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How Filmmaking School Can Help or Hurt You

01/02/2012

If you’re looking for a good filmmaker school to attend, you’re in good company. Filmmaking is a popular career choice these days, and some of the better-known film schools often practice a selective enrollment process and maintain waiting lists.


If you manage to get accepted in one of these schools, however, there are some things you ought to know before signing on the dotted line and spending all that money. You need to keep a proper perspective when it comes to your film education, and you need to recognize that no matter how prestigious the school might be, attending it is no guarantee of success in the film industry. The irony of film school education is that there are many film school graduates who never get their break—while there are many successful producers and directors out there who never even went to film school!


The fact is, there are actually advantages and disadvantages to attending filmmaker school—ways that it can either help you or hurt you. Let’s take a look:


WAYS THAT FILMMAKER SCHOOL CAN HELP YOU:

  • It can give you an education. Most film schools are fairly successful in teaching you the basic technical skills of filmmaking, and how to get a movie made.
  • It can teach you good habits and a good work ethic. School tends to do that, anyhow. You have to work in order to succeed.
  • It can build confidence. Graduating from film school is an accomplishment that can build confidence in you for the future.


Now let’s look at the other side of the coin…


WAYS THAT FILMMAKER SCHOOL CAN HURT YOU:

  • It can weigh you down with student debt. Many film schools are quite expensive, and most people have to go into debt to attend them. This means you are likely to be carrying a mountain of debt when you graduate, just when you need the financial freedom to start your career.
  • It can prevent you from obtaining real-life experience and the industry connections you will need. Traditional education takes place in isolated environments, away from the “real world.” The film industry, ironically, is all about real-world experience and connections. It doesn’t matter how “good” the film school is—if you don’t have connections and experience, it’s very difficult to get a job in film.


Here’s the point with all this. Becoming a success in film basically requires you to have an education, work experience, and industry connections. Most film schools only cover the education part, leaving you to figure out the other two for yourself. Film school can hurt you rather than help you if it is too expensive and/or does not help you gain the experience and connections you need. However, if you find a film program that can help with the experience and connections, that would be a filmmaker school that can help you rather than hurt you.

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