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Hey guys! I just joined this site today and am hoping to learn a lot and connect with a lot of people.


Currently I'm 15 and in the 10th grade and have a passion for cinematography and filmmaking. I've been video editing for years but more recently (roughly 1 1/2 years ago) got serious about it. I've started working more with the film aspect of filmmaking this year as I'm now taking an AV Production class at my school and i'm loving it. I've always been working in post but have only more recently starting to do more things with cinematography.


So anyways, I was wondering if film school was really worth it? I know quite a lot of things already about cinematography and film production and from this site and others I could learn so much more, without having to go to film school. Many people say that it's a waste of money and unless you're going to film school with very little to no knowledge of filmmaking, then I'd probably agree. But I want to hear from some people on here who have had experience.


I'm also starting to make some connections with music video editors/directors and independent cinematographers so I can get help from them as well.


I'll also post some of my work from youtube on here when I get the chance and I've recently made a vimeo so I will post it there as well.


Thanks and I look forward to connecting with a lot of you!

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Education is always a good thing and no persn should ever say otherwise. Something that isnt mentioned much on here (at least that Ive seen) is the importance of selecting a school that is REGIONALLY accredited. I see the Art Institute in far too many resumes for crew these days and it concerns me. If you ever have to have a fallback career (highly likely) like teaching, you will want an RA degree. Some of these shysty schools wont even hire their own grads as faculty because they dont possess an RA degree! Talk about hypocrisy.


My vote goes for formal education at a good school provided you can afford to live in the mean time. But if you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get serious work in lieu of school, it would be worth it to do so. Also, enjoy those student discounts while you got them...trust me on that.

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With the good schools you're going to need films that you've shot or made as part of the application. How much you learn will depend on the people you're working with, but most cinematographers on large productions do tend to have a third level education (if not a film school one).

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Hey David,


I am not very experienced in this arena of knowledge, but I do currently attend Full Sail down in Florida.


First off, I am 29 years old, a former active duty Marine, and have had many different job titles in the past 10 years. I have been living in the state of Florida for about three years and could not help but hear about Full Sail and its film degree. I chose to attend Full Sail hearing good and bad opinions and so far so good (for me). I am currently in a lighting class and a history of motion pictures class. My real advice here is, (and I know its been said before) your effort determines your outcome...therefore, X & Y. Your input determines your output--I mean that with everything I know in my 29 years of life! I am still young but, I see a lot of students here (at this school--the ones that apparently give the school the negative edge) that do not take this school seriously and show hardly any effort. This school is expensive, yes, but it has opportunities to get your hands dirty messing with all of the Mole lights, the expensive cameras, the experienced instructors and staff, and other hands-on-technician-type duties where a book cannot fully provide. I still cannot understand why some students do not pay attention, and would rather do "their own thing," and then complain to outside sources about failing classes and not being able to land a job.


Honestly, most students here are treating the classes like "13th grade" and its sad. With that said, I believe that if you really want to learn more about film and cinematography, then (for now) read some of the recommended books and talk with some of the experienced staff here on the forums and keep searching for more on the internet. If this is truly a passion for you and you desire further education, then proceed with optimism; remember, Full Sail is an excellent choice for the motivated student. Good Luck with your endeavors --there's so much to learn.

Edited by Dan Show
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I am currently doing a two year masters in film school at the moment at the London Film School. It's a great place and a pretty amazing experience. During the course we shoot 16mm, 35mm and the Alexa and we work on at least 12 films during our two years and are guaranteed to direct 2 and DP 1 while the rest is up to you. I have come to the course later than a lot of people because after my film BA in a standard University I thought I was ready to work. I worked freelance for a while and built up a lot of experiences but made no money and no real contacts - just did a lot of work for free! I decided to try for the film school to build up experience with high end equipment and make contact, connections and friends with likeminded people and it definitely gives you that opportunity. If you can afford it or get financial assistance I would say film school all the way. Especially nowadays that the whole world thinks they are ready to make films because they own a dsrl :wacko:

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  • 1 month later...

I know that this post might be a bit dated, but I would agree with Dan, if you can afford Full Sail, I would go through that program. I did not go there, nor do I plan to go there (too rich for my blood.) My friend have went there back in the day when they only have a two year program and he is a successful grip. My friend is Jacksonville, and worked with me at a local TV station. When a film project came along, he would stay at a crash pad down in Miami- Dade county.

I would do a two year community college program and then transfer to a 4 year, it will save you a ton of cash in the future. Also you might want to move to where you will be working. My Mentors daughter have attended UGA for their film program and she currently works as a production coordinator. I think her latest project was the Killing Season... something like that. She has been getting steady work in Atlanta. (She offers me work from time to time, but for some reason, she will not accept a "crash pad" as a local address... what is up with that?)

I believe film schools is one of the best tools for Networking, and in this industry, that is the best way to break in. Another option you should look into is workshops such as the Maine Media Workshops, once I save up enough cash, I might hit up a couple.

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I'd look for a regionally accredited school (non-profit) vs. a nationally accredited (for-profit) school. Most people I know who were successful after going to a for-profit school would have been just as successful without it.


If you can handle the academics, get a Bachelor's in something from a state school, and then a Master's in Film from somewhere good (AFI, NYU, UCLA, etc.). Starting at community college isn't a bad way to go. Keep your grades up (really high up, good film schools are harder to get into than good medical schools) and shoot as much as you can on the side.


Connections made at a top grad school (like UCLA) will be WAY more useful than connections made at a program like Full Sail.

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