Is Film School Really Worth It?

Film School is something that has grown over the past twenty years or so, and many aspiring Filmmakers are choosing that route to accomplish their dream of making movies. But is Film school really worth it?

The answer to this question depends on your own personal feelings about it. To me, Film school never seemed worth it, since you can break into the industry without any college background whatsoever. But later on, I thought about how I know nothing of the field, and it would help make getting an entry level job that much easier. So I decided to take the middle road. I will be attending a Film program in sunny Florida in the spring, but this certificate is only a year long. It should be just enough schooling to help me get my foot in the door, where I will work my way up the ladder from there. I’m hoping this approach will work, and I will be able to give you guys more input on my process when I’m actually doing it.

Many famous directors, including the likes of Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, and Peter Jackson, never attended Film school. They had a determination to achieve their goals, and never stopped until they made it to the silver screen. All you have to do is get a camera, write a script, find some actors, and shoot the movie. Granted, there are a lot of techniques that will help you get a more professional looking Film, but those can be learned from YouTube nowadays. There are tons of Film festivals all around the country who show Films from many different people. Yours could be the one that hits it big. Who knows.

If you’re thinking about skipping the Film school path, then here are a couple resources I have found online that have given me a lot of helpful tips.

Film Riot

Film Riot is a YouTube show that is both entertaining and educational. The host, Ryan Connolly, attended Film school at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, and has created his own short film called Tell.
Here is one of Film Riot’s many videos:

No Film School

Another source I found, is ironically called no film school. This is a blog that has grown to be pretty big, and it has many very interesting articles and filmmaking tips.
http://www.nofilmschool.com

On the other hand, Film school can teach you some very valuable information about the trade, and give you first hand access to industry equipment. This is a nice option to have, but there is also a price to be able to have this type of exposure, and use this equipment. Here are a couple of schools I have looked at in the past.

Full Sail University

This school is pretty impressive. I visited and planned to go here a few years ago, but backed out after thinking it over more. Their program is an accelerated one, (I just sounded like Yoda for a minute there) so you get a bachelors degree in under two years. This is a nice feature for some, but for me, the schedule would’ve been a little too hectic. Some of your classes are actually scheduled from 1-5 AM. That’s intense. They go round the clock at Full Sail, but their production facilities are top of the line. They even have a whole backlot movie set for students to use on Film projects. Pretty nice.

http://www.fullsail.edu
Price – $80,500 for the entire program.
Length – 21 months
Programs – Film, Game Design, Animation, Graphic Design, and more.
Location – Winter Park, FL

Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling is a really nice school. I have also visited this place, and was pretty impressed. The price was a little steep, which is why I ultimately decided against Ringling. It is a private art school, which usually mean big bucks. Don’t let this stop you from at least looking into it though. The campus is beautiful and the programs are very good.

http://www.ringling.edu
Price – $49,580/yr incl. room and board
Length – 4 years
Programs – Digital Filmmaking, Animation, Illustration, Game Art and Design, etc.
Location – Sarasota, FL

Motion Picture Institute

I briefly looked at MPI not too long ago before I found the school I chose to attend. Their facilities are pretty impressive from what I’ve seen on their website, and the tuition is not bad compared to other schools. One of the main reasons I didn’t attend, is because of the climate. This may sound stupid, but it’s in Michigan and I don’t need -10 degrees in my life. Too cold.

Price – $11,495 for the entire program.
Length – 1 year
Programs – Film and Acting
Location – Troy, MI

So there are a few schools to mull over. There are many more, but these were just three that I have looked at in the past. You can check out the school I have decided on too at http://www.valenciacollege.edu.

The decision on whether or not Film school is the right direction is ultimately up to you. There are avenues you can take to get into the industry without attending school. But on the flip side, Film school does give you a leg up in getting there faster. Whichever path you choose, just remember to stick with it, give it your all, and don’t stop believing that your dreams can be accomplished.

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2 thoughts on “Is Film School Really Worth It?

  1. Great post. You definitely exemplify both sides of the argument- an argument i’ve had a lot. I graduated back in May with a Film/Video degree and part of me is happy I did it, and part of me wishes I didn’t. I think film school is amazing to learn about film theory, film history, the unique language and the wide range of techniques. On the other side, like you said, anyone can grab a camera and make a movie. So to have the knowledge and background a film school teaches is priceless, but if you want to just jump into the field, you can do that too. Just do a lot of studying and reading of technology and practice on the internet! Either way, like you said, there’s no right or wrong answer. It depends on each person!

    (PS: i almost went to Full Sail and am so glad I didn’t, mainly because i’m not dead broke now!)

    • Thank you. I think that’s great you graduated from film school. And it’s nice to have input from someone who went through it already. I think it is nice to have the option of film school, but you could save a lot of money by skipping it all together. Film is still one of the few fields that does not require a college education, and that is a plus for a lot of people. I decided on getting some schooling, because I learn better by someone directing and showing me how things work, versus reading them online. But with the power of YouTube these days, you can learn anything. Thanks for commenting. I enjoyed hearing your feedback. :).

      And I agree about Full Sail. It’s a beautiful school, but a little pricey. Plus you can’t transfer credits from there if you decide to go somewhere else, which is lame. Haha

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