Tag Archives: film school

2 Amazing Free Film School Resources to Check Out Today

“Free” and “film school” in the same sentence is pretty unusual. What I’m talking about are the abundant online resources for budding and veteran filmmakers alike. After a semester in graduate film school (which was not free) I can vouch for the accuracy and educational value of these particular resources, which I’ve been excited to find only recently after many hours spent watching various educational Youtube videos.

1. Filmmaker IQ

This site offers the behind-the-scenes technical details of the inner workings of filmmaking, not just how sets are run but how cameras work and why filmmaking happens like it does. Awesome!

2. No Film School

Yeah, it says “no film school” but this is film school online. I’ve only started browsing here, but their slating video succinctly covers everything about slating that I learned in film school in only a few minutes. I don’t even want to think about how much longer it takes to learn in a classroom setting.

Whether you’re taking the Expensive Film School route or Free, these are super resources for anyone interested in making movies.

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The One Reason to Attend Film School

Film school touts many benefits for those willing to enroll and pay to work instead of work for pay. Learn how to make films and tell stories is one of the supposed benefits, along with access to equipment and a respected credential, not to mention the great people you’ll meet along the way.

When it comes to graduate film school, unless you know you want to teach and get that terminal degree, there’s only one benefit that could possibly be worth the cost of attendance: the Network. The people you meet, work with, and establish a rapport with are your keys to the industry. The degree means next to nothing if your work doesn’t speak for itself—in fact, there’s a decent chance the degree will work against you, showing that you’re overqualified for the entry level positions you need in order to get your foot in the door of the industry. Chances are you’ll still have to start as a PA anyway, whether you’re fresh out of graduate film school, undergraduate film school, or an accomplished filmmaker with a high school degree.

The equipment is something you can get yourself. The money you pour into film school could have got you tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. That said, forget equipment! No one needs fancy gear to make good movies. You need to be able to tell stories, and that’s something you learn from reading, writing, watching movies, and paying attention in general, whether you’re in film school or not.

Film school is for those who have money and want a structure that will keep them focused on (somebody else’s version of) their craft. You could save thousands by being unemployed and just focusing on your craft without being attached to any one school, but your resume might take a hit when there’s gaps without an official employer or school attendance. The best route for anyone who wants to get into the industry is to just start working in the industry. Work your way up. Skip the schooling. You’ll make connections like you would in film school, and have to fund yourself like in film school, but you’ll probably spend less and have a better chance at getting paid sooner. And before long, your film school peers will be coming to you looking for work.

Make no mistake, I highly respect the work and devotion to craft I see in my film school peers. These people are passionate about film and highly talented. I think they’d be better off blessing the industry with their abilities rather than hanging around, paying tens of thousands of dollars, for a behind-walls education in the hands-on blue-collar people-centered industry of film.

The Day I Became a Videographer

In my freshman year, I was a camera operator for the TV Club. When we put on a talent show in the auditorium, I got a better than front-row seat, hiding behind the giant 80’s TV camera with my heals hanging off the stage, trying to keep its bulk from rolling off and smashing to the floor two feet below. That show was one of the greatest highlights of my college career.

Too soon, the TV club fizzled. The student president was deeply interested in television production and transferred out, and no one took his place. I’ve occasionally wondered about transferring—I’m a video and writing person at a polytechnic institute—but never thought about it that seriously.

This is why. I believe that if I’m really serious about my profession, I’ll be able to pursue it almost anywhere. Transferring to a school with more video classes would be pointless for me, because if I’m not able to drum up video business right here, I’m just not that serious about it.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt

One month ago, I wandered into Career Services, just to see what opportunities awaited discovery there. I had a conversation with the director, and said I was interested in videography. He asked what type. I said I did documentaries. Then the director told me about his idea for an informational video series about Career Services—how to do business interviews, resume-writing, and internship preparation. He showed me many video examples of what he wanted, and said maybe I could be his summer intern. I set out to make a professional video demo, to get this job.

One month (28.5 hours) later, my demo was ready for viewing. I made sure that it was high-quality. The Career Services director loved it! This summer I’ll have my first videography job, and be one step closer to a dream career. And none of it would have happened if I didn’t walk through that door a month ago and say I did videography.

“If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you.” -James Baldwin

Videography and writing aren’t classes you take, they’re crafts you do. Be a go-getter. Get yourself noticed. More often than we think, we have everything we need right where we are to be who we want to be.