November 15, 2017 at 2:03PM

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Film School or No Film School

So Currently I'm studying Graphic Design but once I finish that up I would love to study film. The question is whenever I should go to a film school or be self-taught in some way. I've wanted to study film since halfway through my Graphic Design program.
I'm currently looking at schools that I'd like to attend to study film but some are so pricey that I don't want to end up in so much debt. What are some better alternatives or should I really try to get into film school?

14 Comments

It is semantics: do you want to study film or make films?
Since how long do you have that desire and how many videos did you make since?

November 17, 2017 at 3:44PM, Edited November 17, 3:46PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9118

I've had a passion for films when I was a kid and growing up but I never realized it until I was halfway in my graphic design program. I want to make films which I want to do because I used to and currently make youtube videos, and work on other solo projects. I love to do stuff through cinematography, film editing and maybe some directing or producing.

Cameron Frassetta

November 18, 2017 at 11:36AM

I started making skate films in highschool, went to college for photojournalism and dropped out and started making narrative films. I dropped out two years ago and am now five months into living in NY to pursue filmmaking.... It's been a tough road but it is moving! I moved from my small city in North Carolina after having gotten some films into middle tier festivals. It was hard to find committed likeminded people to work with in NC. Here in New York I am just beginning to really find my place and am working on shooting my next short film in a month....

All that being said film school would have been AMAZING to have likeminded people to work with I just couldn't afford it. Start making films RIGHT NOW as you have a lot to learn, and the better your portfolio the better people will want to work with you.

Lastly lie to your arty friends and say the short film you wana make is for a class- I did this because I was too shy to act like a director haha, but people seem more receptive if they feel theyre helping you out with school (which is kinda lame but true)

November 17, 2017 at 8:19PM

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Molly Kath Lewis
Writer, Director, Editor
156

Wow!, I really love your filmmaking background that's definitely a good road to travel down and yeah I bet it's tough. My exact thoughts on some film schools, it would be amazing but very unaffordable. What if your artsy friends find out it's not for a school project? hehe sneaky

I'm definitely looking to making films but the problem for me is I barely have any filmmaking friends, haha and I'm not sure how to find filmmaking friends in the area. I have a small gear set up and not super professional, I do have some ideas down for some projects I would like to work on but that's the challenge for me, I'm only by myself. There is a saying "the gear is only as good as the person using it." and I think that is true.

If you have any more insights or solutions for me I would be happy to hear them.

Cameron Frassetta

November 18, 2017 at 11:49AM

Cameron, I did tell my friends after that the film wasn't for school haha and after I made the first one haha. After the first film all my friends wanted to help. Maybe I was lucky to have friends who were all dilettantes in a way. A bunch of my friends were into movies or music or art in someway, so it wasn't too tough. Getting actors is easiest... You can figure lighting as you go.. look into ADR for sound! I did a super 8mm film where I did ADR for the whole entire film... It was scary but wasn't as bad as I thought- you can get actors to record voice into an iphone and you can get footsteps, background etc on your iphone as well. Look into that if you want to eliminate sound guy. And you're right- don't worry about gear too much, I have been shooting with a DSLR and just produced a film for a friend to shoot on 16mm, and directing my first 16mm film in a couple weeks...

I'm not like a super accomplished filmmaker I have a lot to learn, I'm just on the way so I'd ask for more opinions than mine haha. 99% of extraverts would love to be in front of camera.. I'd find a witty friend who's not camera shy and write a simple script with them in mind.

Molly Kath Lewis

November 18, 2017 at 5:51PM

Molly,

Thank you so much for the insights you have, I'll definitely keep some of those in mind. It's always good to get opinions from anybody who is interested in the same career path. Although the issue is I'm not sure where to start in my area to find people who share similar interest. Barely any of my friends have any interest in film but they'll watch movies and such lol. I might have to go to festivals or something like that. What my gear set up is right now is a DLSR, Nikon D3400, with a gorilla grip tripod and regular tripod, Rode shotgun microphone, GoPro Hero 4, a phone mount and tripod, so I could probably work with that.

P.S. I like that film short on your page, interesting and creative. Keep on learning.

Cameron Frassetta

November 18, 2017 at 7:59PM

Molly, UNCSA has one of the best schools for narrative filmmaking in the country (see https://www.uncsa.edu/news/20170925-film-ranking-the-wrap.aspx). Did you look at it before leaving the state for NY?

November 18, 2017 at 7:13AM

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Michael, I have been very torn about UNCSA and have been thinking of applying for a while! I am 23 (would be going on 24 next school year) and I feel a bit older to be hanging around a bunch of 18 year olds... Think it's still a good option? That school kills it and I've been tossing around applying there since last year actually.

Molly Kath Lewis

November 18, 2017 at 4:43PM, Edited November 18, 4:43PM

From your replies I sense you never made a video before.
So my advise is: starting making small stuff.
Not only will it be a great ways to learn some basics, it is the only way to discover whether it is as much fun as you think it is or not. (Not all dreams are fun in reality.)
This way you know for sure that when/if you go to a film school, you won't be throwing money at something you don't like.

Are you sure you are very passionate, if you haven't made anything yet?
Technology has never been this cheap, so access to a camera (which can be a phone as well) should be no real problem.
(My phone is still a Nokia, btw :-p
But I have other cameras to work with.)

Start with small project you can shoot in 1 day or afternoon.
This way it is easier to find people to help and since you will make mistakes anyway, it is better to make them fast on low risk/low stake projects than on a timeconsuming project shot in 20 days only to discover you did something very wrong.

November 18, 2017 at 6:47PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9118

I have some experience with filmmaking but not a lot and I do like the kind of stuff I'm doing like the cinematography and editing. I know some basics but I'm still learning and in the meantime, I watch some films and shows to gain some insights on what makes them good or bad.

on my other reply to the other person I said that I have a DLSR, Nikon D3400, with a gorilla grip tripod and regular tripod, Rode shotgun microphone, GoPro Hero 4, a phone mount and tripod.

I will definitely try to start small if I can do what you said, "low risk/low stake projects". The problem I have is I don't have a lot of friends in the area that are pursuing the same interest as me, so I'm not completely sure where to look for those kinds of people. I'm assuming at like film festivals and stuff like that.

If you have more opinions or insights I would be happy to hear them.

Thanks,
Cameron

Cameron Frassetta

November 18, 2017 at 8:07PM

Cool! You are having a great starting position here, tools wise. I recognize the 'friends issue'. When I started out my best friends were semi interested as long as it didn't take long: 1 evening or a few hours. After that they'd lose interest and focus.
Maybe there is a facebook group for filmmakers in your area?
You can also check whether there is a 48Hour Film Contest near you next year. Evey city tends to have it's own facebook group as well.
Lool whether you can help on a few projects to get to know people :-)

November 19, 2017 at 9:42AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9118

Ok great, thank you I'll be looking around for some filmmakers in my area.

Cameron Frassetta

November 19, 2017 at 12:31PM, Edited November 19, 12:31PM

Also, and full disclosure I'm a professor there so I'm biased, but look at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn:

https://nyti.ms/2mzI0wV

Amazing school, great facility, great faculty, and since it's a public school (CUNY) about 1/3 the cost of comparable programs like NYU or Columbia.

November 22, 2017 at 7:48AM

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Charles Haine
Director/Writer/Colorist

seems like a great school but it seems to be a bit out of my price range. Thanks though

Cameron Frassetta

November 22, 2017 at 11:59PM

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