Quote for Film School...?

FroiFroi Website User Posts: 966
Hey all,
I know that if i want to do things in film, going to university is not really necessary, just look at Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, etc. None of them attended any film school type of thing and they are some of the best directors out there.
However i want to keep the option for going to uni open, encase i change my mind. However one uni i want to go to is quite academic, and look for good grades, (roughly AAB). However film is not academic! You do not have to pass with flying colours, or be an A grade student, to be a good film maker. So what i'm trying to say/ask is:
Does anyone know of any powerful, and meaningful, quotes which can support this? Quotes from directors, etc, high up in the hierarchy of film which can help me explain my point with out sounding like a tool?
Thank you, 
:)

Comments

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    I actually slightly disagree. :) Film is very academic and packed full of theory. Filmmaking, and filmic storytelling in particular, is a language in itself. An in-depth understanding of that language is vital if you're to be an accomplished filmmaker - even if you then make a conscious decision to break the rules.
    Creativity alone is not enough to be a filmmaking. Don't underestimate the craft element of filmmaking. Particularly if you're planning to get into directing, it's important to know how to tell a story efficiently - both in terms of narrative and in terms of budget and scheduling.
    Of course, I'm not saying you need film school to know this stuff. I learned more from my collection of Robert Rodriguez DVDs than I did from my entire time at university studying film. Fincher's DVDs are similar and hugely detailed. The Lord of the Rings extended DVDs are amazing, though light on technical specifics. Any Joss Whedon commentary is excellent listening for understanding how to tell a slick story.
    In other words, film school isn't necessary, but a knowledge of film language is vital. Film school is just one way to gain that knowledge. With the rise of the internet it's even easier (and cheaper) to find out this stuff than it was 14 years ago (jeez...) when I went to university.
    But it would definitely be a mistake to try to make an argument against an academic/theory understanding of film.
  • FroiFroi Website User Posts: 966
    I learned more from my collection of Robert Rodriguez DVDs than I did from my entire time at university studying film.


    That right there pretty much proves my point! Obviously you need a certain amount of academic knowledge and know how yes (i agree with you there), but i don't believe you need As across the board to be able to understand film or be good at it.
    Seeing how a collection of DVDs can teach someone more than a 3 year course would when it comes to the story aspect (and more) i believe supports this. With modern day resources allowing people to pretty much get themselves to a quality of a graduate before they even start on the course makes me feel as if the course is not really going to benefit them as much as it potentially could. That's why i'm on the edge of thinking whether film school would be good or not, they seem rather out dated and are not letting students flourish as much as they would if they went off into the industry on an apprenticeship or something. But then again i'm only 17 and have not experienced film school, only visited their open days and heard what people in the industry, and past students think...

  • AmbiroaAmbiroa Website User Posts: 180 Just Starting Out
    Its true that you can learn by watching film, but the academic part is understanding what it is that you are actually seeing. If you look at technical breakdowns of vfx shots, the majority are visual fx that were done in post, but sometimes you are lucky and you see them correcting the camera angle or the perspective. These two are examples of the theory part because if you can't identify shots that need angle or perspective correction, than your eye is simply not trained to see it hence you won't feel the necessity to correct.
    All parts/roles in film making are equally important, but not equally theoretical. I say that the role most theoretical, is the cinematographer, which is not a fancy word for film maker. This person believe it or not is a walking library (almost) on any piece of equipment especially the ones that record so that would be the camera and the lenses. He/she knows what lens and which length to use in each shot under x lighting condition for y situation with the z expected outcome. When you watch a movie and think "wow this is greatly executed", you actually mean the cinematographer for most of the part.
    The role that you definitely do not need film school for is writing. But then you should be ambitious enough to become a darn good writer in the sense that you can write stuff that can be translated into a feature film, and not just good at writing. It also means that if you like to take top credit, your grammar and all that should be top notch anyway, whether you write for a screenplay or for advertising.
    Film making is not just art, it is very well technique too and to learn technique you need the theory to back it up.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    I would definitely say that these days it's more important to have a YouTube channel (or equivalent) serving as your portfolio, packed full of quality work, rather than a bunch of qualifications. Producers will want to see your work, not your grades.
    With high quality cameras and distribution being so accessible these days, any ambitious filmmaker who doesn't have an online portfolio is going to be largely ignored, even if he has amazing grades.
    Of course, having great qualifications AND a great portfolio is the best possible combo. :)
  • FroiFroi Website User Posts: 966
    Gathering everything that has been said so far, this kind of keeps me in this pickle i've been in for the last while...
    Do you think that it would be better to learn from a university/school or work in the field, say with a cinematographer,  or director, or lighting crew, etc....? Personally i'm at a sticky stage at the moment, i've been told by people i know that they learnt more in one month in the field than 1 year at uni! 
    But yes i like what you've said Simon! Online portfolios are very important and i'm glad to hear the work/portfolio is more favoured than the grades (to a certain point). Like some universities i have visited, some say that they don't really care too much about grades and more about who you are and what you can do, but also like i said earlier their are some which, irritatingly, see things the opposite way.
  • DarrenDarren Website User Posts: 164
    I've listened to a number of podcasts from filmmakers that address this question and there were two points I took away from them that may help you decide:
    1 - No matter if you graduated from film school or not, you all start at the bottom, so the difference for some people is do you want to start at the bottom with or without debt (assuming you take student loans to pay for your classes)?
    2 - Can you logically afford college?

