Is film school worth it?

eli_joy

New member
Hello everyone.

What is your opinion on attending film school? Worth it or not?
What would be the best investment for my money?
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
I think it is. You make connections in film school that help you get jobs and keep getting jobs. You get to practice, direction, and insight before you are actually getting paid. I think it's work it but it's certainly not the only way to get into the business.
 
Honest Answer--
Which Film School?
Some are, some aren't, and some are great but overpriced.
My first choice would be this one:
It's run by an Oscar Winning friend of mine, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0578604/, otherwise known as the Queen of Story. (Jana has done a Ted Talks and has numerous lectures on Youtube.)

They say it's hard to get into USC Film School, but my cousin got in. Still, 300 students a year is all they take, so don't count on it.
LA Film School
is underrated. It is very well connected and practically a door into the Biz.

Full Sail
is a good tech school, but it's practically an arm of Disney. If Disney's your bag, you should go there.

The rest, with the possible exception of NYC Film School, are a crap shoot.

On the other hand, if you have any college degree it's not that hard to get an Assistant's Job in Hollywood, and if you can cut it, an Assistant's Job is the key to anything you want. My daughter is a live entertainment Producer for Thinkwell-- she started with a High School Diploma and a temporary receptionist job that quickly became an Assistant's job. 12 years later, here we are. I got a dozen success stories like that to tell.
Me, my degree is in Chemical Engineering.
 

Maura B.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
Hello and welcome to the forum!

Film school is important because not only you learn the basics of filmmaking but also you make a lot of connections during your time as a student. You can better understand the industry and know the people. Many successful projects started at the University campus so it wouldn't be a surprise if you would meet like-minded colleagues there and make a great production! Also, Universities support students in gaining some practical experience in the filmmaking industry so it is another plus.
 

Trevor Madsen

New member
Hello everyone.

What is your opinion on attending film school? Worth it or not?
What would be the best investment for my money?
I am not actually a filmmaker, but I can tell you something based on my experiences out of working with filmmakers.
It depends on:
1- Your own capabilities
2- What you want to do in this career
3- Where you want to work
According to statistics, only 22% of Hollywood people are film school graduates! So it's only "you" who can make decision about it.
 
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jodymichelle

Senior Member
Staff member
Film School or No Film School?

I really like what Trevor said above, because yes, the answer depends on many variables including your own capabilities, what you want to do in this career, and where you want to work.

I've interviewed many film schools, film professors and film students over the last 14 years. (I've interviewed them for educational articles and interviews in StudentFilmmakers Magazine and StudentFilmmakers.com.) And what I've personally observed over the years is that film school programs have gotten way better over the last 10 years. They have better programs, better equipment for film students to use, practice with, shoot/edit with, and make films with. They have better facilities such as studios, sound stages, cutting rooms, etc.

When you think about how filmmaking technology has changed over the last 14 years, there's more professional, high-end, high quality movie making equipment available at lower costs, so it's more possible now more than ever to make films with the best, high-quality, professional equipment.

Some film schools give students the opportunity to apply for Filmmaking Grants. I recently interviewed several Student Oscar Award Winning filmmakers about how they made their films, and many of them expressed how they were so grateful to be able to apply for and receive grants to be able to make and shoot their student thesis films which look AMAZING, very high quality, very professional.

Connections and relationships are important. Having an awesome mentor is important.

I grabbed 3 Quotes from Filmmakers that I've interviewed in the past. This is what they said:

"Should I Go to Film School, or Get a Job?"

“I think it really depends on where you want to end up. School is a great place. I have nothing against film school or anything like that. But, in my case, I think, ultimately, added to me actually getting employed. It’s that whole thing about being at the right place at the right time.”
~William Klayer

“I would advise them not to go to film school, at least not right away because a lot of what you give as a filmmaker will be life experience, will be things that you encounter, people that you encounter, experiences you encounter outside of the film world. I may be biased because I didn’t go to film school off the bat, but I really think it’s important that you find that kind of life experience and get to know yourself before you try to become a filmmaker because otherwise you will be an artist without anything to talk about. And you might end up as one of those people who do nothing but make films about films, you know? Tends to get boring after a while."
~Paolo Dy

“One of the benefits of art school training was the constant pressure to explore the creative urge, go further, and redefine goals and standard. Early on, we were told to do drawings of a subject until we were happy with them and pick the best one. The instructor then told us to throw it away and do another that would be better than the best. This taught me not to feel precious about my own work, my ideas, and explore further. And surprise yourself.”
~Hiro Narita, ASC


Let us know what you decide!

We would like to hear more about your filmmaking journey!



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Now this is a very good question. Portfolio matters. What you can do matters. Who you know matters. But how can you make a portfolio and learn the basics if not by going to a film school? There you can meet the people with the same interests as you and there you can meet teachers with a lot of experience that can guide you further in your career :)
 
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