Is Film School a waste of time?

By September 13, 2012 November 7th, 2014 Film

Rob Tyler – Flipside Productions

So, first off this is pretty much my first ever blog post of any kind. Hopefully I won’t bore anyone to death…

Over the past two years I have heard countless people say the same thing over and over again about going to film school. “Its a waste of time”, “Nothing beats the real world experience you get from working in the industry”, “Film school isn’t hands on enough” The list goes onโ€ฆ

One recent post on Facebook really blew my mind though. Someone had made a meme that stated that Quentin Tarantino was a great filmmaker and was comparing him to film students! Seems a little extreme to me!

Anyway, i guess I’m writing this to defend my own title. I went to film school and although I would agree that film school certainly isn’t necessary to peruse a career in film; I also don’t see it as a hindrance. A “face booker” (who shall not be named) commented that Film students are far less creative than those who have chosen a different path in to film. This seems a bit unfair to me. I have had the pleasure of working alongside some incredibly talented filmmakers who I went to university with and have watched them progress within the industry with great success.

One of the highlights of film school for me was getting to play around with equipment and cameras that i was able to use as if they were my own. On top of this, as part of the course we had some fantastic lecturers come in to share their experiences with us and dish out some advice that i still pay tribute to today! (Mainly the bit where one lecturer told us that we probably won’t ever make much money out of film) -_-

Despite my arguments for why I found film school so great, things are about to get a little hypocritical in this here blog postโ€ฆ

Film School is bloody expensive! I racked up over $30,000(us) of school fees while trying to get a BA in film and honestly I sometimes wonder if that money could maybe have been better spent on some nice gear! I could have easily spent that money on 60 Canon 550d’s and just specialized in shooting “bullet Time” ๐Ÿ˜›

I would love to hear what you all think about this subject. Is Film School a waste of time? What are your personal experiences and how have you made your stand in this crazy, ever-changing film world?

Rob Tyler

Flipside Productions

4 Comments

  • Sean Bodden says:

    If you went to a legitimate film school then it’s not a waste of time. My schooling was somewhat unorthodox to what would be considered traditional Film Schooling (They called it Integrated Media; a broad spectrum of courses, some totally unrelated to my dreams; A bit too unfocused). However, I still made it my own. The one element of filmmaking I think people can really take away from a proper film school is the art of collaboration. Understanding how the hierarchy of a film crew functions. Too many times have I seen people (including myself) run around in complete disarray on a mismanaged film set, creating unwanted stress and poor scheduling decisions; an inevitable demise to the final product. Truthfully, I didn’t really understand how a proper set functioned until I was actually on one, and it was at a legitimate film school (SCAD). I felt like I was in a military base camp. Everyone had a part to play and they never wavered, it was an incredible experience and one that I have adopted since for numerous projects. You can always tell which filmmakers run a tight crew (Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, Tarantino ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) because their vision remains intact throughout the span of their film career, and they mostly work with the same team throughout it. Film school is great, but it won’t make you a great filmmaker. What it will do is give you educated, capable individuals who have the same dreams and drives to help make your vision a reality. If you just want to learn about film, watch as many movies as you can (and the DVD commentaries are golden).

    • Rob Tyler says:

      Thanks for the comment Sean, I think you bring up some excellent points. Particularly in regards to the collaborative experience film school grants you. Its easy to forget some of the most basic principles when working as a crew here, especially in a small crew! I feel like i could use a Film set boot camp pretty soon!

      Cheers!

  • Froggy says:

    Before going to Brooks Int. of Photography in Ventura, CA, I had done lots of production work and post-production, both in High school and community College. I took a test before starting brooks to see if i could skip a of the intro classes. I remember one of the questions were as followed.

    ex.
    If for proper exposer your filming 500 ISO F5.6 Shutter 1/80 @24fps
    If you change your ISO to 2000, what would the approbate F-stop be to maintain proper exposer.

    At the time I had NOOO idea what the answer was. Now I can tell you the answer is F11.
    As Sean said, not all film school is created equal. And not all students are created equal. I worked with manny people in the industry that never went to film school. And most of them will agree, they where happy with where they are. I do want to point out one large benefit of film school. Networking. The students you went to school with and also any alumni. I can’t tell you how many LA parties I went to and found out that someone i had meet that night went to the same school. Instant friends, and networking possibilities. There are many roads to fame, you just gotta find the right crew to get you there.

    • Rob Tyler says:

      Thanks Forggy, I completely agree with you. Networking is certainly one of the key aspects of Film school. Unfortunately I cant say my school was great for that, but as you mentioned; some schools are of corse going to be better than others! Also, i think different students are going to get different things out of a film course and what you get at the end is largely determined by what you put in throughout your time there. If your proactive and make the effort to be everywhere you can be and immerse your self in everything that is going on around you, your obviously going to get much more out of it in the long run. ๐Ÿ™‚

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