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Nathan Keir Crofton-Bond

Should I bother going to film school?

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I wasn't quite sure where to post this so forgive me if it is in the wrong place. I know this question most be posted here quite frequently but I wanted some sound advice.

 

I am currently in a dilemma. I am thinking about trying to break into the film industry. I would love to become a cinematographer but I have different people telling me different things. I have no experience in this field. All I have is a desire to make films - which of course millions of other people have too. There's nothing unique about me, I have no special skill. Should I bother taking the risk?

 

Next year I want to study either science of film production at university. Many people have told me a BA is useless and it will only leave me in a "f**k load of debt." But I have no proper skill (other than shooting a few things with my Canon 7D) and I want to learn.

 

If I study science I am almost guaranteed a career. I love science but I'm not sure if I want a career in it. I have no contacts, I don't have a great deal of money. Am I doomed to failure? Does anyone have any suggestions?

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A friend of mine has been living in a tent for the last 2 years so he can pay off his student loads from NYU film school. He graduated 10 years ago and has yet to make a film. Save your money, buy a camera, and start shooting.

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I would go to school...for science. Put your education into a field that will make you marketable so that you can have a career. Then you will have the money to finance your own short films and even go back to school for film if you so desire.

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You haven't mentioned about which aspect of science you wish to study.

 

People in film and TV come from a wide range of backgrounds, I remember the camera trainee on one production had a MBA. There is also science involved in many aspects the industry, which can give you an edge over those who attended film school. Check the universities to see if they've got a strong film making society and use that in a proactive manner to further things.

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A friend of mine has been living in a tent for the last 2 years so he can pay off his student loads from NYU film school. He graduated 10 years ago and has yet to make a film. Save your money, buy a camera, and start shooting.

 

I live in the UK. I am illegible for a student loan.

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Where do you live? What university will you be attending? Do you just want to make your own little indie films or work on big Hollywood productions?

 

England. I'm not too sure yet. I'm not sure about 'big Hollywood productions'.

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England. I'm not too sure yet. I'm not sure about 'big Hollywood productions'.

 

If you have in mind something like working in TV then I recommend going to Oxford University. You just need to pass their exam to get in apparently and get through the interview. It's very much worth trying.

 

That aside I would just keep shooting stuff with your 7D and learning through doing, I doubt you will find having a film production qualification all that useful in life.

 

Freya

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In order to get into a UK film school that worth gong to you need a portfolio of some films etc in support of your application, some are also post graduate.

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If you have in mind something like working in TV then I recommend going to Oxford University. You just need to pass their exam to get in apparently and get through the interview. It's very much worth trying.

 

That aside I would just keep shooting stuff with your 7D and learning through doing, I doubt you will find having a film production qualification all that useful in life.

 

Freya

 

I am actually interested in applying for this course at Oxford. http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses-listing/human-sciences

 

I would ultimately like to combine both science and film/TV.

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I wasn't quite sure where to post this so forgive me if it is in the wrong place. I know this question most be posted here quite frequently but I wanted some sound advice.

 

I am currently in a dilemma. I am thinking about trying to break into the film industry. I would love to become a cinematographer but I have different people telling me different things. I have no experience in this field. All I have is a desire to make films - which of course millions of other people have too. There's nothing unique about me, I have no special skill. Should I bother taking the risk?

 

Next year I want to study either science of film production at university. Many people have told me a BA is useless and it will only leave me in a "f**k load of debt." But I have no proper skill (other than shooting a few things with my Canon 7D) and I want to learn.

 

If I study science I am almost guaranteed a career. I love science but I'm not sure if I want a career in it. I have no contacts, I don't have a great deal of money. Am I doomed to failure? Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Do you have an idea of the kind of films you want to make, and what level of success would satisfy you?

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Do you have an idea of the kind of films you want to make, and what level of success would satisfy you?

 

I have always been interested in social realism. I love films that address cultural and social issues, such as This Is England, Neds, The Magdalene Sisters and Kes. I have a particular interest in British and Irish cinema. Though I have seen some fantastic American films recently such as Boyhood, Short Term 12 and The Grand Budapest Hotel to name a few.

 

I guess I enjoy films that are plot driven. I'm not truthfully a massive fan of major Hollywood productions (with of course the odd exception).

