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alessandro sambini

Tarantino says "I did get to film"

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Hi everybody. As I am a photographer who looks for a carreer in cinematography, I start to wonder: should I get to school? Or should I listen to Q. Tarantino's statement : "Did'nt get to school, did get to film"? It sounds like, "(litterally) If you analyse movies, you do not need to go to school". And again, it sounds like "It does not matter if you get to school. What is important are the natural/native skills you have".

I know that everyone is different, but I still wonder.

 

At the end, it is a matter of money. I would like to apply for a 8 weeks workshop at the NYFA, but, I am a non US student and it would become very expensive!

I am asking you in order to receive a feedback.

 

What do you think?

experience vs. school

 

thanks all of you

ALex

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I'm in the school (Westminster Film School, London) and I am lovin' it.

No one says you can't go to school and work in the industry (getting experience and contacts, not money!) at the same time. So I do.

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I'm in the school (Westminster Film School, London) and I am lovin' it.

No one says you can't go to school and work in the industry (getting experience and contacts, not money!) at the same time. So I do.

 

Yes, you are right. The fact is that I am not sure of which school to apply... I come from Italy and , in any case, it would be an exodus.

That is why I am looking for opinions on: "is it usefull to go to film school?"

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It is useful, but in the end it comes down to your needs, wants, and expectations. Every school is different in their style and facilities. It is also true that some of the best education can be gotten "on the job." Both paths are valid and both have benefits and drawbacks. In the end you have to sit yourself down and think; what do I want, what do I need, and how do I get there.

We can only offer out reasons for going to film school.

For myself:

I worked as a PA/Grip for a long time when I was in Highschool with my Dad who did Lighting/Camera for local TV and DVD things (a lot of areobics videos and cooking shows.) This got me some experience and knowledge on nomenclature, and how things overall work. BUT, I didn't have experience outside of video, and nothing in narrative, save for a few commercials here and there when I basically pre-rigged sets (did a lot of pre-rigging.)

The money was good and the satisfaction of seeing something I worked on on TV, and my name in the credits, was also great.

Then it came time for college. I knew I wanted to go because I love learning things (all things.) I went to college not to specifically learn film; though I am in film school and doing well, but moreover to take the other classes which I felt would help me in film (art history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, history. . basically a smattering of the humanities as well as some Physics (optics and motion and matter etc).

No, having gone to film school I have been able to network with other people who, through their internships from film school (i did not take an internship as it conflicted with my other BA i'm working towards), I have been able to pick up professional shoots as a DP here and there in the ultra low budget/no budget area. Could I have gotten here by going through the industry? Sure. I probably could've gotten higher by now (i mean I've been doing stuff on sets for some cash since I was 10!). But, and this is a big BUT, I'd probably not have been as confident behind the camera, nor known as much about the rest of the world had I not gone to college. Maybe I'd've been better off. Maybe not. But in the end I feel I made the right choice. I get to shoot (hell I HAVE to shoot) a lot on the school's dime for equipment. I get to shoot outside of school here and there for money. And who knows, the connections I've made here might carry further.

I already know one of the professors here wants to use myself and my camera for a film he's working on. and he gives union rates.

So, the moral is: there are many paths to the same destination. Take the one which suites you.

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Yes, you are right. The fact is that I am not sure of which school to apply... I come from Italy and , in any case, it would be an exodus.

That is why I am looking for opinions on: "is it usefull to go to film school?"

 

Also, a 95% student discount from Arri is very, very useful : ) !

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I think he means the ability to borrow equipment from the school's facilities.

 

I valued filmschool because I was able to shoot a lot of films in a short period of time. When I screwed up, it wasn't as a big a deal as if I screwed up on a professional production with so much money on the line.

 

It's certainly up to you but I know I wouldn't have shot that much material with so much variety in four years outside of school.

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No. School is school and Arri is Arri. And I mean Arri.

 

Arri doesn't give educational discounts. If they did, it wouldn't be 95%.

 

By the way, you should change your display name to your fll first and last name. It's forum policy.

Edited by Chris Keth

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What do you think?

experience vs. school

 

thanks all of you

ALex

This question has been discussed quite a bit here on the forum. You should do a search and you'll find plenty of pertinent information.

