Finding the Best Film School for You
These days, it’s fairly easy to find a film school to attend; it’s not so easy to narrow the choices down to the best film school for you. Contrary to common belief, the most expensive film school isn’t necessarily the best; neither is it the school with the largest amount of equipment, or the longest wait list.
Actually, most film schools can teach you the technical skills of filmmaking, but what makes a school truly worth the money is whether the school can help plug you in to the film industry itself. This is an asset that is fairly rare, because most film programs train their students in on-campus production facilities where they can’t make industry connections.
WHY CONNECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT
The film industry is not like other fields where a college degree or diploma adds credibility to a job candidate. In fact, many film school graduates are dismayed to discover that no one really cares that they earned a degree! Rather, the film industry tends to hire people based on their previous job experience, and even more importantly, based on the recommendations of others in the business. In short—the film industry runs on connections. You need to know people in order to get hired—and people need to know you.
Regrettably, because most film schools don’t give their students a chance to make these connections, many of them graduate with virtually no job prospects—and many never manage to break in. This is the case with even some of the most popular film schools, and it is why you can’t judge a film school on academics or equipment alone.
The best film school for you, then, is one that can teach you the ropes in a practical way, while enabling you to connect to the film industry—and hopefully do so without costing an arm and a leg in the process.
To that end, one option to consider is a film school that utilizes the mentor-extern method of instruction. Many film professionals believe the best way to learn filmmaking is “on the set”—that is, learning the ropes during actual film productions. This is certainly the best place to make connections, as well. Thus, a mentor-extern film school will actually place you as an extern in a real film production company, and pair you with a working film professional who will train you privately, one-on-one. Even more significantly, this type of education is far more affordable than its competition, sometimes as much as 75% less than other film schools.
Don’t be fooled by high-priced tuitions or long wait lists. Learning to make film doesn’t require a college degree program. The best film school for you will be one that connects you while it educates you.