Author Topic: Film School  (Read 23382 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

rustinglass

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Respect: +1
Re: Film School
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2004, 02:48:35 PM »
0
Quote from: phil marlowe
in denmark it's so hard to get in you couldn't imagine....


So is in Portugal. I'm finishing highschool this year so I have to choose which course to take. I'll apply to both film and electrotecnic engineer: One is my dream but potencially dangerous, I mean , work-wise, the film industry in Portugal is sadly very weak; On the other hand, I have a course that I think I can take, due to the marks I have in math and phisics, and if I complete it, I have an assured future, but it's not my dream job!
My parents weren't too happy when I told them I wanted to go to study film, but now they said that they will support me on whichever I choose, as long as I dedicate myself to it.

It's a very complicated situation.
To enter film school there are serveral phases of selection: I don't want to go through it all but I do have to make a thematic dossier including interviews,  photos, script idea, etc on one of the given subjects. One of the subjects is war, I thought "cool, my dad was in the war, I can interview him and track down his army buddies, interview them. i pretty much have an entire film in my head from the stories he tells me. the problem are the pictures... am I suposed to go  take pictures of the war? there is no war anymore. My dad has pictures, but they have to be taken by me.... I think I'll take some pictures of him and his buddies toghether looking at the war photos or something, and some pictures of the wall with the names of the dead soldiers.

Anyway, If I am admitted to film school with a fairly high admission mark, fuck it! I'll take the film course.
"In Serbia a lot of people hate me because they want to westernise, not understanding that the western world is bipolar, with very good things and very bad things. Since they don't have experience of the west, they even believe that western shit is pie."
-Emir Kusturica

Reinhold

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2452
  • Respect: +3
Re: Film School
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2004, 05:51:59 PM »
0
i'm still in high school, but i plan to do a few semesters of community colleges before i go to a university for film or telecomm. what my parents keep telling me is that i should get my core classes out of the way where it'll be cheap, and take a few non-essential classes that have my interest while i'm there. the community schools that i'd end up attending are said to have very good programs for what they are. i don't know what the case is where you are.

edit: i must have been smoking crack that day.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 12:30:26 AM by Reinhold »
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

phil marlowe

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1437
  • Respect: +1
Re: Film School
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2004, 03:26:00 AM »
0
Quote from: rustinglass
So is in Portugal. I'm finishing highschool this year so I have to choose which course to take. I'll apply to both film and electrotecnic engineer: One is my dream but potencially dangerous, I mean , work-wise, the film industry in Portugal is sadly very weak; On the other hand, I have a course that I think I can take, due to the marks I have in math and phisics, and if I complete it, I have an assured future, but it's not my dream job!
My parents weren't too happy when I told them I wanted to go to study film, but now they said that they will support me on whichever I choose, as long as I dedicate myself to it.

It's a very complicated situation.
To enter film school there are serveral phases of selection: I don't want to go through it all but I do have to make a thematic dossier including interviews,  photos, script idea, etc on one of the given subjects. One of the subjects is war, I thought "cool, my dad was in the war, I can interview him and track down his army buddies, interview them. i pretty much have an entire film in my head from the stories he tells me. the problem are the pictures... am I suposed to go  take pictures of the war? there is no war anymore. My dad has pictures, but they have to be taken by me.... I think I'll take some pictures of him and his buddies toghether looking at the war photos or something, and some pictures of the wall with the names of the dead soldiers.

Anyway, If I am admitted to film school with a fairly high admission mark, fuck it! I'll take the film course.

dude, it sounds like we're in trhe same situation, finishing highschool, wanting to choose the dangerous path of film etc etc...i just know that THAT's what i wanna do and only that. so lets see, we might both end up sitting on a bench drinking in the park crying and thinking of our lost dreams. nah we'll show them

and taking photos...what the fuck? what is the point of that? you might as well go a head and shoot the thing then

Quote from: roman cibeles
Yeah I’ve heard how hard it is to get into film school in Denmark.

Is it the National Film School?

I think that when you can brag about Lars Von Trier being one of your graduates you set the standards pretty high.

Do you notice any difference between directors who attended film school and the self taught ones?

it's the national yes, and i believe the difference between the filmschoolers and the self taught ones is that there aren't really any self taught ones.

Recce

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 426
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2004, 09:20:29 AM »
0
Quote from: SoNowThen
$20 000

for the one year "intensive" course


It's really like a trade school. They need to keep pumping peons out to fill the PA gaps for all the city's US tv show run-offs...


