Choice of School

DerekFlagge

New member
I'm in school right now at a community college in south florida. PBCC, my school has a film program for an associates degree thats actually pretty nice for a community college film progam.


The question is, should I be looking towards a traditional university for a degree such as USC, NYU, FSU, etc, or should I be looking towards any school that has a film degree? Does a degree really matter that much?


Full Sail, the art school has has massive recognition in film in the past two years and has a film program that is half the price of NYU or USC (72,000) and it only takes 21 months to get your bachelors in Film. Less than two years!


The only difference is it doesn't have any pre requisites you have to finish to get your degree.


So the major question, yet again is, should I be looking towards a traditional Uni or an art school, specifically Full Sail because it has the highest recognition of any of them?


I just dont want to make the wrong choice when working towards anything in the motion picture entertainment industry as far as paper degrees and schools
 

Mr Taylor

New member
Ok, I will give you mine.
But remember, in the end only you can choose what's right for you.
After all, you suffer or gain the most depending upon the luck of your choice.
I am in New Zealand, so it's not the same as Florida.

First; can I say that I have a friend who left school at 15 to work in a mall, now he is worth many millions of dollars.
He learned the ropes then started his own company. Not one single qualification. It was in his blood to be mega-rich.

Can I also say that I know a girl who gets twice the pay of people around her simply because the pay scales in that company are dictated by qualifications not by ability. No matter how well her peers do, they can not get paid what she gets paid because thay do not have the paper.

The magic environment:
Some University intakes, in some years, in some places, just get that right "group dynamic" to make them magic.
It might be about the selction of the right people, it might be about the group dynamic of all the wrong people.
If you are in one of these years you will be inspired.
I think that George Lucas was in one of those years.
If you are not in one of those years, you will have to self motivate more.

Finally can I say that an employer shares a common bond with people from the same university. It's like you have a common ground to work from. You both remember eating in the food hall or how mean the parking warderns were.

Being a natural:
Natural talent is not given out to everyone equally.
If you have it, you will not see it.
Everyone around you will.
If you have natural talent, you may waste it by not working hard to perfect it.
If you have only a little talent, you will be able to overtake a lazy talented person, but never match a hard working talented person.
It seems unfair, but hey, I dont make the rules.

hope this helps.
 

jodymichelle

Senior Member
Staff member
what is your career path?

what is your career path?

Derek, you're hilarious. You say, "32 people read this and not one person can say their opinion?" (Well, now it's about 53+ views!) I'll be the 2nd person to give an opinion, lol.

School is ultimately up to you. No one wants to tell you what to do because it's your decision to make :). A lot of prospective college students will make their decisions based on campus, atmosphere, culture, social aspects, and what comes with the social experience of it all, and "where they will be living" for 2 to 4+ years. Some people consider the prestige of the school. For others, a huge decision-maker can be programs and equipment, and what kinds of equipment/facilities are available for students to use. Some prospective college students also look at the networking aspects, if there are any, and internship opportunities, and if any, career assistance.

While you're still in community college, I highly recommend that before you choose a film school to transfer to, you should spend enough time looking into schools, if possible, attending open houses, if possible, speaking with school advisors and asking all your 101 questions about the film programs, equipment/facilities, internship opportunities and career assistance. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Whether you choose a traditional university or art school, I'll say what everyone else says - no matter what industry, field, or branch of the field - you need to be able to gain (in some way, shape, or form) experience while you're attending school. It's very important to look for and take advantage of internship opportunities, whether paying or non-paying. Don't refuse to take non-paying gigs, these can open doors and opportunities. But also look for paying gigs. Don't rely only on your school alone for internship opportunities, do your due diligence to find and get internships and opportunities to work on projects.

