I just finished my final for my intro to film analysis and aesthetics class. That means that my first semester as a film and photography student is finished. After time to reflect my analysis is that just because you’re not in film school is not a reason to not make films, but if that’s what you want your career to be go to film school and follow your dreams.
Every year there are lists that rank film as one of the worst majors. Forbes has film at number two this year. Second to my future minor in anthropology. And that is just bullocks. Regardless of how the industry transform in the future years there will always be a demand for a person to make a video or take a photo. The internet may even open up more possibilities for “freelance” filmmakers. Independent filmmakers free even from the independent studios.
Film has such nuances that only time working on it with professionals will lead to a full understanding. And I don’t mean working with professionals as in being a PA or coffee runner. I mean making films or photos on a near weekly basis and going under critique from peers and professors. A film program in college in one of the only places that has such a setup.
Going to college for film means that you will have experience with a variety of equipment. Along the way in film school you will work with celluloid. Bemoan all you want but this format can only teach you important lessons. Working with film instead of digital forces you to stop and think about your choices of lighting, movement, and what you really shoot. Because of the lack of immediate review you are forced to truly shoot for perfection. Call it outdated all you want, but I support the lessons that shooting film will give you. Plus film just looks gorgeous in so many ways digital can’t match yet.
Film school has countless benefits. So many I can’t even list them all, only the ones I have learned so far. But just because you’re not in film school yet or even a film major doesn’t mean you can’t make films. Some of my favorite directors (read as Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino) weren’t film students. If you love and respect film enough you can be a great filmmaker. You may even be a better filmmaker than the film student. But if you are in high school and considering being in the film industry I can only plead that you go to college for film. The lessons are invaluable to not learn.