Damn, that kinda sucks. Film school in Montreal just costs regular tuition (about 1250$ per semester) plus general film and development costs over the three year program. Although, I think someone once told me that the University foots the bill for a large chunk of film costs.

As far as Communications goes, you can choose to concentrate your studies on film for the three years. Its all shot on 16mm. Second and third year cost about 2000$ in all in film cost. I took the easy way out, concentrating on TV production (i.e. video, even though most TV productions shoot on film) and takin a few photography classes along the way.
"The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the king's men
                         cannot put it back together again." (Travis Bickle, "Taxi Driver")

Big Owl

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2004, 11:58:09 AM »
0
As far as i know in ireland there is only 1 film course that offers a degree .You get let in based on marks off your school results and your portfolio marks .The highest 24 get in . Thats pretty harsh.
\\\\\\\"God damn these electric sex-pants!\\\\\\\"

LostEraser

  • The Road of Trials
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Respect: 0
    • http://www.karlborges.com
Re: Film School
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2004, 09:45:08 PM »
0
I'm poor and my parents never encouraged my dream to be a filmmaker and no one in high school ever taught anyone about applying for student loans or grants or anything like that. So I never planned on going to college and imediately after high school I just started trying to make films myself independantly. And that's all I've been doing with my time since then. Now I'm 24 and I don't have much to show for it. Just a few semi good shorts that never played anywhere major (though I should have moved to LA or at least out of my small little suburban town long before I did, then I may have had more to show for it). Now I'm finally biting the bullet and going to Los Angeles City College. It's all I can afford. It's no UCLA or USC but they do have a film degree (the community college I looked into back home didn't even have a film program) plus I can maybe transfer. Though I'm mostly just going to meet other people who I can hopefully make films with. And just to give myself some sort of structure in my life since I've never had that. Plus it would be nice to get some sort of encouragement from teachers maybe. But who knows if anything will come of it. I guess I'm just tired of trying to gather film projects together that never really happen. I've studied film independantly my whole life (that's all I've ever really studied at all actually) so I doubt they will actually teach me something. But, hey, it's something to do.  

Has anyone else ever went to LACC? I hear as far as film goes it really is the best community college out there. Though, yes, it still is just a community college. But, like I said, it's something to do.
Capra tells us that, in effect, love's dreams are only dreams and that they will never quite bear translation into practical forms of relationship and expression. They will never be realized in the world but only in our consciousness and in our most daring and glorious works of art - but that, for Capra, is no reason to abandon love's dreams.
--Ray Carney, American Vision: The Films Of Frank Capra

Dtm115300

  • The Vision Quest
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2004, 05:02:08 PM »
0
hey whats a better film school: USC or NYU



also what are the chances of getting in to one of thous schools. It's got to be close to impossable.

Also, one of my friends told me that if you can't get in to one of the top film schools, you should not even try to go to film school.

if i don't get in to USC or NYU i was just thinkning about going to Hofstra or Purchase for film. Is that a bad move?

Delanis

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2005, 10:33:49 PM »
0
Not sure if this is too late for you to use or what, but right now im going to NYU Film.

NYU and USC are different film schools that cater to different tastes. USC is more studio-oriented, while NYU is more independent-oriented. It just depends on your taste in films or filmmaking, i guess.

Which one is better? dunno. NYU has more successful alumni, but there two qualifiers for that. Most of the really famous alum (Scorsese, Lee[both of them], Stone, Coens, Jarmusch, Solondz, what have you) attended the graduate program. People off the top of my head who went undergrad are C. Kaufman Shaymalan, Ratner, Heckerling, and whoever directed Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland. Also, I'm not absolutely certain, but I'm pretty sure that NYU has the largest undergrad film program in the US, 266 film freshmen this year. More students = more chances for having successful alum

Chances of getting in? Don't know about USC, sorry. Although, I hear that their film program, relative to NYU, is much smaller.
NYU, honestly, doesn't seem that competitive to get into. A large portion of the ppl here are just dispassionate rich kids wasting their parents' money. It's around 15-20% acceptance rate(I honestly expected a much lower precentage)

cant help with the third comment

cant help with the fourth, either



im only a freshman, so take what you will.

kotte

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2051
  • camera assistant. camera operator. carnivore.
  • Respect: +9
Re: Film School
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2005, 11:16:12 PM »
0
Scorsese and Lee was grad. students. Much harder to get into as opposed to the undergraduate program, the one Joel Coen attended.

