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Which Filmmaking Schools Are the Best?

01/03/2012

It’s very common for new filmmakers (or those interested in film careers) to want to attend the best filmmaking schools in pursuit of their dream. The big question, though, is: which are actually the best? What makes one film school better than the others: equipment, learning methods, price? And is a highly-rated film school necessarily the best school for you?


To lend some perspective here, let’s start with a few facts about film education and the film industry in general:


FACT: A degree or diploma is unnecessary for a successful film career. You’d be surprised, actually, at how uninterested potential film industry employers will be in your degree. They don’t care where, or if, you went to one of these filmmaking schools; they simply want to know whether you have the chops to do the job.


FACT: Many successful film directors never attended film school. The list is surprisingly long, and includes such names as David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, and Quentin Tarantino. Even Steven Spielberg, who began film school, did not finish it before starting his career. (He eventually got around to finishing film school 30 years after he started.)


FACT: An education from a high-priced filmmaking school doesn’t improve your chances for success. Beyond an education, you also need some real-world experience and inside connections to have a film industry career. Without these, you won’t be successful, no matter how expensive your film education is.


FACT: There is nothing you can learn in film school that you can’t learn on real film productions. This is still how many people learn the film business, and many industry pros still believe it’s the best way to learn.


With all these factors suggesting that filmmaking schools are not even all that relevant, does it even matter which ones are the “best?”


The point is not that you don’t need film school, but rather that film school should only be a means to an end, not an end in itself. If you want to be a successful film producer or film director, your goal should not be to earn a film degree, but to have a film career. To do that, you need an education, some experience, and some industry connections; whether you get those three things by going to film school, or whether you get them on your own, is truly irrelevant.  The important thing is that education, experience and connections all come into place for you.


When considering your education options, then, don’t just look at lists and reviews to find out which schools are the best. Remember that ultimately, the best filmmaking schools are the ones that can give you the education, experience and connections you need in order to succeed.

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