Is Film School Really Worth It?

Written By: Lydia Fiyori

While film school may seem like it should be the first way to go, it doesn’t always have the desired return you were hoping for. Film schools are very expensive with tuition sometimes reaching $50,000/ year. This doesn’t help the fact that being a creative can sometimes take a toll on your bank account. However, people are willing to take the risk for the special education they believe they will receive to reduce the hardships of first starting in the field. Each school has their own curriculum however, after 2 years of being a film student at SCAD and a year of field experience, I have been able to come up with a list of what I feel a new student in video production needs to know.

The Film Student

The Three Key Skills

First, language is very important. There are many abbreviations, “code words” and roles that are specific to production that can leave someone who doesn’t understand very behind. Students need to practice it in class too in the appropriate hands-on setting so the language of production becomes like second nature.

Film students also need to learn how to adapt to new equipment. In other words, they need to learn to easily figure out how to manipulate different equipment despite the brand or series. Typical camera settings, lighting, how to mic someone-these are simple things that many people become frozen doing when presented with specific equipment they’ve never worked with. Trust me this will happen.

Special tech skills are also extremely helpful and rewarding when a student knows how to edit videos and audio on industry standard software. Despite this job usually being given to an expert, many students who most likely have little to no budget need to know this skill in order to produce professional work for their portfolio. This is a skill that will make the student not only more marketable, but also save the student a lot of money.

Does Film School Even Make Sense?

These three key things will allow any new film student to be able to begin their work experience. Unfortunately, after two years at SCAD, I just became somewhat comfortable working in the field. So much time was spent on expensive classes about arts and crafts on steroids rather than ensuring my ability to perform in internships. If schools don’t focus on these three things in the beginning to make sure students are “field-ready” then what exactly are we paying for? Quite frankly most of it can be self-taught with the wide range of information readily available now. Are we just wasting time and money until we feel confident enough to actually start our dream? Because let’s face it, experience in this field is way more valuable than a degree.

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