August 15, 2014

If This Happened to You at Film School, You'd Probably Quit Too

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the more famous and successful film school dropouts, but the circumstances surrounding the way he left are pretty interesting. While he didn't have much interest going to school in the first place, and didn't have great grades in high school, he did eventually get into NYU, but with one foot already out the door by the time he got there, he came up with an interesting way to reassure himself that college was a complete waste of time.

While everyone has their own career path, and film school is a legitimate choice for many filmmakers, it's certainly not for everybody. Obviously there is a bit of subjectivity when it comes to writing -- and not everyone is a fan of Mamet -- but if you tried the test above during your education with a similar result, it could be time to reevaluate what your education is doing for you. It clearly worked out for Paul Thomas Anderson, but he didn't just quit film school and sit around, he knew exactly what he wanted to do -- make films -- and he did exactly that with the tuition money that probably would have been wasted at NYU.

Link: Film School Secrets -- YouTube

Your Comment

71 Comments

I had the opposite experience at UCLA. Peter Guber, head of Sony at the time, said "Fuck art, there's nothing like the feeling when you get that check in the mail." That's an exact quote.

August 15, 2014 at 5:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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D.B.

That's...equal parts shocking and predictable.

August 15, 2014 at 11:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Well put.

August 16, 2014 at 6:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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D.B.

So, if you only care about money, listen to him.

August 17, 2014 at 3:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerry

this is why Sony has been known to make all of the greatest movies

August 19, 2014 at 1:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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brawk

More prophetic words have not been spoken. They ushered in the modern era of big, loud, dumb Hollywood movies. As long as it makes money, it must be good.

August 24, 2014 at 3:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan H

I also had the same writing assignment for a film class, but it was part of my Bachelor's degree. With all of the libraries and resources available today, film school isn't necessary. As long as you have the drive and determination, you can do what you believe is the right thing for your success.

August 15, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joel Rolston

I completely agree with you on that Joel. The only "REAL" advantage one would get at a film school is being able to have a hands on with some of the bigger cameras, related to the craft.

August 15, 2014 at 6:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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screamer cage

Its very easy to buy enough liability inland marine insurance to rent most of the big gear for "hands on" time for as little as $200. Even an annual policy for $100,000 can be had for less then 1k. You'll still need to pay the day rate, but many rental houses consider the weekend one day - either way, it sure beats 60+ grand in debt for less "hands on" time. Sure. everybody should take at least some introductory film classes; but some motivated folks may find their learning rate and ambition completely outpaces some film study degree programs.

August 15, 2014 at 8:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I went to film school and agree with you. However, there are some people - like me - who lack the motivation and follow-through to learn everything on their own when they are just beginning. At that age (entering college), I had a passion for film, but it really helped to pair that passion with the incentives and motivation that come from being in an academic environment. It's also a lot more fun (and motivating) to learn and grow in your craft with a group of friends/classmates.

9 years later, I like to think that I am still bettering myself through self-education using stuff online. I think the technical tutorials from sites from Lynda are better than the training I received in film school, but I don't think I would have had the patience to watch them in a sitting-at-home-in-my-sweatpants setting.

Overall though, I do agree that film school isn't necessary. There are so many paths into the industry. They all require a good amount of motivation, patience, and luck.

August 15, 2014 at 9:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ty

"I do agree that film school isn't necessary. There are so many paths into the industry. They all require a good amount of motivation, patience, and luck."

So true a statement, though knowing a few people always helps....

September 15, 2014 at 10:24PM

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Enrique Olivieri
Film Maker/Writer/Actor
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I came as an immigrant four years ago to the US without any education, film school and now I'm working in the film and video industry making 6 figures. I'm not saying this to brag but to show that you don't need to waste your time and money for four years of nothing. Because after film school you have to start at the bottom anyway. So why not starting there right away and skip film school? I found that film school is really a business and ripping off people because it's expensive and mostly the returns off investment off horrible. I saw statistics that when people come out of film school they are making approximately $25-$30,000/year in the first five years. So if you compare this to leaving film school with 100 or $200,000 in debt.

August 15, 2014 at 6:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Film School may be a waste of time but going to College for something like Electrical Engineering/Computer Science can be very valuable. When I graduated I was making twice as much as my friends who hadn't went to college. Also a lot of jobs won't consider you without a college degree. I work as a programmer and supervise several other programmers. We wouldn't hire anyone unless they had a degree or a ton of experience programming. I also do filmmaking in my spare time and learned that through books and online resources but I don't think anyone would hire me for film jobs based on that without some kind of school or work experience.