Edited by Nathan Keir Crofton-Bond

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I'm not truthfully a massive fan of major Hollywood productions (with of course the odd exception).

 

Hollywood wasn't always what it is today, ya' know...

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I have always been interested in social realism. I love films that address cultural and social issues, such as This Is England, Neds, The Magdalene Sisters and Kes. I have a particular interest in British and Irish cinema. Though I have seen some fantastic American films recently such as Boyhood, Short Term 12 and The Grand Budapest Hotel to name a few.

 

I guess I enjoy films that are plot driven. I'm not truthfully a massive fan of major Hollywood productions (with of course the odd exception).

 

None of those are plot driven films. Those are all actually character driven films with character studies.

 

Good to see new film makers. Best of luck.

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Just had a quick look at Oxford, there doesn't seem to be a film making society listed. Starting one could be a good way of adding to your CV and gathering like minded people together, plus you've got a drama society and photographic society , Christopher Nolan made good use of the film society at his University.

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..some are also post graduate.

 

Brian makes a great point. the NFTS is famous for its post grad course.

I couldn't get your link to work but I think getting a degree from Oxford will help you far more than any film-making qualification and will put you in good stead for getting work in the UK's broadcast industrys etc. Of course things could change but if the UK continues down the path it is on then I see that only becoming more the case than now.

 

It would also give you time to build up a portfolio of work to get into somewhere like the NFTS.

 

Freya

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Ditch science, study engineering - specifically, software, electrical or mechatronics which along with those other two throws in mechanical to boot.

 

Much more practical and very transferrable to a career in certain parts of the film industry - nothing to stop you getting involved with other students and making films on the side to keep up the artistic side of it all.

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Should I bother going to film school?

 

In the UK? Good grief no.

 

I've said this so many times I'll try to be brief:

 

 

The courses are almost all hopeless - most of them teach filmmaking as it is done in the UK, which means they're teaching something that's practically never actually done at all. They're teaching you how to do a job that doesn't exist in an industry that doesn't exist. There is no work.

 

All of this is of course subject to the "as near as makes no difference" rule, but really - there are a maximum of a few hundred people nationwide, that is in the entire UK, who make a real living at filmmaking. Joining this group is not really based on ability anyway, it's based on your contacts, and if you don't have any, you're going precisely nowhere.

 

People will feed you a lot of optimistic claptrap, but basically, yes, you are doomed to failure, as are the thousands and thousands and literally thousands of other people who come out of film schools in the UK and all go for the same three jobs.

 

P

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In the UK? Good grief no.

 

I've said this so many times I'll try to be brief:

 

 

The courses are almost all hopeless - most of them teach filmmaking as it is done in the UK, which means they're teaching something that's practically never actually done at all. They're teaching you how to do a job that doesn't exist in an industry that doesn't exist. There is no work.

 

All of this is of course subject to the "as near as makes no difference" rule, but really - there are a maximum of a few hundred people nationwide, that is in the entire UK, who make a real living at filmmaking. Joining this group is not really based on ability anyway, it's based on your contacts, and if you don't have any, you're going precisely nowhere.

 

People will feed you a lot of optimistic claptrap, but basically, yes, you are doomed to failure, as are the thousands and thousands and literally thousands of other people who come out of film schools in the UK and all go for the same three jobs.

 

P

 

I don't know where you are from but I have three major film studios within a few miles radius of me.

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Why are you asking here then?

 

 

There are no "major film studios" in the UK. There are a few rather sad and decaying relics of what once was, and there's Leavesden, which was refurbished at Warner's expense to shoot Warner's movies, and which you will therefore never be getting anywhere near. If it's that easy, just go down and ask for a job - and tell us how long it takes them to stop laughing. Well, if you're really lucky, you might get a gig at the Harry Potter experience, I suppose.

 

But seriously. Those studios generate a few hundred jobs a year, each of which lasts a few weeks, and almost all of which are on the sort of ultra-high-end stuff that you won't be getting involved with for ten or fifteen years - and in ten or fifteen years, it almost certainly won't exist anymore.

 

I'm trying to stop you wasting enormous amounts of time. The answer to your initial question is no. The only reason film schools exist in the UK is to make money for the people who own them. There is no worthwhile industry here anymore.

 

P

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Why are you asking here then?