MacGuffin

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 22985
  • Respect: +636
Re: Film School
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2005, 11:39:10 PM »
0
More freshmen in film shooting for NYU
Source: Los Angeles Times
 
For the fabled young dreamer who wanted to get into the movies, there was one direction to go and that was west. Now there are even more kids dreaming the dream, attending summer film schools, editing homemade movies with sophisticated computer equipment and applying to undergraduate film programs. But sometimes the tide flows in the opposite direction; sometimes even those born in the cradle of filmmaking are heading east.

When she was a high school senior, Hannelore Williams didn't even bother to complete the application to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts film program. She wanted the gold standard and applied to USC. Growing up in Culver City, the former home of MGM and current home of Sony Corp.'s Columbia Pictures, she was determined to stay where the action was, which happened to be her own backyard.

But after a year there, Williams transferred to Tisch. "At NYU," she says, "I had the chance to make my own films right away and at the same time experience the world. I mean, where better to do that but in New York?"

Now in her senior year, Williams has made several documentaries and shorts and interned at "Sex and the City," with the Scott Rudin company and at ThinkFilm in New York.

Still, her father, a color timer in postproduction at the studios, asks the question that you can't help wondering: Why would a kid from Tinsel Town go all the way to the other side of the rainbow to learn how to make movies?

Some of the draw is simply New York. Film students, cameras in hand, are known around campus for throwing themselves at this perfect location for someone who wants to breathe and taste all things urban and artsy.

The film school is located in a big building on lower Broadway in Greenwich Village, and one professor in a "Sights and Sounds" class had her students walk to nearby Chelsea to view dozens of works in galleries before she handed out cameras.

The Tisch staff embraces what it calls the "auteur theory" of helping each student develop his or her voice — as if training flutists or painters or a generation of young Jack Kerouacs who would (and probably will) starve for their films. At the school's roots are such directors as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Oliver Stone, who came out of NYU more concerned with trying to get their visions on screen than with conventions of the movie business.

But the staff is also clear that it's not trying to train one kind of filmmaker and that a fair share of the students come to Tisch more eager to learn about making blockbusters than art house fare.

New York has much to teach, whether it's how to secure a police permit to film on a city street or how to hail a cab on a stormy day or how to find a hip club in the far reaches of boroughs. This fall there was even a 10-part reality show, "Film School," about Tisch that aired (where else?) on the Independent Film Channel. The characters were graduate students and, of course, the city itself.

Stronghold challenger

Williams came to NYU for a lot of the same reasons that are driving 1,200 high school seniors to apply for 240 slots in fall's freshman film class at Tisch. About half the slots are already filled with early-decision candidates, and the rest will be decided by early April. Last year about 40 of those slots went to kids from the West Coast.

Which is not to say that there is an exodus going on: USC and other premier film schools in the L.A. area are still flooded with applicants. But there's also no denying that Tisch has established a stronghold in what has been for a long time a Southern California monopoly. Tisch consistently shares first place with USC in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of film schools.

Applicants to the film and TV program at Tisch have to clear two hurdles. First is the creative portfolio. In addition to writing an essay, they must submit 10 minutes of film, 10 photographs, 10 pages of a screenplay, storyboards or photos of paintings or sculptures. Next is the academic review. The students who make the final cut usually have at least a 3.8 grade-point average and an SAT score of 1,350, according to admission officers.

"You have to have the academic chops to cut it," says David Irving, chairman of NYU's undergraduate film and television program. "But a kid with a 1,500 SAT and 4.0 won't get in if he doesn't have the portfolio that says, 'I know this is a difficult process, filmmaking, and I am tenacious. I have things to say.' "

He advises faculty on the portfolio review committee to look closely at the work because he knows the difficulty of comparing an advantaged high school senior who can find $5,000 to make a video short in a summer program with a senior who only has the resources to take 10 pictures of an ashtray. He also tells them to pay particular attention to the essays.

"I'm reading for storytelling skills, the ability to create mystery, twists, turns, all the movie languages," says Irving. "You read a lot of material that is 'Alias' or 'Alien' in a different form, an imitation the student assumes we want. Not!"