August 15, 2014 at 7:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'm going in the same path as you. After a year in the film school, I realized it was just full of kids trying to be cool with their 'film' degree. I only want to make documentaries on my own.
I'm going to another school to get a degree in IT and earn some cash to sustain my iving and fund my self-produced shorts and documentaries. I guess it's the right invest ment.
I'll just post in craigslist to hire kids who wanted to be in film but cannot afford the film school.

August 15, 2014 at 8:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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KI

Without a scholarship NYU will cost a new film school freshman/student over $68,000.00 a year, that doesn't include the price of the dorm or any spending money. That's the price for an undergrad at Tisch/NYC! Scary....

September 15, 2014 at 10:39PM

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Enrique Olivieri
Film Maker/Writer/Actor
164

Higher education is basically a waste of money and time. If I could do it over again, I'd skip college. I spent years at a giant university to learn all about thing that either no longer exist or are no longer relevant today. The things I'm doing today didn't exist 20 years, so the foundation of how a earn a living has been self taught.

August 15, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andy

So Andy, You've never been hired based on your degree? I don't regret college. without it I wouldn't have been qualified to work at any of my positions. Bash film school but not the rest of the degrees that have value.

August 15, 2014 at 7:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The one and only question that you should not be afraid of asking the lecturer when you decide to join any sort of film course or film school especially in the UK.

Why are you teaching and not making films?

There could be many answers but I guarantee you that no one will tell you the truth!

August 15, 2014 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I feel that's a very myopic and cynical way of looking at things. Many established (even famous) filmmakers -- worldwide -- teach at the university level, as faculty or as guests, or even as heads of departments. Many enjoy passing on their knowledge and skills to others. Milos Forman (AMADEUS, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST) at Columbia University. Alex Cox (REPO MAN, SID & NANCY) is currently at CU Boulder. Kelly Reichardt (OLD JOY, MEEK'S CUTOFF) at Bard College, just to name a few recent examples.

For others, just because you haven't heard of them or seen their work in theaters doesn't mean they aren't producing work. Documentarians, experimental filmmakers and yes, even indie narrative filmmakers work "day jobs" teaching higher education while creating their own work. They may not be pulling down six figures, but they have stable lives, have time and resources to create their work and can actually help young people find their voices and hone their skills in the process.

Just my 2 cents...

August 15, 2014 at 7:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Patrick

So...is film school useless now? I'm set to start film school in September and now I'm having doubts about it. Granted, I'm going to a relatively cheap state school, but still... I don't want to waste 3 - 4 years of my life. I've taught myself a lot about filmmaking already but I decided that I needed film school because a lot of the film-related job postings in my area say that a degree in film or communications is necessary.

August 15, 2014 at 6:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juan

Get out before it's too late , otherwise you'll be paying student loans for a worthless degree. Just learning on your own and helping out on student/ low budget productions will teach you more then paying the bills of some "professor" who 's hasn't been on an actual working set in 25 years.

August 15, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Randy

Minor in Computer Science, or minor in Film and major in Computer Science or Engineering. Pick something interesting that has employment opportunities when you get out of school. At the very least don't borrow tons of money for school. We have trouble filling our open programmer positions because of a lack of qualified people. These are like $50k+ a year jobs too. It's not the best work but it can be creative.

August 15, 2014 at 7:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Education is never a waste. People who complain that they didn't get their money's worth have the wrong idea about education and its purpose in life. Universities do not exist to teach you how to do one specific job. It's not vo-tech. Higher education teaches things like how to think critically, how to ask pertinent questions, how to problem solve, how to do research, how to apply knowledge, etc. All of these things are useful for any job. Another thing that film school is good for is networking. You are working with a lot of other individuals who have the same goals as you. So you are investing in a time in your life where there is easy access to the technology, the expertise of teachers/mentors, and fellow collaborators with all the time in the world to work on projects. Film making is expensive, even if you do low budget, so having the rent paid with tuition and a host of collaborators who don't need to be paid and who also don't have to pay the rent with access to tons of cameras, lenses, and editing equipment is something you won't really get unless you go to film school. Ultimately it's up to you if college is a worthwhile investment. If you aren't ready, just work for awhile. You can always go to film school later on in life.

August 15, 2014 at 7:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Usagi

+1000!

