Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Attending a Film School - Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to attending conventional university film school programs. Some students claim that traditional film school courses focus almost entirely on filmmaking theory whereas many of the more contemporary film schools pay more attention on actually practicing the various skills of filmmaking.

Also, many of the newer film schools offer condensed courses on fundamental filmmaking processes and procedures such as screenwriting basics and post-production fundamentals. Many film school students prefer these eclectic filmmaking programs because of the greater diversity of information that is presented, as well as the more flexible schedules typically offered by these non-traditional film schools.

There are even several reputable online film schools that make learning and attendance even more convenient. With these internet-based film schools students can pick and choose which topics to focus on, thus customizing their own curriculum to meet their individual goals.

Film school curriculum varies from school to school, so it is worth doing a little comparative research in order to determine what all is offered. Below, we’ll discuss some of the various topics and areas of study that are available.

By attending film school you can familiarize yourself with international cinema and learn about acclaimed filmmakers from around the world. By adding study of international filmmaking, you can expand upon other film theory classes. After all, the best way to build a foundation from which to explore your own creativity is to study the methods and techniques of the filmmakers that came before you.

And of course, any good film school will acquaint you with the basics of shooting and lighting techniques and theory. Even a cursory glance at descriptions of how commonly used effects are achieved can bring whole new depths and flair to your own approach to filmmaking.

If you want to learn a full spectrum of filmmaking fundamentals in as little time as possible so that you can get right down to making and producing your own films, then it would be in your best interest to attend a film school that covers the planning, budgeting and production processes of filmmaking.

Many film schools also offer post-production courses that are most appropriate for anyone interested in producing their own films. Especially if you plan to work with digital media, you should take advantage of courses offering tutorials on using computer applications that allow you to edit and mix sound and video. Since the innovation of digital video cameras, filmmaking and post-production work has become affordable for everyone. Before digital video, every fade in or out, every effect that could be applied to a film necessarily involved the duplication of the film material itself, such that production often involves working with hundreds of strips of film that must be carefully organized and tracked.

Even if you’re more interested in becoming part of Hollywood caliber filmmaking, in terms of budget and star power, you shouldn’t necessarily overlook the smaller film schools. While a degree from a known traditional university will get you in many doors, your own merit and achievements are what will determine your success. For this reason it is most important to choose a school that fits your individual needs and learning style.

In my next few posts I might review various film schools around the world, and especially from US, UK and India where the film industry is flourishing.


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