I highly suggest drafting a career plan / career path ASAP. Update it every now and then. This will help you choose, traditional university or art school, and will help you make selections when you come to other forks on the road.
 

sonofaresiii

New member
I go to NYU, so maybe I can help here--

Can't speak for the other schools, but if you decide to go to NYU, you should know that you're paying ridiculous amounts of money for connections, nothing more. The education is okay, but you can do much better keeping your money, funding your own films and making them on your own. the experience will be better. Or spend a year or two working on other people's films as AD or travel around going to workshops and interning for production companies. Essentially, if you're looking to learn how to make films, there are cheaper ways to do it.

BUT

those connections you pay for are really, really good. You've got ridiculous resources at your disposal. There's listserves that big names in the industry post to offering internships and job opportunities. The professors are all crazy respected and big names, they'll spend time to know you personally, to talk to you about whatever you want, to help you with your films or anything else oyu need, even giving recommendations or setting you up with their friends in the business. The reputation from having gone to NYU will set you SO far ahead from anyone else with a degree if you're trying to land a job in the business.

So it's up to you. Are you going to need those resources and connections? Or do you believe all you need is talent? Personally, I think to really get known, it's about the people you know, not what you know. Every now and then someone gets a crazy lucky break on their own... but most people climb the ladder.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
you get what you pay for is sometimes true

you get what you pay for is sometimes true

Photos Taken from Our Recent Event, the
"Lighting to Create a Mood Workshop" with Peter Stein, ASC. He teaches at NYU and this man knows what he is talking about to a T. he can tell you tricks and things from his and his fathers professional career that put you ahead of the pack. NYU is and excellent school and you get to make connections. Why do you think those connections are there in the first place? I do believe you can learn in your own back yard but still... sometimes the fact is you are need direction and insight from people who really know what they are doing.

http://www.studentfilmmakers.com/wo...te-a-Mood-Workshop-with-Peter-Stein-ASC.shtml
 

jodymichelle

Senior Member
Staff member
I came upon these dates for Open Houses and Enrollment Week.

I came upon these dates for Open Houses and Enrollment Week.

I'm always reading about 100 news articles and press releases per day (minimum! and not without happy coffee, of course!), and this morning coincidentally came across these Open House and Enrollment Week Events. I'll most likely come across more very soon, but here's a few to get you started:


Open House Event
Center for Digital Imaging Arts (CDIA) at Boston University
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Location(s): Waltham, MA and Washington, DC Campuses
RSVP:
RSVP online here for the Waltham, MA campus:
http://cdiabu.com/register-openhouse-ma.php
RSVP online here for the Washington, DC campus:
http://cdiabu.com/register-openhouse-dc.php
Request more info:
http://cdiabu.com/info/sfmm/cdiadf.html


Open House Event
Columbia College Hollywood
Date: August 21, 2009
Time: 11am to 4pm
Location: Tarzana, CA campus
RSVP:
Call (800) 785-0585, or email: rsvp [ at ] columbiacollege [ dot ] edu
Request more info:
http://www.columbiacollege.edu/requestinfo.php


Enrollment Week
Five Towns College
Dates: August 17 through August 24,2009
Times: 10am to 4pm
Request more info:
Call (631) 656-2110 or click here:
http://www.ftc.edu/contactform.php








------------------------------------
Visit My Networking Webpage at:
networking.studentfilmmakers.com/jodymichelle

Get Your Own Free Networking Webpage at:
networking.studentfilmmakers.com/jodymichelle
 

DerekFlagge

New member
my problem

my problem

I go to NYU, so maybe I can help here--

Can't speak for the other schools, but if you decide to go to NYU, you should know that you're paying ridiculous amounts of money for connections, nothing more. The education is okay, but you can do much better keeping your money, funding your own films and making them on your own. the experience will be better. Or spend a year or two working on other people's films as AD or travel around going to workshops and interning for production companies. Essentially, if you're looking to learn how to make films, there are cheaper ways to do it.