August 15, 2014 at 11:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kenneth Merrill

You will do things in film school you will never do in the industry. I can see that from a production standpoint, there is less to gain. You don't need school to know how to make a movie. You don't need school to learn about this industry as it stands today. School is right if that's what you want. "Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself." You only have one life. It's not going to kill you to miss out on the paper about the horror aesthetics of Psycho. But it would kill me. I think many people need school if they are to nuture interests in film art that they never had. When else was I going to develop an analytical fascination for silent film, Weimar, New German, and countless other periods of film history? No. This stuff informs the way I write creatively and envision my films. Notice how many people here don't respect the opportunities they had to be in an environment where they were asked to know instead of strictly do. They all have valid arguments. But if none of them respect the opportunity and you do, that's just another thing to make your voice stand out.
But hey, if you're just in it for the money and don't care about enrichment. For God's sake, don't listen to a word I've said.

August 16, 2014 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Benjamin Smith

If it cost you $100k and the rest of your life in debt to have a so called " education', it most certainly is a waste.

August 16, 2014 at 7:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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F64

If you want to learn tech, no it's not useless at all. Those that get discouraged from it and go on to other things are usually directors, simply because most film schools want to you to make things in a melodramatic, art house, anti-hollywood kind of way. But it offers invaluable opportunities to use the tech and learn about being on set.

August 15, 2014 at 8:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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BDS

So is working in a grip/lighting company, or a camera rental house or post production shop. Any one of those three will get you the experience of using the latest tech the industry has to offer. You'll come in as an intern, but if you show the drive and passion of wanting to be in the industry, you'll move up.

As for this whole you need a film degree to work in the industry Is rubbish, even laughable if an employer ask for one. Go look at human resource listings at any major studio and not a single job will ask for a degree in filmmaking. An English degree is far more respected then someone who has one in screenwriting...

August 15, 2014 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Randy

You should still go to school but rather than film go for something that A. Will in some way instruct your filmmaking and B. Provide you with some kind of job after school. I recommend a social science, understanding how people and society function will be invalauble to you as a storyteller.

August 16, 2014 at 10:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

Don't worry, you won't waste your time.
Do your school, learn what you can, shoot movies and have a great time.
I wish I'd gone to filmschool, not necessarily for my career, but to network, get thrown into waters I was/am not comfortable in, and to have some entity watch over me for a while.
Enjoy it!

August 16, 2014 at 5:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Elias

The question honestly has more to do with money then usefulness. You can get a lot from film school, but neither the opportunities nor credentials you'll get from it are worth going into serious debt. Think it through.

August 17, 2014 at 4:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Carlos D

Thanks for the help, everyone. There's no definitive answer to my question but your comments have still helped me greatly. I think I'm going to give film school a shot. If anyone's wondering, I'm actually enrolling in an MFA program. I have some savings, a scholarship, and a job, so I don't think my debt will be too bad.

August 17, 2014 at 11:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juan

I didn't go to "film school", but I went to San Francisco State University (tuition was $3,300 a semester, living in SF was the expensive part). I studied in the Broadcast television department and while I'll agree that a lot of stuff can be learned on your own, there is nothing that compares to the school experience in terms on being able to really learn in depth about something over a few months.

I got lucky because I found a great teacher who really focused on storytelling and visual aesthetics. He was a great teacher and never told anyone what they did was right or wrong, instead he would ask "why did you do that?". He could call a BS shot out from a mile away that you only put in the video because it looked cool. He could look at your work and with a few words provide some amazing feedback that would take your story to a whole new level. That's the kind of stuff you can't get on your own no matter how many books or internet articles you read.

I've been out of school for a year and am still in constant contact with that teacher and we are currently working on some projects together because I want to continue learning from someone who has mastered the art of storytelling.

Unfortunately, most students won't be so lucky to find a teacher like this at a public school. He has been offered better jobs at very expensive private schools, but continues to turn them down because he wants to make that quality of education available to students who can't afford private school.

One of the books we used for his class was called "Thinkertoys" and it was only $10 and I highly recommend it to every one of you.

August 15, 2014 at 6:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Julian

As someone who will soon be transferring to SFSU for the upcoming fall semester (t-minus seven days in fact, as of right now), this caught my eye. I've heard wonderful things about SFSU's film department, but I certainly know that it's up to me to make the best of my time there. Would you feel comfortable sharing this teacher's name? Sounds like a great mentor and an all-around swell guy!

August 17, 2014 at 6:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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So there is the Cinema department, and the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) department.

