Attending film school is not for everyone. Pixel Productions wrote a blog about the positive aspects of going to film school, as well as the negative aspects. This article goes into why it may be beneficial for you not to go to film school.
You will see a lot of similarities in the positive and negative aspects of not going to film school and going to film school, just in reverse order, so I wanted to take a more philosophical look at why you may want to skip film school. It’s not just to save yourself the debt and allow you to jump into your first self funded feature; we will discuss why the film industry, and film school, may be changing in the near future.
Positive aspects of not attending film school:
- No debt out of college – While this is will always be a major factor when deciding whether or not to go to film school, keep this in mind: if you’re not spending all that money on college, can you use it somewhere else? You can use that money to invest in your own equipment, website, and films. It will also give you the opportunity to take your time and figure out exactly what you want to do with your career. You won’t feel the need to jump into the first position you are offered simply because you have loans to pay.
- Freedom to try new things – You now have four extra years under your belt and you can apply them to anything. While other people are at film school you can start your own business, you can travel the world, you can work a part time job and save up money. You are completely free to try new things and fail. There is nothing wrong with being bold and throwing caution to the wind. The time to do it is now.
- You can be “that guy” – Believe it or not, there is a certain respect for people who go against the norm and skip film school, some of the most prolific filmmakers and directors never went to college, let alone film school. It will be a unique topic of conversation when you are on set. It might mean you have to work harder to prove your worth, but at the same time if you are able to do so, it gives you even more credit.
- Learn at your own pace – Lets be completely honest, you can check out every single textbook you will read in college out of your local library. It may not be the exact same book, but the general knowledge is there. Learn film terms, learn about the equipment, learn about the various positions on a film set, and learn about the different types of film production. You can also watch “How To” vidoes online, and watch as many movies as you want to at home through streaming services. You can do this all at your own pace so that other students who are still learning the basics don’t hold you back.
- Live at home – While living at home isn’t what every 18 year old wants to do after graduating high school, there are a lot of benefits for doing it. First of all, you will learn very quickly that rent is expensive. It will be nice to save a large portion of your paycheck instead of handing it over to your land lord (unless your landlord is your mom). You can utilize what you have at home to your benefit including turning your house into your own personal sets for short films and your parents and friends for talent.
- There is no rush – You’re fresh out of high school with a general knowledge of what kind of career you want to pursue in your life. You are way ahead of a lot of people your age. The fact that you know this gives you a lot more time to find your own path. Take time to study other topics besides just film production. It will broaden your horizons and you’ll realize there is a lot more to life than just filmmaking. You can take this time to learn a new language, or travel the world. Experiences like these can help shape your career in ways you never imagined. There is more to the film world than just Hollywood. Other countries and cultures and languages have their own popular films, genres, and styles. You can travel to Italy and explore the famous Cinecitta film studios, or go to Prague and learn about their rich history in film production. By taking time off from college you are able to learn about yourself and your interests.
- Find your own mentors – In every city across the world you are guaranteed to find other film buffs. There are networking groups online where you can meet with fellow filmmakers and discuss production techniques or the latest blockbuster film. Go out and meet these people. You can also get internships with local companies and create their commercials and marketing videos. It may not be Hollywood production but you are still learning how to write, film, edit and produce on a deadline. Research local businessmen, entrepreneurs, and politicians in your area. Express your interests, and more often than not people will point you in a direction that can lead you to others who can help you.
Everyone takes their own path in life.
Many people feel the pressure to go to college and get a “real job” but that simply is not for everyone.
What some people consider to be a successful life, others may consider a huge waste of time, and vice versa. What is important is that you ignore the pressures set on you by society and do what you feel comfortable with. If you do not feel that going to college is the right route for you, then follow your instincts and try something different. There are countless people who never went to college who became some of the most successful people in history.
Stay tuned for part 4 of this series: the negative aspects of not attending college.