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The pros and cons of film school

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For young inspired film makers, choosing the right film school is a tough decision. Where do you start?

Many of us will start looking at community colleges or universities that offer a film or production major in hopes that we will make the right connections and shoot a spectacular film. Unfortunately the entertainment industry is tough to penetrate, and many jobs are based on who you know. While passion and drive can take your far, setting yourself up early to succeed can save you a lot of pain in the future.

The pros and cons of going to film school:

Pros:
– Make friends who may help you out in the future
– Professors can open doors for you into the industry that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to
– You get to work with equipment you wouldn’t normally be able to afford and produce better quality video
– You will have a degree which will allow you to get a visa in another country to work if you don’t like where you are at now
– Professors are always available to answer questions even after you graduate
– A degree may help you get your foot in the door in a larger company and increase your earning potential

Cons:

  • Expensive, but if you can get financial aid then this isn’t a problem.
  • Although school is great it doesn’t guarantee success in a field.
  • You may like the major in the beginning and then find out you don’t, but can’t afford to change.
  • Time intensive depending whether you go to a 2 year or 4 year.
  • May not have time to shoot if your a full time student with a crazy work load.
  • Your still broke and broke = low video budget.

The pros and cons of not going to film school:

Pros:

  • You can use the money that you save to shoot your first film or buy equipment
  • You can attend events, seminars and mingle with other film makers to make connections
  • Gain experience on our own by filming, producing and directing constantly
  • It teaches you patience and hard work

Cons:

  • In today’s economy not having a degree can disqualify you for certain positions depending on where you work
  • If you don’t surround yourself with other filmmakers and get feedback, it may be hard to judge the quality of your work
  • You may end up working at a job you don’t like, because you don’t have a degree

Quick Tips for Choosing a School:

  1. Figure out the underlying value of the school:  is the school known to produce great filmmakers? Animators? Screenwriters?
  2. Do the professors and students seem easy to get along with, and do you get a good feeling from your school tour?
  3. What is the quality of the talent there? Will you be around people who can teach you more than you already know?
  4. Always ask the professor if there are job placements afterward. If they avoid this question it can be a red flag.
  5. Get phone numbers or e-mails from alumni and ask them how important their school experience was in their career.

If you’re an experienced professional with a bachelors and looking to further your education, the American Film Institute offers a Masters in Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.  Although the admission process is quite selective, you work in small class sizes, there are no textbooks, and you shoot 2 movies in the 1st year.  If your interested you can check them out at HERE.

If want to check out reviews of film schools, click HERE.

What school did you go to? Did you do it on your own? We would love to hear YOUR film school experience in the comments section!

Meme E

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