BECA is a lot more hands on, Cinema is a lot more theory until (from what I hear), your very last semester where you start making a film.

So if you're going to the Cinema department, try and take some hands on BECA classes. My professor's name was Hamid Khani. He's a great teacher and if you actually want to learn and put in a lot of work, you'll get a lot out of it. If you can, try and take "Creativity and Problem Solving", it's the class that uses "Thinkertoys", it probably has prerequisites, but always worth talking to him in advance about it to see if you might already have similar experience somewhere else, you can find his email on the school website if you want.

August 18, 2014 at 3:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Julian

Thanks for sharing that.

I chose the BECA program over their cinema program for the same reason!

I'll look into taking that class sometime

August 18, 2014 at 2:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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WTF people. Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg and many other great and not so great filmmakers teach at art universities. Can you imagine how it can be great to study from them?? To get them review your work? Moreover university is a place where you as a beginner start to build a professional network, many producers and directors work and know each other from the school times. I landed my first job because I got recommendations from my prof. You just can not say that it is a waste of time, university is the only time when you can learn, experiment and discover new things about your self and your capabilites. And it is worse to mention parties, chicks and new friends for life. I dream about earning enough money to allow my self to take vacations for 4 years and go to Calarts.

August 15, 2014 at 6:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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einar

Well, last I heard Scorsese hasn't taught a film glass in over 40 years and Spielberg shows up to talk to students once every year for an hour at USC and splits. If you think that's worth $100k worth of student loan debt, by all means knock yourself out. Those parasites at Calarts, NYC,USC will gladly take your money.

August 15, 2014 at 7:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Randy

I found college, not simply my film classes, to be quite important. The experience of learning about history, seemingly unrelated subjects such as biology and psychology ended up making me more complete as a person. I find that a lot of people in the film industry who skip college tend to be singularly focused on film, which is fine if you want to work your entire career below the line. Nothing wrong with that. And don't forget the number one reason to go to film school: networking with future professionals. That is if you attend one of the top schools, or in my case know a lot of people who went to AFI, USC, UCLA, etc. Having worked professionally in post production, I ended up helping a lot of my friends who went to these schools on their films, then met a lot more people through them.

August 15, 2014 at 6:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DK

Not just film school, I think any school these days will prepare you correctly for what's coming, unless you want to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer or anything you really need a diploma, you should better off digging your own sources. In the end it comes down to money, they are too damn expensive I'd rather take 20k a year and do my own thing,

Some people will talk about making contacts, you can make better ones outside film school, just start posting good content and you'll see them coming your way.

But be aware, there's a big difference between dropping out of school and dropping out of learning.

August 15, 2014 at 7:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcus

I found doing a degree in film helpful. For one thing I had no idea how to start when I finished high school. The degree also helped me with my confidence though. I thought I was a lousy writer when I started, and maybe I was but now I know that that's no excuse avoid writing. In addition to that, being taught by people who have worked in the industry, I picked up a lot of great tips on how to network as well. I don't know if it's paid off yet, but I sure don't regret it. That might just be me though.

August 15, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Katy

I started @ Film School in 1988, dropped out in '89.
Guest lectured at that same school for 18 months 20 years later! Always had to side step when students would ask 'Where did you go to film school'.... Right here in this very room - but dropped out to get a job in the biz!
I agree with the point of view that with the resources available now, a person with drive and a good head can make it work.

August 15, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's true that film school consists of outdated ideas and methods that really are no longer relevant and they'll try to shove art and the artist's way down your throat, HOWEVER, if you can get past that, you get to use technology that would be expensive to use otherwise, make invaluable contacts and have a chance to make the mistakes that would get you fired from a professional set. Especially if you want to work more with tech, a film degree can help hone skills and enter the industry at least with an idea of what's going on,

August 15, 2014 at 8:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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BDS

Going to university gives a contextualisation that you cant get in the real world. I should know, I'm in both.

August 15, 2014 at 10:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shaun Wilson

That screenwriting professor must be moonlighting as a script reader because he deemed Mamet average and Cameron inadequate.

August 15, 2014 at 10:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Personally, I would go to school for something like Business or Computer Science (which I started to and then dropped out) before pursuing Film. I just feel like it's getting easier and easier with digital. Maybe in the "film days " you needed 4 years of college to understand filmmaking. Now, there's no way it takes that much time. There is so much information online that you could easily learn the bulk of it in a month. I have become interested in shooting film and the amount of information needed just on the Cinematography side is worthy of several courses. So I see the validity of it in that regard.

