To Go or Not to Go: The Pros & Cons of Going to Film School
There are pros and cons for everything: buying a house, changing careers, rocking a mullet ironically (because eventually you're gonna kinda like it). This also applies to going to film school.
So what are they? What should you know about film school before deciding on whether to take the plunge or not? To demystify things a little bit, check out these two videos by Ted and Stephen of Aputure, in which they discuss the pros and cons of film school, including high tuition costs, the availability of information online, and the benefits of having to sit in a lecture hall.
Pretty much anyone who has gone to film school will tell you that they learned a lot and met a bunch of wonderfully creative individuals. However, there are just as many who haven't gone who will tell you that they also learned a lot and met a bunch of wonderfully creative individuals—and did it without piling up $40K of student loan debt.
Full disclosure: I got my B.A. in Cinema, so I'm kind of a film school grad. I certainly have a pros/cons list of my own, but suffice it to say that I think I paid, pay, and will continue to pay until I'm well over 50, way too much for the information I had to prove I knew in order to get my diploma. I've said it time and time again: I've learned more about film from writing articles for you guys than I ever did going to college.
However, there are certain things that going to film school taught me that I probably wouldn't have even thought to learn had I not enrolled (like Nordic cinema). As you might assume, you meet a lot of people and make a bunch of connections, yes, but I found that, for me personally, the structure of college—having to go to classes at a specific time, having my knowledge tested and my work criticized, having to fulfill requirements in order to graduate—these things made me the student of film I am today...which is a much more disciplined one who understands the importance of obtaining knowledge.
And that's the key: obtaining knowledge. You may decide to obtain it by going to college, or researching online, or by just going out and shooting a movie. Whichever way you decide to do that is fine. Just don't make the mistake of complacent; the greatest artists are self-motivated, passionate, lifelong learners.