BUT

those connections you pay for are really, really good. You've got ridiculous resources at your disposal. There's listserves that big names in the industry post to offering internships and job opportunities. The professors are all crazy respected and big names, they'll spend time to know you personally, to talk to you about whatever you want, to help you with your films or anything else oyu need, even giving recommendations or setting you up with their friends in the business. The reputation from having gone to NYU will set you SO far ahead from anyone else with a degree if you're trying to land a job in the business.

So it's up to you. Are you going to need those resources and connections? Or do you believe all you need is talent? Personally, I think to really get known, it's about the people you know, not what you know. Every now and then someone gets a crazy lucky break on their own... but most people climb the ladder.
the problem with NYU for me is, I dont have a scholarship or the grades to get into a school like that. I have almost a 3.0 GPA, I never took my SAT or ACT because I didnt need them and like I said, I dont have a scholarship for a 150,000 Degree haha. Full Sail offers a bachelors for about 80,000 but it isnt even a hugely recognized school and thats a lot to throw away. I also have the option to go to the school im at now for 2 years, grab an associates in film and then transfer to University of Central Florida for a Bachelors....problem is, UCF isnt a hugely recognized school in film either BUT is in Orlando so it isnt in a bad spot considering they film in orlando and universal studios are there too
 

DerekFlagge

New member
!

!

I'm always reading about 100 news articles and press releases per day (minimum! and not without happy coffee, of course!), and this morning coincidentally came across these Open House and Enrollment Week Events. I'll most likely come across more very soon, but here's a few to get you started:


Open House Event
Center for Digital Imaging Arts (CDIA) at Boston University
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Location(s): Waltham, MA and Washington, DC Campuses
RSVP:
RSVP online here for the Waltham, MA campus:
http://cdiabu.com/register-openhouse-ma.php
RSVP online here for the Washington, DC campus:
http://cdiabu.com/register-openhouse-dc.php
Request more info:
http://cdiabu.com/info/sfmm/cdiadf.html


Open House Event
Columbia College Hollywood
Date: August 21, 2009
Time: 11am to 4pm
Location: Tarzana, CA campus
RSVP:
Call (800) 785-0585, or email: rsvp [ at ] columbiacollege [ dot ] edu
Request more info:
http://www.columbiacollege.edu/requestinfo.php


Enrollment Week
Five Towns College
Dates: August 17 through August 24,2009
Times: 10am to 4pm
Request more info:
Call (631) 656-2110 or click here:
http://www.ftc.edu/contactform.php








------------------------------------
Visit My Networking Webpage at:
networking.studentfilmmakers.com/jodymichelle

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networking.studentfilmmakers.com/jodymichelle
SEE! Look at the Columbia College of Hollywood. That school is basically charging 80,000 for a bachelors degree in Film just like Full Sail and is also an art school just like full sail. Difference is that it is in Hollywood so you have a better chance of getting an internship or job rather than being in Florida after graduating..Maybe I should just go for the degree somewhere in Cali?


My major concern is that I have this financial aid my mom paid for when i was little. She finished paying it off like 6 years ago and what it does is, it pays for all my schooling up to 4 years, so basically a bachelors degree. So its like 90% paid for if I go to any school IN FLORIDA. The thing is, for my degree and career florida is a horrible place to graduate or live because there is no film industry here except for Miami or Orlando but i live 1 hour from Miami and 3 hours from Orlando and theres not much going on there internship wise. In general there is nowhere like California or New York to live so should I just go for it and move to NY or Cali after figuring out a school there?

We have FSU here in Florida but FSU is like IMPOSSIBLE to get into because you have to start your film degree in their school and take 27 credits of liberal arts AT FSU and I have 0 credits AT FSU haha.
 

DerekFlagge

New member
Ok, I will give you mine.
But remember, in the end only you can choose what's right for you.
After all, you suffer or gain the most depending upon the luck of your choice.
I am in New Zealand, so it's not the same as Florida.

