An Alternative Kind of Film Producer School



05/29/2012

Are you trying to decide on a film producer school to attend in pursuit of your dream of becoming a movie producer? There are certainly a lot of film schools to choose from these days, ranging from advanced university degree programs to trade school courses lasting a few months, and costing anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000 to complete. How do you know which type of film program is right for you? (Or are any of them right for you?)


The choice may be different from person to person, but in your case, as an aspiring film producer, you really need more than the average film school education is going to give you. A producer, after all, has to know more than just the technical skills of how to make movies; a producer must have leadership skills, administrative skills, problem-solving skills, and more. Perhaps most importantly, it requires networking skills, and a good base of industry connections. As a producer, it’s your job to do what it takes to get the movie made, and that requires knowing lots of people in the industry. For a film producer, connections are key.


The problem with most film schools is that they conduct all their training in isolated, on-campus environments, where they are essentially disconnected from the film industry itself. As a result, many of them graduate with no job prospects (because most of the hiring done in the film industry is based on connections). This can be especially problematic for a film producer, who needs connections even more than the average person who works in film.


The thing is, as a film producer, you need more than just an education; you need to get connected to the industry, as well. This is why you may need an alternative type of film producer school, one that will enable you to make those connections as well as prepare you for all aspects of a producing career.


One excellent alternative is to attend a school that uses the mentor-apprentice (extern) approach. This kind of school (Film Connection, for example) is entirely based on the concept of apprenticeship (externship), so conventional classrooms are non-existent. Instead, as a student in a mentor-apprentice (extern) school, you are placed inside an actual film production company and paired with a seasoned film professional who becomes your personal mentor. As you follow the curriculum, you’ll also be given the chance to focus on your particular needs as a future film producer, and because you are learning the ropes from inside the industry, you’ll also have the chance to make lots of connections that you couldn’t make in a “normal” film school.


Breaking into a film career is difficult enough without wasting time on education that really won’t help you achieve your goals. This is why as a future film producer, you should choose a film producer school that will actually plug you into the industry.