Are you a film buff? Do you find yourself trying to make personal or Instagram videos with beautiful cinematography? Do you dream of shooting with the stars or directing a major motion event? If so, you may want to consider learning more about the art and science of making a film. The best part about filmmaking is the more you learn about it, the more you love it. This blog outlines ways you can learn more about the filmmaking process which can lead to a lifelong passion, whether or not you opt to turn it into a career.
Should I Consider Film School?
One of the first things students may think about is whether or not they should attend film school. This is a pretty contentious topic and we will not wade too far into the debate; suffice it to say that many people in the film industry have a pretty strong opinion. These opinions usually fall squarely into one of the below groups – we have provided a list (not necessarily our beliefs) of the typical arguments for and against attending Film School.
Don’t go to film school!
- It’s expensive! Think of all of the cameras, equipment and film budget you could get for that amount of money!
- Classroom learning isn’t suited to film. While most film schools do involve plenty of hands-on work, it’s better to get right out into the field and learn as you do it.
- Many famous directors, such as James Cameron, never went to film school.
- Executives in the film industry would rather see creative individuals that found a way to follow their passion without going to film school – they love to see the ingenuity people can bring based on how they built their experience and network without the traditional school framework.
Yes, go for it! Go to film school!
- Film school puts you in touch with like-minded teachers and other students, which can help you create and expand your network of people in the industry
- If you are newer to film, film school can be a great way to learn the basics and gain exposure and experience to real film sets
- Most film schools blend classroom learning and theory with hands-on practice, which can help film students learn the skills of the trade from professionals.
We can’t make your decision for you and we would advise you to research and do a lot of qualitative thinking before you make your decision. We can say, however, that if you love film you are going to want to keep making and working on films whether or not you go to film school.
The good news, is that whether or not you choose to go to film school, there are plenty of other opportunities to get your feet wet and learn about the film industry.
Here are a few ideas from film professionals:
- Classic advice from James Cameron, the director of Titanic and Avatar, among many others: ‘Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it.’ His idea is that you need to just get started to start building up your skills – taking the initiative to create something on your own is also a great way to show executives in the film industry how serious you are and also help you start to build up confidence.
- Start taking any job you can get on a film crew – you are likely going to be starting at the very bottom, but that is okay! It is great to learn the industry from the ground up. As you gain more experience and meet more directors, assistants and other people in the industry through these jobs, your opportunities to take on more substantial roles will increase. It is important to note that the film industry is VERY competitive. This is why it is likely going to be necessary to start with any type of job you can get and move up.
- If you can’t land a job on a set, you may be able to intern or even work for free for a period of time – If you have the ability to work for a while, you may be able to build up experience and networking opportunities. By volunteering your time, you may be able to build up your skills, resume and network, to help put you on the path to paid jobs in the future.
- Study up! There are plenty of books and free online tutorials to help teach you the basics of everything from cameras and lighting to post-production techniques.
Filmmaking at JKCP Summer Programs
If this all feels overwhelming and you need a little guidance to get started, you may want to consider starting to pursue this passion before heading off to college. A summer course is a great way to learn more about the film industry and see if it might be right for you.
At JKCP, we offer a Film Making class as part of our summer programs for High School students. These summer programs allow students to learn about the industry, from whiteboarding to a final production. Students will get the opportunity to experience all of the roles necessary to produce a movie trailer you can be proud of including writing, directing, acting, and editing. On Friday, the final product is showcased during a premiere of the trailer you’ve worked on all week.
This overarching look at film can help students explore which film careers might interest them the most. While we typically think of Directors or the people in charge of cinematography, there are many other jobs such as set and costume designers, casting personnel, editors and plenty of other positions. As students learn how a film is made, from start to finish, they can learn how vast the industry is and where they may be able to apply their skills best.
Why learning more about film can create a lifelong passion
You can certainly love film without knowing all of the ins and outs of the industry, production, whiteboarding and editing. Most film lovers, even self-proclaimed film buffs, have little experience with the actual film industry. However, with film, it seems the more you know the more you want to know. It creates a loop: the more you learn, the more you love film. The more you love film, the more you want to learn. This is the ‘bug’ that bites and carries people on a lifelong love of film. Taking the time to learn about the industry can help you foster this love, whether or not you choose to pursue a career in the film industry.
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