October 27, 2014 at 3:34AM

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Is GPA important for people looking for jobs after Film School?

I am a Junior film Major and I have been struggling with my academic classes. My academic classes have a lot of work and are getting in the way of my time on sets. I know I can definitely pass some of my hard academic classes but does the higher grade matter for these classes or should I put more time into networking and filming? I just worry that employers will look at my GPA. Does it matter?
BTW: we have upper division academic requirements.

7 Comments

No but don't flunk out and don't waste opportunities to stand out in a good light to your professors. Ofttimes the professors are the ones who will have the essential network to land a good starting job or to help find alumni to hire you as a freelancer.

Basically, get the best grades you can, but if you get a C and someone gets an A it's not the end of the world.

October 31, 2014 at 1:56PM, Edited October 31, 1:56PM

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Brandon Kelley
DIT/Director
463

Forgot to mention that you should definitely put the most work into your own film making and crew-building/networking.

October 31, 2014 at 1:56PM

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Brandon Kelley
DIT/Director
463

I didn't study film, and I've been freelance in the industry for 10 years - nobody ever asks to see your university qualifications... What matters more is building connections within the industry, working hard from the ground up, and making yourself useful.

But you can do all that AND get good grades - just make sure that you're using your time wisely. It's great to work on loads of student sets, but some time spent as a runner on a few commercials will probably get you more useful contacts... And while you might not need the qualifications per se, there's a lot of benefit in having a thorough theoretical grounding in the form too.

November 1, 2014 at 8:37AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3019

As Ted Knight said in Caddyshack, "There are things more important than grades." In any field, film or otherwise, talent and ability are far more important.

November 1, 2014 at 12:33PM

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David Devlin
Film Enthusiast
86

Grades don't necessarily matter, but once you are out of college you will wish you could go back just for the networking.

When I was in school I heard the word "networking" a lot and didn't really understand what it was. It's basically a fancy word for meeting people and making friends. When some of your friends find good work a few years down the road - guess what - they're calling you. Make sure you demonstrate to your peers that you are a hard worker, can meet deadlines, a pleasure to be around, etc. I know that I have steered clear of certain people I went to school with based on my experience with them 7 years ago. They may have changed since then, but all I remember is that they were lazy, or they blew off class, or they weren't much use on set, or they complained a lot. Those things stick in people's memory, and it's tough to get a redo on someone's perception of you.

I had a tough time with grades in college too - I have very mild dyslexia which basically means I suck at taking tests. This doesn't have to matter as long as you are passing your classes, and it hasn't effected my career one bit. Just make sure you are still giving it your best shot, even without the good grades you will be surprised what you are able to retain, and how useful that knowledge is in the future.

So the grades themselves don't matter, but the hard work that those grades represent does, because it forms the opinions of your peers.

November 1, 2014 at 2:20PM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
523

Plus the hard work turns your talent into skills and experience.
And that (working hard to be good or just do enough to be mediocre enough to pass) will reflect in your grades and the perception of your peers well.

Networking is important, because it's no use to be the greatest genius in the world hidden in some basement.

So, get good grades for the things that will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the medium. That can really mean a big difference in what you can make in the future.
AND be a very hard worker when you are on set. Even if you have less time on set, make sure the time you are on set is spend very well.
Make it quality time.
Make sure everyone knows why you can not always be on set, but make even more sure they wish you could.

December 12, 2014 at 4:53AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8830

its not the score that's important. it's what knowledge and potential you have achieved during your studies that's important.
i have no film education. i haven't ever had a problem finding work.
where you search for the job and how well you do on your interview is what will get you hired.
maybe you should read up a few books or goto lectures on body language and public speaking, business plan pitching etc..
charisma is important period

December 13, 2014 at 12:27PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1285

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