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This question has been discussed quite a bit here on the forum. You should do a search and you'll find plenty of pertinent information.

 

You are right. I looked for, and I have found plenty of information. I just wanted to pourpose a question that suited me more.

 

Thanks to all of you. In particular to Adrian and Chris.

 

bye

Alex

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Anytime,

and Chris makes a nice point about being able to screw up without much worry. It's definitely a benefit! (oh that first roll of plus-x in the bolex still haunts me!)

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I valued filmschool because I was able to shoot a lot of films in a short period of time. When I screwed up, it wasn't as a big a deal as if I screwed up on a professional production with so much money on the line.

Which school Chris?

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And IMHO Tarantino is more of a film fan-recycler than a film maker.

 

I enjoy some of Tarintino's films, but I completely agree.

 

I attended a class at NYFA and was not impressed. It didn't meet my needs for a film school. It is very important to research the school and evaluate if it will meet your needs.

 

I decided to attend Full Sail where I have learned an enormous amount. I also paid roughly $60,000 for a B.S. (as opposed to $26,000 for a certificate at NYFA) for tuition alone, but I am also working with equipment that you will never touch at NYU, NYFA, or USC. But then again, I came to Full Sail because I wanted a degree in less than 2 years, also.

 

When it comes down to it, you need to know why you are going to school. NYFA and Full Sail are practical based schools teaching you mostly the skills and craft to shoot a film. NYFA focuses a little more on the theory, but you miss so much of the technical end. Schools like NYU and USC are theory based schools. They will teach you why a shot is moving left to right or vise versa.

 

Now as for whether school has been worth it.... I paid $60k to make every mistake possible and it won't affect my reputation (to any major extent) in the industry. I won't be green (or as green) out there. But then again, it is all about what you make of it. 80% of my classmates go home and play video games while I go to shoots. So if you decide to go to film school, you will ONLY get what you put in.

 

It is a big investment. I hope I helped you out.

Edited by Michelob Fedusenko

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you will ONLY get what you put in.

 

It is a big investment. I hope I helped you out.

 

Amen to that.

I had the benefit of going to a pretty production oriented 4 year school (temple univ) which was a good price point at 8000/yr for instate. But it is definitally about working your ass off! And most importantly, try to distinguish yourself. Don't just do what a certain project may require, but go the extra miles to make it amazing. Make it unique. And also; dont get discouraged.

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I'm in the school (Westminster Film School, London) and I am lovin' it.

No one says you can't go to school and work in the industry (getting experience and contacts, not money!) at the same time. So I do.

 

There are some issues with going to school/university if you wish to go into the technical end of production, at least in the UK.

 

I have been told numerous times, that camera crew/sound crew will deliberatly avoid hiring students/graduates as trainees because they have a low success rate with turning them into usefull members of their unit.

 

Now there are hundreds of graduates in technical roles in the UK industry, so its not impossible, but it seems to be something to be aware off, especially if persuing work in the technical departments.

 

 

However if the intention is to be a shooter, in what ever form that may be rather than working up through a department, a film school that produces lots of shorts will definetly be a great help, allowing one to build up a varied showreel.

 

My film school (Bristol Uni) made very few shorts/pieces, and was subsequently 95% a complete waste of time!

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Which school Chris?

 

Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Pretty small film school but it is right with a rather large and prestigious photography school. I took a lot of classes on both sides.

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I have been told numerous times, that camera crew/sound crew will deliberatly avoid hiring students/graduates as trainees because they have a low success rate with turning them into usefull members of their unit.

 

That is true, which is why I don't advertise to crews that I go to film school. The problem is not the school, but the student. Many kids leave school thinking that because they have a degree, they are the junk. They think that they don't have to climb the ranks like everyone else. That is just simply not true.

 

Also, many of the students think they know more than they really do and then act like it. You can only get away with acting like you know more than you really do if you already know that you don't.

Edited by Michelob Fedusenko

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i'm in the same boat as you, and i've decided to go for the "experience" route, as in I'm not going to school.