  • DanielMorganDanielMorgan Website User Posts: 324 Just Starting Out
    edited August 2013
    Gathering everything that has been said so far, this kind of keeps me in this pickle i've been in for the last while...
    Do you think that it would be better to learn from a university/school or work in the field, say with a cinematographer,  or director, or lighting crew, etc....? Personally i'm at a sticky stage at the moment, i've been told by people i know that they learnt more in one month in the field than 1 year at uni! 

    Who do you think are teaching these courses. I don't know what film schools are like where you live, but I know in the UK, the university lecturers are extremely qualified. For my academic lectures, we had 3 highly trained theoreticians and for our practical lectures, we had one guy who used to cut together and colour grade feature films, and another who was still employed as a DP for BBC Earth.
    Film School is what you make it, some people thrive, some don't. For every director you can list that didn't go to film school, I can name one that did. Do I think it's necessary for a successful career, no.  Do I think it's useless, hell no. I got jobs I would have never have obtained with just a good portfolio. A degree in Film and TV Production says that not only can you handle the theoretical side of film making, you also have an understanding professional practice. 
    Also, there is a massive networking side to Film school. You will be introduced to professionals on a regular basis, you will learn the media landscape of where you live. 
    Sometimes I feel as if a lot of people who couldn't afford to go to film school, have to invent ways to degrade it to make their choices seem better. Film School is very useful in some ways. But its not a requirement for a good career not does it guarantee it. That's just my experience at least. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,254 Ambassador
    You're a member of a generation that grew up with heavy exposure to the visual language of film and television. Film school will not and cannot teach you how to compose a shot, edit a scene or write a story--there are rules, techniques, tips and standardized vocabulary you will learn that will help you with all of the above, but the basic "artistic eye" is something you're going to either have or not.
    A lot of what will be taught at film school is theory and concepts that can be learned on your own with books or internet tutorials, but a formal instructor is still helpful to have for clarification on cancepts and how things work together. And, yes, whether you go to film school or not, you're still going to learn more on your first forays into the "real" ("reel?") field, because schoolwork is largely theory. In the field, things can go wrong. You might have to improvise. You might be trying something new no one's ever done before and have to make it up. But this is the same in any field--the basic difference between book learning and practical experience. (I work for the University of La Verne as a field producer. I don't teach classes, and neither does the production manager I work under, and, yes, we HAVE had students tell us they've learned more from us in one day of shooting than a semester of classes, but we acknowledge that the basic grounding in terminology and concepts makes it easier for us to whip those kids into shape quickly. ;-) )
    The book learning can help you understand and learn from the practical experience a hell of a lot.
    What film school can offer you is a chance to meet (and learn from) other film makers. To work on the types of projects you might not do yourself. To play around on equipment that's probably better than yours. (No offense.) To try out other areas of production than what you might normally attempt, and to put together a few film so when you graduate you have your demo reel ready to go. Also, internships can be quite important--more than one person expanded a term's internship into a full job.
    Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. And whether you go to film school or not, on the outside your choices are "Start at the Bottom," or "Stay Independent." Both options are years of hard work ahead of you. And the very very sad truth is that most people who go into film, whether university educated or not, will never make a year's living in this field.
    I would go so far as to say that Uni for a "film major" isn't what I would do given what I now know. I would take film classes--maybe make it a minor--but look for a more "Practical" major that dovetailed nicely with the film--for example if you're one of those people who understands the arcane wizardry of programming, you could major in computer science, minor in film, and, write the next Hitfilm! (There's a high bar to beat....)
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    It depends on what you would prefer to do.  I mean if you go to college for something else and shoot film on the side you get a nice background in something that can be used as a fall back.  If you commit completely to film then you have more to lose.  If you do commit to film school you will probably be forced to shoot more shorts and think about some basic filmmaking concepts that most people don't learn.  You can learn the academic side while in school or the practical side by shooting on your own time. 
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Film school and university courses vary wildly, too. If you do apply, make sure you check the course resources/budget, as an underfunded practical course will be entirely useless - they'll probably be using ancient Macs and HDV cameras from 8 years ago. Only apply for courses that are properly funded and run by experienced lecturers, as Daniel mentioned.
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    At least in the US film programs at regionally accredited institutions don't actually vary too much.  There are nationally accredited universities which will vary because they come up with their own traditions. 