First; can I say that I have a friend who left school at 15 to work in a mall, now he is worth many millions of dollars.
He learned the ropes then started his own company. Not one single qualification. It was in his blood to be mega-rich.

Can I also say that I know a girl who gets twice the pay of people around her simply because the pay scales in that company are dictated by qualifications not by ability. No matter how well her peers do, they can not get paid what she gets paid because thay do not have the paper.

The magic environment:
Some University intakes, in some years, in some places, just get that right "group dynamic" to make them magic.
It might be about the selction of the right people, it might be about the group dynamic of all the wrong people.
If you are in one of these years you will be inspired.
I think that George Lucas was in one of those years.
If you are not in one of those years, you will have to self motivate more.

Finally can I say that an employer shares a common bond with people from the same university. It's like you have a common ground to work from. You both remember eating in the food hall or how mean the parking warderns were.

Being a natural:
Natural talent is not given out to everyone equally.
If you have it, you will not see it.
Everyone around you will.
If you have natural talent, you may waste it by not working hard to perfect it.
If you have only a little talent, you will be able to overtake a lazy talented person, but never match a hard working talented person.
It seems unfair, but hey, I dont make the rules.

hope this helps.
I have a natural talent of making people laugh and thinking artistically as much as i can see. Mostly the making people laugh part haha. BUT I could always learn the ropes and try to do things myself without school but a bachelors degree in film will always make me do better in film because ill be chosen before everyone who doesnt have that unless i really really really know someone on a personal friend level that is huge in the film industry, which I dont.
 

Mr Taylor

New member
Yes I see what you mean.
The cost seems to be the main problem.
The whole equation is weighted to a local school with a weaker connection to the movie world...oh I don't know though...check out who your tutors will be...you might be surprised.
Ps if you have relatives or friends of the family Living in California...you might be able to get your practical work far away from your studies...?
Good luck.
 
Last edited:

jodymichelle

Senior Member
Staff member
go to school

go to school

I see what you're saying about financial aid and location. At this stage, what might help you is speaking with advisors from the schools you listed that are in Florida, because it will help you to keep moving in the right direction and come to a decision that you are confident and happy with.

What you DON'T want to do is stop dead in your tracks just because you have these sets of pros and cons to work with.

I definitely think it's important to get a degree, but just as important is getting the right kind of experience. And which school you go to, I don't think will necessarily be a making or breaking factor. It's what you do with your opportunities.

[Aside] One of my favorite quotes is, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." ~Thomas Edison


------------------------------------
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temerson

New member
I'm going to offer the words of wisdom that helped me out.

First of all, it does NOT matter where you live right now or where you want to go to school -- depending on what you want to do. I live in Wichita, Kansas USA. Never worked on the coasts. But in my time here, I've gotten to work with two Academy Award nominees, and multiple Emmy winners. Heck, one of my good friends and partners won a BAFTA for his cinematography work. One of my other friends produced the Meg Ryan movie that came out last year, "The Deal." And right now, I've got a script in the hands of one of the top-tier boutique agencies in Los Angeles. Not one of these connections did I make at any school that I've attended. All those connections are the ones I made by simply going to film festivals and volunteering. Which goes to show that if you are outspoken, friendly, courteous, and genuine, people will get behind you. Yeah, universities and film schools may help with connections. But coming out of those, you are a student. Doing it on your own, you are a filmmaker.

But that's beside the point. Getting to what I was talking about. I started out in film school. I knew from the time I was 15 I wanted to go to film school. So, after three years, I went to the one I could afford and that was close to home. Not to mention it was ranked in the Top 10 public university film departments in the nation (among the Florida States and the University of Texas-type schools). I went there. I was miserable. I got so inundated with film that I just got sick of it. Aside from a separate group of issues that have since been resolved, I got so sick and tired of playing the "film school" game in addition to the "university bureaucracy" game, that I gave up and -- to make a long story short -- was ejected from the university.