 

I work in a recording studio full time, and I haven't set foot in a college classroom. I started recording demos for my band and my friends bands, then eventually everything just came together. I'm not exactly trying to have a full on career in filmmaking, but I'm hoping things will come together just like my current situation.

 

heart is everything.

hope that helps

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I have been told numerous times, that camera crew/sound crew will deliberatly avoid hiring students/graduates as trainees because they have a low success rate with turning them into usefull members of their unit.

 

Wow, really? What is the logic behind that though?

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I guess this has to do with two aspects when it comes to "student": the technical knowledge that has been learned, and the social attitudes that are displayed on the job.

 

The UK has a very broad and varied college/university market, with a quite sophisticated understanding of quality and an aquired reputation that goes with it. People in the UK do very much care about school/uni names and what goes with that (irrespective whether the reputation is actually backed up by substance). While some places a honeypot magnets everyone wants to get in because the name allows a pretty good career, others' certificates and degrees aren't worth the ink on the diploma and find themselves publicly ridiculed in the media as well. Ironically, "media studies" is one of those courses the media loves to bash (from which - to give it yet another twist - most people I met and who are working in the broadcasting business, i.e. journalists, producers editors, admin, controlling, planning, originally come from).

 

Many film school degrees have a curriculum that leaves certain aspects of the industry out of the loop, as Andy said, to the detriment of what the students can actually learn. If you don't do many shorts, just dry-exercises, and then only shot with DV consumer cameras, with the Beta SP being the ultimate tool available; if basic optical laws in physics aren't taught and the optomechanical play of a lens remains a mystery to a gradaute because, "hey, it's just a f-number on a display, the camera sorts it out for you", well, then I would not welcome such a certifite graduate on a project I am responsible for or work with.

Many colleges have of course financial constraints which hinders them to insist on shooting 35mm and have the necessary gear at hand to second that approach. Many also lack figureheads or experienced staff to attract talent. Not every film school is run by Mike Leigh, right ;) ?

 

But there is also another issue, namely social attitude:

I am not particularly referring to students having a chip on their shoulder and being overly confident or even cocky. To be honest, quite often, students getting the newest stuff taught could teach experience-based old-horses of the industry one or two things ? very often, semi-achieving people who basically feel threatend by younger and fresher talend put such perspectives forward, so I would feel cautious to disregard classroom teaching in favour of experience-only. It's not that easy (and I say that from someone who didn't go to film school but is an autodidact ? on the other hand, I hold a couple of unrelated degrees from a place that basially "kindly indoctrinates you" to do nothing less than "change the world" and gets away with that quite well; so much for personal disclaimer re my scribble here).

What I mean with 'social attitude' esp. in the public discourse in the UK, is about discipline, social interaction, being ready to take poop and not whine at 2am about getting to a rainy outdoor shoot in mid-November with Fahrenheits as low as some people's IQs. Being a team player and "follow orders" but also "contribute to the cause" with own ideas, creative input ? in total: being passionate about the job. Because frankly, this is not an industry where the overwhelming majority will earn alot of money. In the contrary. So being passionate and making it through that is probably the best way to see your future rather than hoping for a hot job operating the motion capture gear for Angelina Jolie's appearance in a souped-up medieval saga movie.

British students ahve a murky reputation for being socially challenging to others, unreliable, cocky, loving too much of a pint at times where you shouldn't have gone for it, etc. bla. I wouldn't worry about that too much re. your position, Emile. Because frankly, foreing students, both EU and overseas have an excellent reputation in the UK. So things are not all the clear-cut.

 

I think David here and his lifestory is a pretty good example, actually, how things can work out, although he is of course not based in the UK...

 

Anyway, I am off to Middlesex now to have a serious chat with Allan about that 95% ARRI discount: I hope that applies to his boxed 416 kit as well! Finally something to entice me off Aaton and Bolex 16 Pro gear! :P

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Who was it that said "It's the student that makes the school, not the school that makes the student"?

 

Very true in our industry.

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Ok, What I see is:

 

If you go to school nothing will guarantee that you will succeed in film industry.

The same works for the experience path.

 

I got what I want. The answer is:

IF you are talented/skilled/hard worker and so on then you COULD also succeed in film industry without school, throughout experience on set.

 

School is not indispensable.

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