 

 

There are no "major film studios" in the UK. There are a few rather sad and decaying relics of what once was, and there's Leavesden, which was refurbished at Warner's expense to shoot Warner's movies, and which you will therefore never be getting anywhere near. If it's that easy, just go down and ask for a job - and tell us how long it takes them to stop laughing. Well, if you're really lucky, you might get a gig at the Harry Potter experience, I suppose.

 

But seriously. Those studios generate a few hundred jobs a year, each of which lasts a few weeks, and almost all of which are on the sort of ultra-high-end stuff that you won't be getting involved with for ten or fifteen years - and in ten or fifteen years, it almost certainly won't exist anymore.

 

I'm trying to stop you wasting enormous amounts of time. The answer to your initial question is no. The only reason film schools exist in the UK is to make money for the people who own them. There is no worthwhile industry here anymore.

 

P

 

I never mentioned anything about getting a job at one of these studios, nor did I suggest it was easy. You made a statement which was that the UK has no film industry anymore. I simply stated that there are quite a few major film studios around me. I have not once mentioned that I would like to work on high-end productions, either.

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Do you want to work with film, video, both? Film schools these days have gone mostly digital.. but instead of learning only what someone is teaching, you can find out all the technical info you need right here on the old interweb. The best way to do it is get a camera, do what you want to do and learn from it as you go. If you find some passion for what you are doing, you will get better and make a name for yourself.

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I don't know where you are from but I have three major film studios within a few miles radius of me.

 

I live within 100 miles of Downtown Hollywood... I would not recommend putting your future into 'Filmmaking' unless you already have contacts in the industry.

 

Of my highschool cohort that did go to such schools as UCLA for 'film' or 'scriptwriting' (I didn't travel inthe circles of people who could afford USC), none have ever been mentioned in IMDB. Others in the group were more into performance, and still none have even a 'bit' part mention in IMDB.

 

Ok... I did live with the sister of a future Academy Award winner... but that guy was in to special effects and took his training at California Institute of the Arts (CIA...) and was founded with the idea of training people for the industry...

 

Even the Wife's uncle who has been living in LA for now almost 65 years... has like 2 IMDB acting listings... I think he did stage more that TV/Film...

 

The Wife use to do headshots for actors and actresses, and I think we've seen perhaps 3 or 4 who eventually made at least one national show, and none in film.

 

The Film business as a career is very difficult.

 

I do think some aspects will change, but I would not bet a 'career' choice on them at this point, there is too much fluctuation.

 

My own personal story, was I entered college as an art major. I realized at some point, most of the people who were getting MFAs where either ending up as 'teachers', or finding work in such areas as government social services. Very few, in fact none of my peers, ended up in particularlly 'good' positions doing 'art'. So I got a computer science degree... that has paid the bills...

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I never mentioned anything about getting a job at one of these studios, nor did I suggest it was easy. You made a statement which was that the UK has no film industry anymore. I simply stated that there are quite a few major film studios around me. I have not once mentioned that I would like to work on high-end productions, either.

 

Outside of Hollywood, and any other country's 'studio system', the 'need' and appreciation of 'film school' becomes even less of an issue.

 

In most cases, someone will end up doing commercial work, such as 'corporate video', 'wedding video', small regional advertisement work, etc. There are a few places outside of The Studios where narrative film work can be found. For example, Vancouver British Columbia has a 'film' industry, which does take on major Hollywood productions, but also produces smaller scale productions.

 

Since I'm not familiar with the UK specifics in this regard, I suspect there are regional film making industries, that operate on a similar vein.

 

But in any case, these are pretty limited. While the Digital Revolution has made significant changes, they have not settled out as to what activity would provide a career choice.

 

In the 80's the print industry began to feel the effects of the rise of personal computers that had graphics capability. Careers in traditional print work, where one would go to a big building, work for 8 hours, get paycheck + benefits, and leave at 5 pm, began to dry up.

 

What has taken its place is a large number of independent contractors, willing to work all hours of the day, night, weekends, holidays, small boutique commercial art companies, filled with similarly minded people, despite any 'labor' laws to the contrary, etc. which produce electronic 'media' which may happen to be printed out on actual paper, but more likely these days, end up on websites, and email.

 

That same process is in progress in the 'moving pictures' business.

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