I came back home, thinking that everything was done for -- ruined. I did odd jobs for two years -- worked on a christmas tree farm, taught at a special ed clinic, legal assistant at a law firm, resurrected former meth labs to be able to sell the houses to law-abiding citizens. Finally, after two years I decided I was sick of doing these kinds of jobs and wanted to go back to school. I went to go see one of my friends. She and her husband are older (he is one of the Academy Award nominees I described earlier), they both worked through the Hollywood of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and well into the 1990s. She worked closely with Robert Altman for years before she finally retired. I told her I was wanting to get back into school, but I didn't know if I wanted to go to film school. I asked her if I needed to go to film school, or if I could just get a degree in communications, or what I needed to do. Her advice blew me away at the time.

"Don't go anywhere NEAR film school." She explained to me that when she was working for Altman, they would get STACKS of resumes from people wanting to work on the movies, mostly as Production Assistants, since that's where you start out. She told me that if they got a resume from somebody who did not have professional experience and had just graduated from film school, their resume went straight to the bottom of the pile. She explained to me that the way films are made and taught in academia is COMPLETELY different from the way they are made in the professional land of the "real" film makers. She told me that producers did not want to take the time to have to re-teach everything people learned in film school, especially when the end result for the movie was a matter of box office success and not just a grade from some professor who couldn't hack it in the real filmmaking world anyway. She explained that there is a bias in the industry establishment heavily against film school grads and academia -- they think to be an Oscar winner you need a degree. Professionals know that to be an Oscar winner you need the most votes. They would rather have kids who got degrees in things that were entirely NOT film related or who had NO university experience at ALL! So, I decided to go back to school and get my degree in political science...

Film schools teach film as an abstract concept it seems. In the university system, they teach screenwriting and directing -- two "skills" that do not require training so much as they require raw talent. You can either write, or you can't. You are either a good director, or you aren't.

But the conservatory programs (like Full Sail or New York Film Academy) are different. They teach skills like you would get at a technical college. You learn cinematography. You learn sound production. You learn grip. You learn how to be a script supervisor, or an assistant director, or an editor or even the art of producing. They teach skills, not film. One of my cinematography friends got his degree from Full Sail. He didn't get a degree in "film." His was a technical degree in cinematography. One of my other friends did the One Year Producing Program at New York Film Academy and ended up getting to pitch several projects and producing two reality shows. Those degrees seemed to mean something, while the university degrees did not.

And if it is a question of paying to go to school, knowing that the degree in and of itself is not going to mean anything -- if it means going to a university because they have resources for a career path as well as production, and connections can be made, then GO THERE! Just go knowing that you are going for the connections and the facilities, not the education or the piece of paper.

If you want to get your foot in the door, find an area that you enjoy and find an apprenticeship.

If you want to be a grip, an editor, a sound mixer go to a conservatory like Full Sail.

If you want to be a producer, check out one of the One or Two Year programs at New York Film Academy.

If you want to be a producer, an assistant director, a UPM go into the DGA's apprenticeship program.

If you want to be a writer/directer, go to a standard liberal arts college and get a degree in nothing that has to do with film.

If you want to be a writer/director, go to a "film" school and get a degree in film on the condition that the film school you are going to has connections to get you into a job after you graduate.

That's my two cents, anyway.
 

DerekFlagge

New member
Stay in PBCC to get your general education classes out of the way.
Full Sail charges their students $1000's of dollars for gen ed classes that cost $100 of dollars if not given free sometimes in community colleges. Save yourself the money. Don't forget Full Sail is a private institution and they will charge like any other private school will charge you, so don't expect their classes to be cheap.

You learn so much more from real professionals, who are actually working in the field, versus some loser instructor, and trust me their are plenty of them at FS, that only have a year or two in the field, no professional experience, and get pulled in through some connection to be an instructor. I've seen it happen time and time again, and I have personal friends with very little credits, that have been Associate Course Directors and Course Directors at this program.

