nothing more than how to work a coffee machine. They are certainly not doing it for the money, prestige, low working hours or ease, I can promise you that!

 

If you do choose to work for someone for free, be really, really careful.

 

All that being said, be really careful about choosing a film course, there are plenty of really bad ones and very few good ones and don't expect to come out bustling with contacts and a relevant portfolio, you almost certainly wont.

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as with most schools, the people teaching are quite often the ones who never made it in the real world.  If they had done, they'd be on set rather than taking the money from people who don;t know better.  Obviously this is a generalisation, but unless you're being taught by someone who actually has some proper background, don;t pay a penny! 

 

put the money in the bank, and live off it while working for free in the real world in a decent place with real people.

 

Obviously that is the case with some teachers, plenty of theoretical knowledge and little real life experience, but I also had several teachers who were working professionals and others who were retired but not pleased with senior citizen lifestyle. And that includes producers, directors, DPs...

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as with most schools, the people teaching are quite often the ones who never made it in the real world.  If they had done, they'd be on set rather than taking the money from people who don;t know better.  Obviously this is a generalisation, but unless you're being taught by someone who actually has some proper background, don;t pay a penny!


It really depends very much on what school it is. The better/best schools attract working professionals with high pay. The film school I went to, I was taught by a few different Cinematographers who are working professionals, but had some down time and were happy to take the incredibly good pay.

Your statement is very much a generalisation, and it differs from school to school, and even different courses and classes within the schools. I know a lot of working professionals have taught at places like AFI and USC, as extreme examples.

At my film school, our Cinematography teachers were mostly working professionals, our Scriptwriting and Directing teacher for our final year was a working professional, whilst our Scriptwriting/Directing teachers for the other years were good writers and Directors but only had one or two minor credits to their name. Our editing teacher had edited a couple of major films in the past, but not done anything notable for 5-10 years. We had Producing teachers who were professionals and some who had worked on major films overseas but didn't have notable English language film credits.

It really depends.
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as with most schools, the people teaching are quite often the ones who never made it in the real world.  If they had done, they'd be on set rather than taking the money from people who don;t know better.  Obviously this is a generalisation, but unless you're being taught by someone who actually has some proper background, don;t pay a penny! 

 

put the money in the bank, and live off it while working for free in the real world in a decent place with real people.

And specially if you live in Canada film schools here are shit. i went to best film school that Canada has to offer took a loan and teachers are exactly what you said nobody was working in any industry but they head some rellyyyyyyyyyyy kick as facilities and equipment in that school and they wore sponsored by avid and panavision, and when you get out of that school good luck getting a job in any field that is production or post production. Because here its such a small industry.

 

When i think of it they did have a super awesome animation courses pixar and sonny would come and recruit maybe i should have taken animation ohhhhh well

 

Shit all that post production shit you can learn now over you tube or 500 dollars worth of training dvds.

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Making movies IS the best film school.

 

But if you absolutely need a degree ( hey, college is fun ), go to an art school instead. It will teach you how to think out of the box and will not stifle your film voice while you develop your own original aesthetic. 

 

Wong Kar Wai, Ridley Scott, Steve McQueen, Zack Snyder and Michael Bay all went to art school. ( That is one bizarre list... )

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If you live somewhere with a decent film school which is free, or at least low cost, then sure.... go for it!

But if it is an option of spending several years at uni while you get deeper and deeper in debt vs....  working for even very low pay (but not getting in debt) while gaining several years of experience, then I'm skeptical if uni is the better choice here?

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