Should I Go To Film School? Part II

MattBusiness, Filmmaking, Lifestyle13 Comments

Welcome again to another post here on Filmmaking Lifestyle Today we pick up from where we left off with our second post on a response to the question: Should I Go To Film School?

LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS

Too many filmmakers that I meet not only don’t care about the business side of filmmaking, they are so opposed to the business side that it seems they’d rather sit in a house with the electricity shut off eating cat food than some barmy idea about, “Selling out to Hollywood corporate machine”.

Everyone wants to get paid, but the reality of it is you have to contribute to profitable projects to continue to be successful.

One thing that does get my goat are people who try to propagate the illusion that Hollywood can only make bad movies and that Hollywood only tries to make money with little regard to creativity and vision.

Many people forget that some movies are niche movies or made for a specific audience in mind. Just because you don’t enjoy a particular movie doesn’t make it a bad movie.

The nature of all this is that it’s incredibly subjective.

ART VS. COMMERCE

When you consider issues like this, you’re simply facing the standard conflict every artist when their artistic vision meets the realities of modern life, paying bills, getting funded, student loans, etc.

If you can find alternate financing great.

Most people who have tried to make movies in the past are just more likely to be cynical after years (or decades) of struggling for peanuts.

Things like talent cost money, really good actors don’t work for free most of the time, most shooting locations don’t really care whether your indie or poor and whatever a permit and insurance and other stuff costs is simply what it costs.

It’s very difficult to work around these limitations.

It’s similar to a musician saying “I don’t want to understand how this keyboard synthesizer works just let me play,” when understanding how the specific synthesis works (frequency modulation, subtractive, granular, physical modeling etc) will, the vast majority of the time, improve the abilities of the musician as he understands how to make those new sounds.

Some of these things are just “stuff that probably has to be learned, sooner or later” or alternately “stuff that you’ll learn if your smart“.  By which I mean if you become a business success, and can live on a passive income for life, you can make all the arthouse cinema you want without ever worrying again, and without having to spend 100 hours trying to find a decent actor to work for free instead of just dialing someone up and paying the bill.

After making Star Wars, Geroge Lucas said that he can finally go back to making the arthouse films he always wanted to make, the two don’t have to be either/or – they can be complimentary.

IS THERE A MIDDLE GROUND?

It’s entirely possible that once you learn the business/networking basics they not only won’t seem so hard, but won’t seem so burdensome anymore, and once out of the way it will free the entire rest of your life to primarily focus on the creative side.

Networking is never a bad thing as long as it’s the kind of people you want to network with, and it’s a necessary if sometimes ugly thing with the gatekeepers who can make the difference of having funding or not, or having access or not.

Business success is never a bad thing since it’s hard to focus on the art if you wonder if you’ll be homeless next month.

The only time there is a problem is when compromise is forced, and I’ve almost never seen extreme success without some form of compromise.  Compromise is both the ugliest word of all and one of the most necessary, for most people, and most artists, in the real world.

Sometimes it can mean working on the project you have to and saving “your baby” to be done just the way you want it later after you have independant funding so nobody can screw it up.

Sometimes it can mean a subtle change about something you don’t really care about or aren’t really deadset into doing one way or another that makes the difference of having funding or not.

Thanks for reading!

Here are the rest of the parts in this series on Should You Go To Film School:

Part I

Part III

Part IV

You Should Try:

13 Comments on “Should I Go To Film School? Part II”

  1. Pingback: Should I Go To Film School? Part IV – Filmmaking Lifestyle

  2. Good information. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

  3. I’ve been considering film school, ut this article has taught me it’s probably not needed in my life

    1. Hi Simonion,

      Thanks for commenting. Film school isn’t for everyone, as I mention in this article. But there are some people it’s for.

      Don’t forget to read the other 3 parts in which I go into more detail on just who it’s for and who it’s not for.

      Cheers,

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  6. Great discussion of pros/cons for film school. I’m still undecided. Turning 22 just and not sure if it’s too late for an undergraduate at film school. Or if I should just go on my own way and start a business.

    This article and site has been really helpful in giving me ideas as I make this decision. BIG decision!

    1. Hi AbeTKroell,

      This is one of those age old debates: to film school vs. not to film school.

      You’re young enough to be able to still have time to try either out and still have a backup plan.

      Film school is very costly, so unless you have grants/scholarships that you know you can get, it’s a a tough sell!

      For my money, you could attend a great film school program and still start up your own video production business in your own time (yes, I know free time is limited on the top programs), but anything worth doing is worth trying!

      I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

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