I'm not saying it's a useless degree or that people shouldn't go that way, but it's in danger of getting to that point.

Digital will eventually cause that world to change dramatically if it wants to remain a viable option.

August 15, 2014 at 11:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I got a degree in daydreaming ... it doesn't do much good unless you get either high grades from a decent school or a specific skill (nursing, accounting, finance, engineering/computers). Generic degrees and mediocre grades are a road to nowhere. (cue in the Talking Heads)
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I do agree on the basic camera operating/film making skills. Those can be acquired quickly enough to begin testing yourself with "live bullets". A screen writing muse, however, doesn't appear overnight.

August 16, 2014 at 1:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Inspiring. Thank you.

August 16, 2014 at 1:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stanley Kubrick never went to film school. Debate closed.

August 16, 2014 at 1:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Max

I think film school is good for some. The best school is to get out there and write shoot, and edit. You will learn so much more from mistakes. I won't get deep here but I put together a production gym in Portland. I allowed all the guys interested in film to come. Everything we do is full production. I have never seen such an accelerated learning curve. every week we produced 4 mini productions sometimes more. You get 50 to 100 of those behind your belt and you know the real process of film making. with in a year. We are building a studio here in Italy doing the same thing. It is amazing for those who can't shell out $30k to 70k a year

August 16, 2014 at 3:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Any more info on your studio? Gear, size, construction, budget?

August 16, 2014 at 8:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

We started a film group based on that idea. We meet each month and critique each others work and help with projects. It is a great way to accelerate your learning for very little money. We don't have a studio but we are all improving our craft dramatically. All that we require is commitment from each member of the group.

August 29, 2014 at 12:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dandy

Jeff Consiglio shared this idea to our local film festival and it has helped a lot. Check the link or google group 101 films
http://www.moviemaker.com/magazine/issues/48/group101.html

August 29, 2014 at 12:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dandy

"at" not "to" our local film festival

August 29, 2014 at 12:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dandy

Is no one going to comment on the crazy young Elvis Mitchell. The man is amazing and this video is straight out of the 90's! For the people who don't know what I'm talking about http://www.kcrw.com/people/elvis-mitchell

August 16, 2014 at 7:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The Spin writer who provided a lot of the Hip Hop reporting? I don't remember reading any of his articles.

August 16, 2014 at 4:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marc B

at the end of the day I think its all about doing what you like and if you stop liking what you do when being in a film school then there must be a divorce between you and film school
at one end there are people who want to see content and at the other end there are people who want to make content so there is nothing like *BEING THE BEST IN THE TRADE* coz there are different types of people who have different tastes and want different types of content, so I suppose there is nothing like being the best (its probably only a set of people amongst the thousands who make you the 'best' and the opinion or tastes of the rest does not matter it seems)

*STRICTLY PERSONAL AND PERSONAL AND PERSONAL OPINION*

August 16, 2014 at 7:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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AB

How did he get into NYU Film School if other colleges didn't accept him? Isn't NYU Film School one of the most selective??

August 16, 2014 at 2:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vanessa

My major was industrial filmmaking at a school on a commuter campus, so the intention for most classes was to earn a paycheck by being a working videographer. Every single instructor factored this into their curricula, so even those few instructors who who yearned to be grooming the next generation of filmmakers ready to challenge the established order were respectful that our primary desire was to learn the skills necessary to earn a lucrative living doing what we loved.

August 16, 2014 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marc B

I'm in an awkward situation where I try to get clients to schedule shoots on Thursday through Sunday because I'm preoccupied Monday through Wednesday *cough cough* with school. Otherwise I'm contracting locals or hoping attendance isn't mandatory hee hee.

August 16, 2014 at 6:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I too had the film school experience that was less than what I wanted/needed. It seemed to me that their MO was teaching an outdated system of how films were and should be made. I had one professor actually just play free online tutorials during class... Needless to say I left after my first year and made my first feature film which was a far more educational experience.

August 16, 2014 at 9:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam McKay

There is college and there is film school. People go to college for a myriad of reasons. People finish college with a B.A., a B.S., or a B.F.A. Did you know you can major in film and go to law school? You can major in film and become a medical doctor? You can major in film and become an editor at a publishing house? Become head of marketing at some dot com? Become a veterinarian? An CIA agent? A diplomat? A teacher?