Sharon Badal, a Tisch graduate and a former Orion Pictures vice president who has been teaching at Tisch for 10 years, has reviewed about 100 portfolios for the fall. An essay she read by a student who thought she was too cool to take her younger sister to an ice show impressed Badal because it was poignant and vivid.

"Most of the professors think of ourselves as artists, not as producers, directors or cinematographers," she says. "We want kids who we can encourage to also march to their own drum."

Like USC, NYU has had a film program since the early part of the 20th century but only developed a separate school in 1965, seeking to become an incubator for film mavericks. Years later, the beat goes on with such indie and mainstream filmmakers as Jim Jarmusch, Martin Brest, Todd Solondz, Brett Ratner, Ang Lee, Amy Heckerling and Wes Anderson.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


Skeleton FilmWorks

Delanis

  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #40 on: February 01, 2005, 12:24:10 AM »
0
I did say Scorsese and Lee were grad students.

It's extremely difficult to get into the grad program. I think only 24 are admitted per year.

I was pretty sure Joel Coen went to NYU Grad, although, I could be wrong.
My bad on saying Coens, only Joel went.


Sight & Sound, not Sights and Sound.
266 not 240
They don't require 10, just no more than
Also, it's only up to 6 pages for screenplays
Bad reporting
Jesus, I'm feeling a little nit-picky tonight.

One thing I've noticed about NYU is that sometimes they talk about the famous alum that have graduated, but they fail to mention that most of them went thru the grad program.

killafilm

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
  • Respect: 0
Re: Film School
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2005, 11:08:56 PM »
0
I went to a less known "film" school in Orlando.  More of a tech school than something like NYU.  It's kinda hard outside of a film school to be able to pick up an Arri 16mm camera or even a 35mm Panavision.  Directing is one thing, but I'll say that filmmaking is a whole other thing.  Knowing all that goes into film productions is something that I really had no clue of untill actually filming our class projects.

I will however say that I could have done the exact same thing I'm doing now, checking craigslist among other sites trying to get onto crews and learning even more.  So if you don't think film-school is your thing more than likely you'll at least be able to get onto a crew as a PA or even G&E or a boom op or something.  And you really do learn something new with each shoot.

just my 2 cents...

Reinhold

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2452
  • Respect: +3
Re: Film School
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2005, 02:29:58 PM »
0
Quote from: Dtm115300
hey whats a better film school: USC or NYU



also what are the chances of getting in to one of thous schools. It's got to be close to impossable.

Also, one of my friends told me that if you can't get in to one of the top film schools, you should not even try to go to film school.

if i don't get in to USC or NYU i was just thinkning about going to Hofstra or Purchase for film. Is that a bad move?

i go to Purchase. everybody i've talked to loves it. the conservatory is highly sought after and well-respected, but i personally don't think that it's as relevant to the industry as it once was. plus, it's 100 percent geared toward directing.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 12:31:31 AM by Reinhold »
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

MacGuffin

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 22985
  • Respect: +636
Re: Film School
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2006, 05:39:54 PM »
0
10 reasons you shouldn't go to film school
Source: DV Guru

Every aspiring filmmaker asks the age-old question at some point: should I go to film school? Will I be a better filmmaker for it, or will I spend a lot of money on education only to end up taking a job as a waiter to pay off my debt, wishing I'd spent the money on a guerrilla DV short instead? It's a tough question, but unfortunately no one can make the decision for you; the only universal piece of advice anyone can give you is, "it depends." And while I've made my own choice--indeed, my personal site is located at nofilmschool.com--I can see it both ways. Thus this week I'll look at 10 reasons why you should skip the .edu; next week I'll throw out 10 justifications for sending in your application.

First of all, I should note that when I talk about "film school," I don't mean taking a couple of film classes in college; I'm talking about shelling out for a specialized film program like USC/NYU/AFI/etc.

Ten reasons you should not go:

1. Your favorite filmmaker didn't go to film school.
Some of the directors working today who didn't attend are Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze... of course it depends on who your favorite filmmaker is, and plenty of famous directors are film school alumni, among them some of the most decorated. The trio of Spielberg Lucas, Scorcese, and Coppola all went to film school--but that was a different era, before the invention of...

