Film school or not?
The most common question on every media or film enthusiast mind is, should I go to film school? Is it worth it? Well there’s no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to the individual, their passion, dedication and time they are willing to invest.
Great filmmakers of our time like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and Peter Jackson either didn’t go to film school or dropped out to pursuit their passion in filmmaking. They all have one thing in common. They took a camera, went out and started shooting.
One can’t be biased and look at the success of the above mentioned filmmakers and come up with a conclusion. In my two years attending a digital media school. Here’s what I think.
- Film schools are great for beginners. If you have professional and experienced instructors it’s easy to learn a lot. You get to ask questions first hand and they guide you through practical methods like taking you on field trips to actually shoot and work.
- Planning is one thing that guerilla filmmakers struggle with. Well in the beginning! The aspect of pre-production, actual production and post-production can only is learnt from people who’ve done it or in film school.
- In film school you get exposure and connections. In my experience. I’ve had the opportunity of working on government projects and Ngo’s through my school. Working on real time events and conferences opens your mind to what is expected of you on site. Yes! Who you know matters too.
- Film schools create a platform for trial and error, which is key in filmmaking. As a student you are free to try everything and when you fail it’s another lesson learnt. But if it's self taught and you are on set, it’s a different story.
Now that you have the good side, let’s switch to the ugly side.
Good film schools are very expensive and the curriculum takes most of your time when half of that time can be used productively by rebel self-taught filmmakers.
Creativity cannot be taught. The individual is either creative or not. Yes you’ll get valuable knowledge in film school but without creativity you might end up creating the same content and fail to get viewers.
Most of the knowledge you’ll get in film schools is now free on Google and YouTube. You can access it anywhere anytime.
Not everyone learns best in a classroom. Some people just learn more outside classrooms.
At the end of the day it's all about passion and the work you put in. It might take time before the money starts coming in but it will be worth it.