Kim was right, Peter Stein, from the NYU graduate program was an amazing teacher. The seminar cost me nothing, cause I helped Peter as his assistant, and I was stoked afterwards, because of all the information I learned for FREE. You can't just be like, I know how to edit and shoot, so know I am going to teach it. You need to know how to teach, and that is not something I feel Full Sail doesn't stress enough when they hire their instructors.

yes, Full Sail has the gear that is top of the line, yes it has really nice presence on the outside, but don't forget to take a look on the inside.
Ask what the program directors, Dave Franko, have ever done. Or better yet, the Production Department Chairman Rick Ramsey have ever done. It's not much, and most of the work they show they did in class is student work. It's really sad. Not all teachers are like this. I met some really smart ones, but it was like a needle in haystack meeting them.

Wouldn't you think if they were charging that much, they would at least have decent teachers, or a program director that knows about camera specifics. I thought so, but found out the hard way.

In the end, my conclusion is, there are better ways to spend your money, then Full Sail University, look elsewhere like NYU or even Student Filmmaker Seminars. In the end, no one cares about your degree. In this industry, they want to see your reel!
Ok so i realize that fullsail is not the way to go because it doesnt have the right people teaching it to lead me into a career...on the other hand California Institute of the Arts charges almost the same price, 80k, for a degree in film. BUT they also have the professors who most likely worked in the film industry considering its right near LA and is on the top 10 film schools in the country even though its a private for profit school and not a traditional university. My real question is should i spend the 50,60,70,80,100 thousand for a school in a career that doesnt gurantee me a job?
 

DerekFlagge

New member
Stay in PBCC to get your general education classes out of the way.
Full Sail charges their students $1000's of dollars for gen ed classes that cost $100 of dollars if not given free sometimes in community colleges. Save yourself the money. Don't forget Full Sail is a private institution and they will charge like any other private school will charge you, so don't expect their classes to be cheap.

You learn so much more from real professionals, who are actually working in the field, versus some loser instructor, and trust me their are plenty of them at FS, that only have a year or two in the field, no professional experience, and get pulled in through some connection to be an instructor. I've seen it happen time and time again, and I have personal friends with very little credits, that have been Associate Course Directors and Course Directors at this program.

Kim was right, Peter Stein, from the NYU graduate program was an amazing teacher. The seminar cost me nothing, cause I helped Peter as his assistant, and I was stoked afterwards, because of all the information I learned for FREE. You can't just be like, I know how to edit and shoot, so know I am going to teach it. You need to know how to teach, and that is not something I feel Full Sail doesn't stress enough when they hire their instructors.

yes, Full Sail has the gear that is top of the line, yes it has really nice presence on the outside, but don't forget to take a look on the inside.
Ask what the program directors, Dave Franko, have ever done. Or better yet, the Production Department Chairman Rick Ramsey have ever done. It's not much, and most of the work they show they did in class is student work. It's really sad. Not all teachers are like this. I met some really smart ones, but it was like a needle in haystack meeting them.

Wouldn't you think if they were charging that much, they would at least have decent teachers, or a program director that knows about camera specifics. I thought so, but found out the hard way.

In the end, my conclusion is, there are better ways to spend your money, then Full Sail University, look elsewhere like NYU or even Student Filmmaker Seminars. In the end, no one cares about your degree. In this industry, they want to see your reel!
did you actually go to full sail because it seems you know a hell of a lot about the school? If I was going to go to an art school I already know one that is very high on the list of top film schools and i just mentioned it before. Cali Institute of the Arts.

I just dont want to dish out 100k if im going nowhere when i graduate. I have a very good sense of humor but have no written any comedies yet, just filmed skits/shorts for youtube that i do in my own time

Everyone is welcome to check those out as well
www.youtube.com/stackedplatesprod

keep in mind most of them are improv and have very bad dialogue because of the person who wrote them, which was not me haha.
 