2. Digital Video.
One of the primary reasons to go to film school back when Scorcese et al. attended was to gain access to the tools. 35mm or Super 16 equipment was too expensive to own and celluloid film was much more difficult to shoot on and edit. But nowadays many films showing in theaters (well, indie theaters, at least) are shot with the very same cameras that hundreds of our DVG readers have sitting at home on their desks. The DV revolution has a long way to go, but today the obstacles are more often related to distribution and raw talent, not equipment. Gaining access to a motion-picture camera is no longer a good reason to go to film school; besides...

3. Film school is expensive.
It's easy to justify spending six figures on an education because you're investing in the future. Plus there is a loan structure in place for repaying your debt, and there's a vague promise of a job once you have a degree in hand. But tuition is incredibly expensive, and you'll be paying it off for years to come, unless your last name is Rockefeller. If you think you have a great idea for a film--and that's a big "if," requiring enormous amounts of faith in yourself--then you may be able to produce your project for a whole lot less money than the six figures you'd spend on a degree. And once your labor of love is done, you can distribute your project using...

4. The Internet.
The biggest difference between today and 30 years ago isn't the advent of DV cameras, it's the advent of mass, free distribution like YouTube, iFilm, and a hundred other online sites. You could have all the talent in the world and a DV master of your piece de resistance in hand, but without the ability to put it out there for some recognition, you'd be up the creek. In today's era of amateur filmmakers being snatched up off of YouTube, however, you can be assured that there's an audience out there, there's a way to put your film in front of them, and there's a cadre of scared executives ready to hire anyone who understands kids these days. Another relevant aspect of the internet is the informational aspect; you can find intelligent film reviews, interviews, and forums for discussing movies online, which didn't exist several years ago. All of these things help you find...

5. The Long Tail.
Pre-interweb, it was much more difficult to find niche content that catered to your personal interests; but now, as Chris Anderson has written, even smaller films manage to find an audience, profitably. Even if you're making a niche film about heroin-addicted Latvians who skydive blindfolded while listening to Jethro Tull (actually, that sounds pretty interesting), you can find an audience for it. Ten thousand interested audience members spread across the country won't get your film seen in any one theater, because the geographic concentration of them is far too sparse to sell 100 tickets at any given location, on any given night. But ten thousand interested viewers on the internet means your film can get viewed ten thousand times and passed on many times over, through email, blogs, and myspace. Suddenly you're the authority on terminal-velocity Latvian addicts and have lined up funding for a sequel, without ever stepping foot in film school. And the Long Tail isn't just relevant as a producer, it's also relevant as a student, because...

6. Netflix + books = critical studies.
Classic, avant-garde, and generally obscure films used to be hard to get your hands on. Film school, once upon a time, was a great way to see movies you couldn't see anywhere else. But 90% of the movies you'll see in film school today are available on DVD. Not only that, but instead of having to pay $4/pop to rent them on your own, you can just sign up for an all-you-can-eat DVD rental service like Netflix and watch, rate, review, and queue films to your heart's content. Combine this with a few trips to the local bookstore and some Amazon listmania to get yourself a set of film history and theory books, and you've got a halfway decent critical studies program in your bedroom. That is, assuming you're motivated enough to put in all the work on your own, without grades, peers, and deadlines--which is not easy. Still, you can always...

7. Learn by doing.
Between the corporate video, television, and feature film industries, there are plenty of jobs out there. Rather than paying to learn, you can get paid to learn (Mark Cuban seems to have done okay with that). Regarding film specifically, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach: the disadvantages are that you may not be surrounded by like-minded peers who can give you valuable feedback, you may get on a track that's not of your choosing (instead of being able to focus on one specialty at film school), and you may not have much time outside of your day job to pursue the projects you really want to. The advantages are that you're supporting yourself instead of going into debt, you're building up your resume, and you're gaining an understanding of how the real world works. And learning by doing is better because...

8. You can't teach art. Can you?
At the heart of the "should I go to film school?" question is an even more basic question: can art be taught? No. Yes. A little bit? Who knows. Personally I've always felt that there's something fundamentally disingenuous about teaching how to create. Yes, as a professor you can explain how a piece of art was created, you can further a student's understanding of the art form as a whole, and you can refine a student's technical know-how. But there's no right or wrong way to create. Of course, on the flip side, having a great professor who gives you good feedback and pushes you in the right direction can make the whole film school experience worthwhile (I'll talk about this next week). But many professors teach formula as technique, and you want to make sure it's your own vision on screen, not your professor's. Regardless...