The point is one does NOT have to aspire to a career in film to major in film or media. Secondly, for every Kubrick and PT Anderson who did not go to film school, there 10,000 other filmmakers who chose the same path and STILL have to wait tables, drive cabs, etc. to survive. Thirdly, for every Scorsese who DID go to film school there are 10,000 film school grads who have to wait tables, drive cabs, etc.

A person chooses to go to college. THe debate here should be whether a college education is worth it's time, effort and money. Last time I checked most higher paying entry level jobs require a college degree, regardless of major. It's called liberal arts. (Yes, exceptions exist in the sciences and engineering).

Another funny thing: the vast majority of agents, executives, development folks, managers, producers in this biz majored in things like Biochemistry, History, French Literature (yes!), Economics and everything but film. When you have to pitch a film and bring up the name Kurosawa as a reference, they write it down or look at you cluelessly. DId ANYONE ever imagine how much better the quality of films would be if people who actually are a critical (ahem, money/dealmaking/green light) part of the process were film literate? The Weinsteins were film geeks in HS, graduated from college, and built something extraordinary for indie film.

And let's thank Mike DeLuca, a film school grad, and former head of New Line, who actually had the cojones to green light Boogie Nights and Magnolia when no one in town would give a young, 2nd time director an OK to do a 3 hour epic on the porn business in the 70s.

End of rant.

August 17, 2014 at 12:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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KOF

I am glad for your Rant, I learned much from it! :)

August 22, 2014 at 12:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vanessa

Don't listen to the people that say education is a waste. You get out of it whatever you put into it. And yes, some jobs in Film and Broadcasting do require a degree, or at the very least, some companies/businesses want to see that you have one. Not to mention that you may make some great contacts among your peers while in school.
That being said, it's only one path to get to where you want to go, not for everybody.

August 17, 2014 at 1:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Keith Aronowitz

Trying to prove if film school is the right path or not is futile. Everybody has a different path, it works for some and not for others.

August 17, 2014 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

When I went to NYU film school there was a guy in my screenwriting class who ended up a film mogul. He directed Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire, Harry Potter. I seem to remember NYU helped him get an internship at a Hollywood Studio so he can watch and talk to some of the great directors working on set. His name is Chris Columbus. Of course not everyone who goes to NYU film school will get the same opportunities or has the same drive, ambition or talent. Some of the professors there had taught Martin Scorcese or were also film students when he attended. At about the same time Spike Lee was at NYU in the graduate film program. Not sure what it is like now...

August 18, 2014 at 2:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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rob

I was wondering, if i have a Degree in Publicity. Would it worth to take a Cinematography Certificate at UCLA?
It costs 10k for 1 year. I wanna become a Cinematographer.

August 21, 2014 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcel

It's all about storytelling
if you have any aptitude go for acting
you need actor to tell story... made friend there.
What actor dream is : to be the star...
What filmmaker dream is : shooting star ! filmmaker it's close to be a film director a film director need to know how to deal with actor.

It's take me too long to understand this...traditional film school are obsolete better to go at seminar you need.

August 21, 2014 at 11:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

I would agree that film school is a waste of time but: I was a traditional film maker in San Francisco, and when I moved to New Orleans; not only were they not doing it with FILM, I had to learn more about computers and the digital age of film making. Glad to see the cameras are now the size of my old 35mm Cannon!

Plus I need the structure(but that is me) and the people to learn from who have been doing it for a while. I am not computer literate enough to teach myself and therefor glad i am in a school where the teacher is willing to take the time and is an old traditionalist like me, so he knows how to teach me.

August 22, 2014 at 12:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Vanessa

I call bullshit on this story. I attended NYU at around the same time, and have heard this story attributed to a number of successful writers. We were not submitting script of any length two days in. Nice story, but more folklore than truth.

It is right up there with the story of the disheveled man that is treated rudely by a hotel concierge. But it turns out he is actually Howard Hughes, he buys the hotel, and fires the concierge.

Urban myth, unfortunately self-atributed by a an overrated filmmaker.

August 24, 2014 at 5:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Robert

The real test would be to try to find 2 cohorts currently working in the film industry.
Group A - who went to film school
Group B - who just started working

Interview them at 5 years, 10, and 15 years down the line and compare their success, wealth and happiness.

Documentary anyone?

(in the UK they have analysed the value of all degrees, and found that on average, over a lifetime you are approx 200k better off with a degree )

August 25, 2014 at 7:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ric