In general, filmmaking is a creative process that’s similar to painting. Just like how anyone can draw using just pencil and paper without formal training or certification, in filmmaking, actors just need to act, and directors just need a camera.
However, you’ll need a lot of instruction and practice to master acting, filming, and editing to be a professionals. In most cases, painters didn’t start creating masterpieces soon after they picked up the brush. They served as apprentices to accomplished artists, received substantial training, and practiced for a number of years before they begin to produce their best works. Most actors and directors also need to do the same to achieve success in the film industry. Instead of becoming apprentices, many of them obtain the training they need at a film school.
Numerous actors and directors have become successful without completing film school, such as Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, and Steven Spielberg. Nonetheless, there are also many famous filmmaking professionals who are film school alumni, including Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Spike Lee, and Kathryn Bigelow. So, the decision to attend film school or not really depends on individual needs and preferences. Some people can learn acting or directing on their own, while others need a more immersive learning environment.
Why Film School is the Best Option for Young Filmmakers
Going to film school offers the following benefits:
Get the Education You Need to Build a Solid Foundation
During your time in a film program such as the 9 month Cinema Production Program, you’ll learn about film history and filmmaking techniques almost every day. Once you have gained enough skills, you can define your personal taste and style. Although it isn’t a surefire way to have a high-flying film career, going to film school can certainly make you a better actor or director.
Filmmaking equipment and location permits can be very costly. As a film student, you’ll receive big discounts from locations and learn how to get the most out of basic filmmaking gear.
Filmmaking is a Communal Process
Although acting and directing are artistic pursuits, they differ from painting and writing in that they usually involve more than one person. Enrolling in a film program gives you constant opportunities to get acquainted and work with others who are practicing the same craft as you. In the real world, collaboration is vital to a good film project.
Gain Access to Filmmaking Equipment
Even if you have great artistic talent and filmmaking skills, you’ll find it hard to compete with other filmmakers if you don’t have professional equipment. Not everybody can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a red camera or professional editing suite. One of the main benefits of going to film school is that you’ll have access to virtually everything you need to materialize your creative ideas.
Establish Professional Connections
Networking plays an important role in the success of your film career. You need to have a strong professional network to gain recognition and find clients. At a film school, you’ll be interacting with aspiring and existing filmmaking professionals on a daily basis. If you’re able to take advantage of this situation and keep in touch with your classmates and professors, you may find some work through your contacts in the future.
Freedom to Learn What You Want
Some film programs are more theoretical, while others are more practical. Choose a program that suits your career goals and learning needs.
Public film schools are often significantly more affordable than private ones. You can attend a high-quality public film school if you want to save money.
Gain a Competitive Edge
The film industry is highly competitive. Having a degree from a top film school and a strong portfolio can give you a slight competitive advantage.
Get a Better Career Outcome
Most employers in the film industry want to see your body of work and resume. Going to film school can put you in a better position to meet these expectations.
Clear the Fog
The art of acting or directing is so multifaceted that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Being around like-minded individuals in a film program can help you stay focused on your career goals.
Why Film School May Not Be the Best Use of Your Time and Money
Attending a top film school can be very expensive. It isn’t uncommon for film students to spend more than $50,000 a year. Therefore, you may need to have over $200,000 to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Also, you have to be prepared to conform to a structured learning environment if you decide to join a film program. Most students learn well in such an environment because it enables them to get proper guidance and encouragement. Nonetheless, if you prefer a more self-guided approach to learning, film school may not be the best option for you.
Is Film School Worth It?
Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether film school is the right option for you:
Do You Need to Establish Professional Connections?
If you can’t find any opportunities to connect with filmmaking professionals in your locality, then enrolling in a film program may the right option.
Do You Need Access to Professional Equipment and Know-How?
To become a good filmmaker, you need to have access to professional equipment and learn how to use it. This is a good reason for attending film school.
Are You a Good Storyteller?
If you have the talent to tell an engaging and compelling story, you should start writing down your ideas as early as possible. If you lack this ability, you may want to join a film program.
Can You Afford to Go to Film School Without Incurring Substantial Debt?
If you have to take out a big loan to complete your film studies, consider enrolling in a lesser-known or smaller program to gain some experience.
What You Plan to Do in The Expansive Film Industry?
Some roles in the film industry require more technical knowledge than others. Knowing exactly what you want to do in the film industry can help you make the right decision about film school.
Do You Have What It Takes?
To succeed as a director or actor, you need to have an inherent spark of passion and creativity. Without this gift, you’ll probably never produce above-average work.
What’s the Next Step?
If you feel that you need guidance to grow in your career, then you should consider going to film school. Attending film school can certainly get you closer to creating your masterpiece.
If you decide to go to film school, consider taking the nine-month Cinema Production Diploma course at Nashville Film Institute. Contact us today to find out more about this course.