R

Remy Medranda

Guest
Ok so i realize that fullsail is not the way to go because it doesnt have the right people teaching it to lead me into a career...on the other hand California Institute of the Arts charges almost the same price, 80k, for a degree in film. BUT they also have the professors who most likely worked in the film industry considering its right near LA and is on the top 10 film schools in the country even though its a private for profit school and not a traditional university. My real question is should i spend the 50,60,70,80,100 thousand for a school in a career that doesnt gurantee me a job?

That is the 100,000 question! It's all up to you, nobody can determine that for you but yourself. In this case, I can only advice you that you should think with your pockets, instead of your heart, because the schools are setup to prey on your heart and your dreams. I quote Full Sail by saying, "We take your dreams seriously!" Well in my time there, we came up with a little twist to that, "We take your dreams, seriously!"
 

DerekFlagge

New member
I'm going to offer the words of wisdom that helped me out.

First of all, it does NOT matter where you live right now or where you want to go to school -- depending on what you want to do. I live in Wichita, Kansas USA. Never worked on the coasts. But in my time here, I've gotten to work with two Academy Award nominees, and multiple Emmy winners. Heck, one of my good friends and partners won a BAFTA for his cinematography work. One of my other friends produced the Meg Ryan movie that came out last year, "The Deal." And right now, I've got a script in the hands of one of the top-tier boutique agencies in Los Angeles. Not one of these connections did I make at any school that I've attended. All those connections are the ones I made by simply going to film festivals and volunteering. Which goes to show that if you are outspoken, friendly, courteous, and genuine, people will get behind you. Yeah, universities and film schools may help with connections. But coming out of those, you are a student. Doing it on your own, you are a filmmaker.

But that's beside the point. Getting to what I was talking about. I started out in film school. I knew from the time I was 15 I wanted to go to film school. So, after three years, I went to the one I could afford and that was close to home. Not to mention it was ranked in the Top 10 public university film departments in the nation (among the Florida States and the University of Texas-type schools). I went there. I was miserable. I got so inundated with film that I just got sick of it. Aside from a separate group of issues that have since been resolved, I got so sick and tired of playing the "film school" game in addition to the "university bureaucracy" game, that I gave up and -- to make a long story short -- was ejected from the university.

I came back home, thinking that everything was done for -- ruined. I did odd jobs for two years -- worked on a christmas tree farm, taught at a special ed clinic, legal assistant at a law firm, resurrected former meth labs to be able to sell the houses to law-abiding citizens. Finally, after two years I decided I was sick of doing these kinds of jobs and wanted to go back to school. I went to go see one of my friends. She and her husband are older (he is one of the Academy Award nominees I described earlier), they both worked through the Hollywood of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and well into the 1990s. She worked closely with Robert Altman for years before she finally retired. I told her I was wanting to get back into school, but I didn't know if I wanted to go to film school. I asked her if I needed to go to film school, or if I could just get a degree in communications, or what I needed to do. Her advice blew me away at the time.

"Don't go anywhere NEAR film school." She explained to me that when she was working for Altman, they would get STACKS of resumes from people wanting to work on the movies, mostly as Production Assistants, since that's where you start out. She told me that if they got a resume from somebody who did not have professional experience and had just graduated from film school, their resume went straight to the bottom of the pile. She explained to me that the way films are made and taught in academia is COMPLETELY different from the way they are made in the professional land of the "real" film makers. She told me that producers did not want to take the time to have to re-teach everything people learned in film school, especially when the end result for the movie was a matter of box office success and not just a grade from some professor who couldn't hack it in the real filmmaking world anyway. She explained that there is a bias in the industry establishment heavily against film school grads and academia -- they think to be an Oscar winner you need a degree. Professionals know that to be an Oscar winner you need the most votes. They would rather have kids who got degrees in things that were entirely NOT film related or who had NO university experience at ALL! So, I decided to go back to school and get my degree in political science...

