Anything Goes : Getting a degree in film by Joseph Quiles

Joseph Quiles

Getting a degree in film

Hi everyone so im jumping back and forth on the Question if I should go to school or not for film making Now a days it seems easy to become one but is there Something else I could gain getting a degree

Chauncey Chester

Go to film save yourself alot of time trying to put together a good film also you walk away with contacts and a portfolio

Luna Munroe

I'm teaching myself! hah. I just ordered some self teaching books that experenced artists wrote. woot. Go to school if you want, But you always can teach yourself and save a lot of money and just make friends in the business and have them help you along the way.

Brian Lovelace

I'd definitely say it's worth it, but definitely go to a school that doesn't break the bank. I first went to Santa Barbara City College and got my AA in film, but I decided to go to California State University Northridge to continue my education. The contacts you meet are insanely helpful and eye opening. My school has sound stages, a couple 5.1 mix rooms, a foley stage, a green screen room, a script library with over 2000 complete scripts, a 150 person theater dedicated to only film classes, really awesome faculty (some even work at USC and Chapman as well), and industry connections like Donald Pitrie and Jeff Okabayashi. My senior thesis film that I'm producing right now has a $26k budget. I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm getting probably 95% of what Chapman, USC, and UCLA students are getting without spending $45k a year on my education. Every semester my bill totals a mere $3.5k. You really can't beat that. I'd say definitely explore your options, and if you want, come stop by CSUN, I'll show you around.

Robert Hadley

To be honest, just the networking alone from going to school is huge, and experience with school projects is priceless. The only way you will make it today in the film industry is by networking. You have to know someone just to even get your stuff looked at 90% of the time. I remember one time David Trottier was asked this question; his answer was go to school. The reason is a degree can get you a job working in a office or studio somewhere. That gives you an in, and you can work your way up from there.

Christopher Kardos

As Robert said, networking is very, very important! It's also important which school you'll be doing the networking in. Nothing beats USC. Plus the actual experience you get is something to consider as well. But as Tom Shadyac said: 'You don't need to know anything to be a director, you just have to know what you want and get the right people around you to get it done' which brings us back to networking...

David Pearson

Getting a degree will not on its own get you into the industry, indeed too many courses do not prepare students for what is needed. So choose the school carefully - does it have strong industry connections and also be prepared to work at a career plan for you to progress, after you leave college. Get industry experience while at school. Oh, and have good ideas and ask good questions! Like this one.

Tiffy Diamond

I taught myself with experience. I interned at Original Film (Fast and Furious Films) and A Band Apart both of these gave me time around film and also they confirmed that I should get a B.A. in Business. I just jumped into the game 7 years ago and learned by doing. Now I work with brands and companies and they only care about my portfolio. My business degree has worked wonders but personally you can do everything you want with the discipline to teach yourself. Just my opinion, good luck! xo

Armando David Rodriguez

would you say a B.A in business is necessary?

Ian Jennings

Personally, I wouldn't waste time and money in going to ANY film school (unless they have a direct connection to a major studio). I wouldn't spend more than 5 thousand for any school materials. You can get decent equipment and books on filmmaking (or just go online) to start creating your own projects. Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without a Crew" (Sin City, Machete Kills) is a perfect example. I feel that you learn more by actually doing than studying in a classroom. Although, you can learn some of the business gargon and get some extra time to hone your practical skills or just learn what aspect(s) that you like about the industry. I would strongly suggest an internship or doing volunteer on some "indies" to learn your way around a film/ tv set. In my own opinion, I don't think film school really helped me out but it didn't hurt having some prior background knowledge either. One more thing, I wished I learned more about editing while I was still in school. There are jobs with people,who specialize in editing for additional dialogue recording (A.D.R), close caption for hearing impaired, descriptive dialogue for sight impaired viewers as well as language translators. Of course, writers will always remain to be the important core to the industry so, to have the ability to convey good storytelling. Where, good grammar and spelling still matters in the industry so, the ability to use spell check and word processing program is very important.

Lina Jones

I guess that's where the business degree would come in handy Ian... You've made I good point I went to Full Sail to gain a Master's Certificate in the art or marketing my creating in a technical world. As for Joseph you should always have at least an Associate Degree for that ace in the hole in case film making doesn't work out, at least you can write and use a word processor as Ian states. Good luck with whichever way you decide to go. :D

Shane M Wheeler

Going to echo what others have said with some caveat. My former DoP (who I still work with occasionally and is a superb friend), after having shot his first feature with me went to Specs Howard for about 15k. A year later he is getting hired into some real companies for editing, shooting, etc. due to the contacts he's made while at school and the school's own employment programs HOWEVER. He's been working his ass off, the top of his class, far ahead of his peers, constantly studying up on new cameras, techniques, etc. in his limited spare time, and has made several shorts outside of Specs that are a part of his resume. Pro School: Specs sharpened skills that were already there, taught things he wouldn't have learned otherwise, and provided a number of useful contacts allowing him to get his foot in the door and begin working. Pro Experience: The skill set he gained on set was a vast trove of knowledge that peers in his class room are just starting to understand. Many of his compatriots have only ever made sub professional music videos and never been on a set (indie or otherwise) before. A lot of what he has in his portfolio was formed from his own personal projects, independent of school, including some of his contacts. My ultimate summation is that he would've made it eventually, regardless of schooling, but the school provided him tools and contacts allowing him to accelerate his career path immensely. Many students have dropped out or failed due to a lack of dedication, and many students find less promising careers because they lack the drive, passion, or will to create on their own. So, you get out of it what you put in to it, and that's more than just money.

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