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Why film schools still matter for future filmmakers


Where we get our film education is extremely important, and with so many courses out there, is film school
still relevant? In my view it is, and here's why.

Having tried both shorter courses and a diploma course in filmmaking, I discovered a wide variety of techniques and crafts that helped me understand what it is that I wanted to do. There are advantages and disadvantages of both, but when you're starting out, you are not so clear on what you want to do. I know I wasn't, and it was important for me to be able to try more than one craft. Short film courses help you specialize in certain areas of film production, but they don't necessarily give you a feel for what it is that you want to do.

There is an argument that film schools have become too expensive (certainly in my circles). Sure, there are some pretty hefty fees, but you are also getting specialist training that's not exactly cheap to offer, especially with equipment and facilities that you will need to shoot productions. But what I learned about both types of courses is that, above all else, what you get at the end is not just the techniques of the craft, but the contacts.

I wrote yesterday an article about how the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises had been built successfully by teams of creative people. That's what filmmaking is at the end of the day : teamwork. So if you are planning to pursue an education in the film industry, you are not making a mistake in choosing film school over university. This is especially true if you are just starting out and don't know whether to specialize in one area or not. Film school helps you work with other people, in other domains that can guide your decisions. If you are passionate about something, in my view, you should do it. The job market is always going to be competitive whatever field you choose. If you are good at what you do, and stay the course, then you're on the right track and the skills you will learn will help you choose your path.

There is also a surge in demand for content creation right now. Lots of companies are now hiring people to make videos and other forms of creative content. Short films have also become very popular as a form of communication. Youtube is also challenging Pay TV for the first time. That means content creators will be able to build their own channels and earn from them. It's an exciting time to be in the film business.

I hope this gives you guys some help when it comes to making this choice. I know it's hard, and it can be costly, but when you are just finishing high school, your decisions won't be as clear as when you start to discover who you are inside.

(Photograph © Film School 2011)

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