Ryan Koo tried to persuade readers of his website to avoid film school, by headlining 10 different reasons with some logic proof underneath each. I agree that film school’s benefit is compromised when the program burdens its graduates with unmanageable levels of student debts. However, instead of discouraging people from going to film schools, like Koo did in his article, one should draw their attention to the steep costs of a film program. While it's true that film school is expensive, the author's solution is misdirected. Depriving film programs of students only harms the film education system. A more appropriate solution would require more thought into how to make the same education more accessible to students of all financial backgrounds.
Koo overgeneralized his criticism by claiming that no one should go to film school. He believes that film education is beneficial, but not worth its high cost. “Many film schools have excellent film libraries, including out-of-print films, but in face of six figures of debt, seeing a rare 35mm print of a classic is a luxury, not a game-changer” (Koo). Film education is indeed expensive. However, not everybody needs to go through student loans. Koo failed to target its specific audience early on.
I believe that film education is still beneficial even in the digital era. Truly, nowadays people have more ways to learn and gather resources, but the amount of information could be overwhelming. Film school, therefore, serves as a trustworthy selection tool. Professors lead young filmmakers to read the right books and to connect with the right people. While Koo argues that there are many important filmmakers who didn’t go to film school, it is misguided to discourage education just because others have achieved success without it. The article should mention that one does not need to attend film school to make film, but it would take less time to sharpen their skills if they did.
So the argument remains: what should we do to make film education beneficial for students of all financial background? USC’s graduate film program costs roughly $40,000 per year, not including the high living expenses in Los Angeles (“Graduate Student Tuition”) Film school graduates, however, have to face an increasingly flooded marketplace. Among them, many will work as low-paid assistants for years, while others take on part-time job, writing screenplays or preparing projects to break into the business (Cieply). The amount of debt students accrued seems unmanageable when measured against their expected earnings after graduating from film school.
Therefore, providing enough tuition scholarships and living stipends to all students of need is the key to avoid high student debts. “When a student makes a […] decision to attend college, the student must feel confident that it is a sound investment in his or her future, not a liability that will further defer his or her dreams,” said secretary of Education John B. King Jr. By providing an efficient financial support system to the students, film school could ensure that students could fully benefit from the program without to burdened by student loan debt to make a living in the field after graduate.
Unfortunately, Koo misled the frustration of high cost to the avoidance of education. His overgeneralized argument and imprecise targeting audience could harm the film education and confuse prospective film students.