Film schools teach film as an abstract concept it seems. In the university system, they teach screenwriting and directing -- two "skills" that do not require training so much as they require raw talent. You can either write, or you can't. You are either a good director, or you aren't.

But the conservatory programs (like Full Sail or New York Film Academy) are different. They teach skills like you would get at a technical college. You learn cinematography. You learn sound production. You learn grip. You learn how to be a script supervisor, or an assistant director, or an editor or even the art of producing. They teach skills, not film. One of my cinematography friends got his degree from Full Sail. He didn't get a degree in "film." His was a technical degree in cinematography. One of my other friends did the One Year Producing Program at New York Film Academy and ended up getting to pitch several projects and producing two reality shows. Those degrees seemed to mean something, while the university degrees did not.

And if it is a question of paying to go to school, knowing that the degree in and of itself is not going to mean anything -- if it means going to a university because they have resources for a career path as well as production, and connections can be made, then GO THERE! Just go knowing that you are going for the connections and the facilities, not the education or the piece of paper.

If you want to get your foot in the door, find an area that you enjoy and find an apprenticeship.

If you want to be a grip, an editor, a sound mixer go to a conservatory like Full Sail.

If you want to be a producer, check out one of the One or Two Year programs at New York Film Academy.

If you want to be a producer, an assistant director, a UPM go into the DGA's apprenticeship program.

If you want to be a writer/directer, go to a standard liberal arts college and get a degree in nothing that has to do with film.

If you want to be a writer/director, go to a "film" school and get a degree in film on the condition that the film school you are going to has connections to get you into a job after you graduate.

That's my two cents, anyway.
Im trying to find an apprenticeship its just VERY hard when you live where I live and dont know one person who does anything related to film. I also dont have much of a resume because I havent worked on anything I just have been featured in this magazine and also do my own skits and shorts sometimes. I need somewhere to start just like everyone else but that is hard to find although i am a hardworker and i am trying to find it

I was told by someone to skip out the degrees and to just look for a job/apprenticeship/internship and go for certificates at film schools like NY film academy, Miami Film School, and some other ones. They told me that getting a certificate is cheaper and the more I have, the more experience it looks like i have and I also meet people in these schools while doing hands on.

For example a 16 week program for a certificate and lifelong usage of their equipment is 8,000 and they give you a certificate of completion and you make a movie, work on other students movies and write/direct your own. This is at the Miami Film School
 

DerekFlagge

New member
That is the 100,000 question! It's all up to you, nobody can determine that for you but yourself. In this case, I can only advice you that you should think with your pockets, instead of your heart, because the schools are setup to prey on your heart and your dreams. I quote Full Sail by saying, "We take your dreams seriously!" Well in my time there, we came up with a little twist to that, "We take your dreams, seriously!"
haha thats funny because i have heard that twisted up quote about 10 other times from different people. I am not thinking with my heart AT ALL because I know about for profit schools and the business men behind everything. I am thinking about who I am going to meet and network with and being at a school in cali thats known for film is something I MIGHT do. I have a chance to go to school here for basically free or up to like 8,000 but its in orlando and there is nothing about film in orlando that has to do with feature films and studio jobs
 
R

Remy Medranda

Guest
haha thats funny because i have heard that twisted up quote about 10 other times from different people. I am not thinking with my heart AT ALL because I know about for profit schools and the business men behind everything. I am thinking about who I am going to meet and network with and being at a school in cali thats known for film is something I MIGHT do. I have a chance to go to school here for basically free or up to like 8,000 but its in orlando and there is nothing about film in orlando that has to do with feature films and studio jobs
Get your degree, don't worry if it's in Film or not, just get one. If you are passionate enough to be in this industry, you will make it. I've seen surfers become major feature film directors, read David Ellis's story,
I met him last month thanks to studentfilmmakers, and he even invited me on set. http://www.tribute.ca/people/David+R.+Ellis/9976/
 
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