Common Myths About Film School
Are you an aspiring filmmaker considering going to film school to learn to be a film director, film producer, or film editor? Filmmaking has become a very popular career choice in recent years, and if you go to film school, you’re likely to find plenty of other people anxious to get their “big break” in film.
However, film schools are generally expensive, and attending one is no guarantee of success in this competitive field. Before you go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to attend one of these schools, some “straight talk” is in order. Let’s talk about some common misperceptions about film schools in general.
MYTH: A DEGREE/DIPLOMA IS NECESSARY TO HAVING A CAREER IN FILM.
It might come as a surprise to learn that the film industry places very little value overall on degrees and diplomas. In fact, a significant number of notable filmmakers have never attended film school at all—David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan among them.
MYTH: FILM SCHOOL WILL IMPROVE MY CHANCES FOR SUCCESS.
Many people mistakenly believe that, as is the case with many other professions, receiving formal training in film will increase one’s credibility in the job market. This is simply not true. In this business, prior experience and inside connections will give you much more “street cred” than a college degree. Formal education does not impress film people—proven results do.
MYTH: FILM SCHOOL WILL HELP CONNECT ME TO THE FILM INDUSTRY.
Many young filmmakers are greatly disappointed when they come to the end of their film school education and discover they are no better connected to the film industry than when they started. Most film schools train their students in isolated, self-contained environments where they have little or no contact with the actual film industry.
What does this all mean for you? Getting educated is important, but film school alone does not hold the answer to your success. You need more than just an education; you also need some work experience and some connections to break into film. The best way to do this, according to many film professionals, is to extern in an actual film production company, learning the ropes by working on real films. One way to do this is to enroll in a film school that uses the mentor-extern approach to education, like Film Connection. This type of school places you in a real film production company (instead of a classroom), where you receive one-on-one instruction and mentoring from an actual working filmmaker. Not only does this type of program help you gain the experience and connections you need by giving you direct access to the industry, but it also is one of the most affordable ways to learn.
When trying to launch a film career, don’t let common misperceptions interfere with your common sense. Play it smart, and choose a film school that will give you real exposure to the film industry itself.