      I was surprised that San Diego State University has everything from Super 8 to Red Epic's and some BMCC's
  • FroiFroi Website User Posts: 966
    When it comes to the teachers, i will not deny they are qualified, but that varies from school to school, some schools will have brilliant teachers, and others may not. But that's besides the point. Yes film making is to do with a lot of theory as well, even if you are the best at the practical, you may be useless at the theory and thereby create rubbish films that look good.
    I do like the fact that in film school you make lots of projects and work with lots of people, your age, and are like you, which is one of the reasons i would quite like to go to film school. But seeing how books and the internet allows easy access to the theoretical knowledge of film means that it will probably be much easier, and quicker, to learn by yourself (obviously depends on who you are). Like with my school at the moment, i do find it much easier to learn when i am in the library working on my own (working on my own also some what encourages me to work, when i get into the flow, as i feel like i am accomplishing more), however there are some things that you can not learn on your own, and you need professional experience to help guide you through industry tips and etc. Which can be done by either two ways, on the field or in the school, and each has their own set of Pros and Cons which i am thankfully being told lots about in this thread!
    I believe i am going to do some more work in the "field" this friday if all goes to plan, so i hopefully i will be able to come back to this thread then and update my knowledge!
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    It depends a lot on where you are and the opportunities available to you. If you're in the middle of nowhere and none of your friends are into filmmaking, then film school could well be the best thing you ever do, purely for the networking and resources aspect. If you in a buzzing place and are surrounded by a filmmaking team, then you should already be making good stuff.
    I'd also say that you're never going to be good at practical filmmaking without understanding the theory. Theory comes first.
    That's not to say you have to formally study it, though - the theory aspects come more naturally to some people, and some people can pick up on film language simply by watching lots of films, even if they're not aware of the formal grammar. But you won't find a good practical filmmaker who doesn't already have an understanding of film theory - regardless of how they came about that knowledge.
  • FroiFroi Website User Posts: 966

    I'd also say that you're never going to be good at practical filmmaking without understanding the theory. Theory comes first.
     

    Yeah sorry i meant that they would obviously have the knowledge of the practical side and not with the more pre production side. I think that the practical side can come naturally to people, like some people are naturals at sport and how to read the game and play, whereas other people have to study the sport to gather an understanding of it.
    I like to think i have a strong knowledge on the practical side of filmmaking, i'm just in the process of making short films to try and learn myself through mistakes and what not. (with my short films at the moment, like "finger gun", i have been given so many ideas from that to put into my next short film to make it better, again this is a way i like to learn). But with the more business side of film, like budgeting, organisation, distribution, etc... those are the things that worry me the most.

Sign In or Register to comment.