9. Don't study film, study life.
My problem with Hollywood today is not a lack of craft, and my problem with film school is not a lack of theory; both of these areas of expertise are arguably more refined today than they've ever been. But what's mostly missing in Hollywood today is the writing--what's actually being said--and while they can teach you in school how to say what you've got to say, they can't tell you what to say. If film school costs $100k, I'd say you'd be better off traveling the world, reading a lot of books, doing volunteer work, and meeting a lot of people along the way. If you skip film school to travel the world and you're insecure about your understanding of the 180-degree rule, read the Wikipedia entry on it and be on your way. If, in the course of your travels, you discover that you're not interested in being a filmmaker after all, that's probably for the better too, because you would've realized that eventually, even if you got your degree in film. Because ultimately, when it comes to filmmaking...

10. You either have it or you don't.
Barry Diller said recently that "talent always outs." That is, if you're talented, you'll eventually make it, regardless of whatever obstacles you encounter along the way. Film school can help you become a better filmmaker--it can refine what's already there--but if you don't have the raw creativity, ability, and motivation from the start, you're doomed even if you've got a degree in hand. Conversely, if you've got what it takes, you'll eventually make it, whether you go to film school or not. This is why there's no right or wrong answer to the film school question; it's reductive, but... you either have it or you don't.

Next week I'll be posting ten reasons to enroll.

http://www.dvguru.com/2006/10/11/10-reasons-you-shouldnt-go-to-film-school/
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


Skeleton FilmWorks

Pubrick

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 12170
  • Lynchian identity mystery
  • Respect: +769
Re: Film School
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2006, 02:47:11 AM »
0
10 reasons you shouldn't go to film school
Source: DV Guru

Every aspiring filmmaker asks the age-old question at some point: should I go to film school? Will I be a better filmmaker for it, or will I spend a lot of money on education only to end up taking a job as a waiter to pay off my debt, wishing I'd spent the money on a guerrilla DV short instead? It's a tough question, but unfortunately no one can make the decision for you; the only universal piece of advice anyone can give you is, "it depends." And while I've made my own choice--indeed, my personal site is located at nofilmschool.com--I can see it both ways. Thus this week I'll look at 10 reasons why you should skip the .edu; next week I'll throw out 10 justifications for sending in your application.

First of all, I should note that when I talk about "film school," I don't mean taking a couple of film classes in college; I'm talking about shelling out for a specialized film program like USC/NYU/AFI/etc.

Ten reasons you should not go:

1. Your favorite filmmaker didn't go to film school.
Some of the directors working today who didn't attend are Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze... of course it depends on who your favorite filmmaker is, and plenty of famous directors are film school alumni, among them some of the most decorated. The trio of Spielberg Lucas, Scorcese, and Coppola all went to film school--but that was a different era, before the invention of...

2. Digital Video.
One of the primary reasons to go to film school back when Scorcese et al. attended was to gain access to the tools. 35mm or Super 16 equipment was too expensive to own and celluloid film was much more difficult to shoot on and edit. But nowadays many films showing in theaters (well, indie theaters, at least) are shot with the very same cameras that hundreds of our DVG readers have sitting at home on their desks. The DV revolution has a long way to go, but today the obstacles are more often related to distribution and raw talent, not equipment. Gaining access to a motion-picture camera is no longer a good reason to go to film school; besides...

3. Film school is expensive.
It's easy to justify spending six figures on an education because you're investing in the future. Plus there is a loan structure in place for repaying your debt, and there's a vague promise of a job once you have a degree in hand. But tuition is incredibly expensive, and you'll be paying it off for years to come, unless your last name is Rockefeller. If you think you have a great idea for a film--and that's a big "if," requiring enormous amounts of faith in yourself--then you may be able to produce your project for a whole lot less money than the six figures you'd spend on a degree. And once your labor of love is done, you can distribute your project using...

4. The Internet.
The biggest difference between today and 30 years ago isn't the advent of DV cameras, it's the advent of mass, free distribution like YouTube, iFilm, and a hundred other online sites. You could have all the talent in the world and a DV master of your piece de resistance in hand, but without the ability to put it out there for some recognition, you'd be up the creek. In today's era of amateur filmmakers being snatched up off of YouTube, however, you can be assured that there's an audience out there, there's a way to put your film in front of them, and there's a cadre of scared executives ready to hire anyone who understands kids these days. Another relevant aspect of the internet is the informational aspect; you can find intelligent film reviews, interviews, and forums for discussing movies online, which didn't exist several years ago. All of these things help you find...

