NoFilmSchool is a site for DIY filmmakers and independent creatives. The site focuses on tools and technology relevant to filmmakers, writers, directors, editors, producers, cinematographers, bloggers, designers, and entrepreneurs. If you’re a multi-hyphenate — meaning, you’re more than one of these things — all the better. If you’re interested in cinematography or cameras, the first thing you should do here is get your free copy of the 100+ page eBook, The DSLR Cinematography Guide.
The site also explores the following question: how do you quit your day job and forge a truly independent, sustainable career? A big part of this is figuring out how to derive value from the content you create. If you’re creating something valuable, you should get paid for it! So NoFilmSchool also explores issues of self-sustainability, as well as productivity (how do you get the most out of a limited number of hours in the day? What tools can help?).
Who the heck is Ryan Koo?
When I started this site in 2005 I was unemployed and living with my parents in North Carolina. My goal was to get myself to New York and start a film career — without any connections, and without going to film school. And this site got me there. It’s a long story, but thanks to this blog I was able to lie my way into a job at MTV (and a three-year career as graphic designer).
While working at MTV I set out to make an independent web series with my coworker Zack Lieberman. Our no-budget, nights-and-weekends urban western The West Side — which the two of us wrote, directed, shot, edited, post-produced, and released ourselves — won the Webby Award for Best Drama Series, and we were selected as two of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film.
We got an agent, wrote a very ambitious interactive project, and took it to the studio world — where we ran face-first into a brick wall. After meeting with twenty studios I started feeling that getting something original made in the studio system was a Sisyphean task. As a result, I wrote The NoFilmSchool Manifesto, which rejects the studio model in favor of independently finding new funding and revenue streams in the digital world — allowing for far more creative freedoms in the process. As I say in the manifesto:
I’m sure some people are going to think, “you’re only going the DIY route because you can’t make it in Hollywood!” My goal with NoFilmSchool is to prove them wrong.
And to share a lot of helpful content along the way. For more about the story of the site, also check out my post about living out of a suitcase for a year in order to launch this site, and why I track my time in order to increase productivity.
Some more links:
- Contact me
- Graphic design portfolio
- Subscribe to the RSS feed
- Ensure your pet is cared for after the Rapture comes (jk)
Finally, to get the film school thing out of the way: this isn’t AntiFilmSchool — I myself took several film classes as an undergrad — but I believe that the lowered cost of digital production tools, measured against a graduate film school’s costly tuition, means that many folks are better off living life and figuring out what they want to say about the world, rather than sitting in a classroom being told which films are important and where to put the camera.1 It’s not like film school in the ’70s, when access to expensive film equipment and 35mm screenings were one of the chief draws — now almost every film ever made is available on DVD or online, and there are thousands of widely-available books available on film criticism, theory, history, and production. Not to mention all of the helpful web sites out there that one can learn from on a daily basis… and I hope NoFilmSchool is one of these sites.
[Photo by Mario Torres]
- This is a never-ending debate, and I’m aware of both sides of the argument. If you went to film school and things went swimmingly: different strokes for different folks. This site should still be up your alley! [↩]