5. The Long Tail.
Pre-interweb, it was much more difficult to find niche content that catered to your personal interests; but now, as Chris Anderson has written, even smaller films manage to find an audience, profitably. Even if you're making a niche film about heroin-addicted Latvians who skydive blindfolded while listening to Jethro Tull (actually, that sounds pretty interesting), you can find an audience for it. Ten thousand interested audience members spread across the country won't get your film seen in any one theater, because the geographic concentration of them is far too sparse to sell 100 tickets at any given location, on any given night. But ten thousand interested viewers on the internet means your film can get viewed ten thousand times and passed on many times over, through email, blogs, and myspace. Suddenly you're the authority on terminal-velocity Latvian addicts and have lined up funding for a sequel, without ever stepping foot in film school. And the Long Tail isn't just relevant as a producer, it's also relevant as a student, because...

6. Netflix + books = critical studies.
Classic, avant-garde, and generally obscure films used to be hard to get your hands on. Film school, once upon a time, was a great way to see movies you couldn't see anywhere else. But 90% of the movies you'll see in film school today are available on DVD. Not only that, but instead of having to pay $4/pop to rent them on your own, you can just sign up for an all-you-can-eat DVD rental service like Netflix and watch, rate, review, and queue films to your heart's content. Combine this with a few trips to the local bookstore and some Amazon listmania to get yourself a set of film history and theory books, and you've got a halfway decent critical studies program in your bedroom. That is, assuming you're motivated enough to put in all the work on your own, without grades, peers, and deadlines--which is not easy. Still, you can always...

7. Learn by doing.
Between the corporate video, television, and feature film industries, there are plenty of jobs out there. Rather than paying to learn, you can get paid to learn (Mark Cuban seems to have done okay with that). Regarding film specifically, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach: the disadvantages are that you may not be surrounded by like-minded peers who can give you valuable feedback, you may get on a track that's not of your choosing (instead of being able to focus on one specialty at film school), and you may not have much time outside of your day job to pursue the projects you really want to. The advantages are that you're supporting yourself instead of going into debt, you're building up your resume, and you're gaining an understanding of how the real world works. And learning by doing is better because...

8. You can't teach art. Can you?
At the heart of the "should I go to film school?" question is an even more basic question: can art be taught? No. Yes. A little bit? Who knows. Personally I've always felt that there's something fundamentally disingenuous about teaching how to create. Yes, as a professor you can explain how a piece of art was created, you can further a student's understanding of the art form as a whole, and you can refine a student's technical know-how. But there's no right or wrong way to create. Of course, on the flip side, having a great professor who gives you good feedback and pushes you in the right direction can make the whole film school experience worthwhile (I'll talk about this next week). But many professors teach formula as technique, and you want to make sure it's your own vision on screen, not your professor's. Regardless...

9. Don't study film, study life.
My problem with Hollywood today is not a lack of craft, and my problem with film school is not a lack of theory; both of these areas of expertise are arguably more refined today than they've ever been. But what's mostly missing in Hollywood today is the writing--what's actually being said--and while they can teach you in school how to say what you've got to say, they can't tell you what to say. If film school costs $100k, I'd say you'd be better off traveling the world, reading a lot of books, doing volunteer work, and meeting a lot of people along the way. If you skip film school to travel the world and you're insecure about your understanding of the 180-degree rule, read the Wikipedia entry on it and be on your way. If, in the course of your travels, you discover that you're not interested in being a filmmaker after all, that's probably for the better too, because you would've realized that eventually, even if you got your degree in film. Because ultimately, when it comes to filmmaking...

10. You either have it or you don't.
Barry Diller said recently that "talent always outs." That is, if you're talented, you'll eventually make it, regardless of whatever obstacles you encounter along the way. Film school can help you become a better filmmaker--it can refine what's already there--but if you don't have the raw creativity, ability, and motivation from the start, you're doomed even if you've got a degree in hand. Conversely, if you've got what it takes, you'll eventually make it, whether you go to film school or not. This is why there's no right or wrong answer to the film school question; it's reductive, but... you either have it or you don't.

Next week I'll be posting ten reasons to enroll.

http://www.dvguru.com/2006/10/11/10-reasons-you-shouldnt-go-to-film-school/

he's right, don't do it.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

 

DMCA & Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy