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Thread: Film School/Studies

  1. Default Film School/Studies

    Alright so in 2 years, I am either going to go to study film in Toronto, which would mean moving away, or going to a local University to study film.

    Firstly, the school thats in Toronto only accepts about 65/1000 applicants, so it's pretty tough to get in. In addition to an application they take your average from grade 12. This being said, should I take courses that will get me a high average, or courses that I will actually be able to use, and get me an averge...average?

    Secondly, I know that a lot of the first year of film studies doesn't revolve around shooting and editing, but I like to be prepared. Looking at some camcorders I decided that it would be better for me to get an HD camcorder so I can easily edit on my computer. Would it be better to buy online, or at a BestBuy? I'm eyeing a Sony HD Camcorder for 1500 at BestBuy at the moment.

    Lastly, anyone here go to film school? I know this is a big choice to make and I want to here some opinion from real people. Thanks if you read this far.


  2. #2
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    Mar 2005
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    Film School and Film Studies are two different things.

    A film school is a college where you learn how to make films (or video, or television) and is almost essential nowadays if you want a career in the production side of any of these mediums.

    Film Studies is a way for universities to offer a "fun" topic and, on most productions, Film Studies graduates are seen as something to be wiped off the sole of your shoe.

    At a film school, private or state run, you should learn the technical side, the theoretical side and the practical side.

    In film studies you learn the end credits of films off by heart and how to criticise films. If you make films on this course then the technical side will be mediocre as this is beneath an Autor's level. It entitles you to wear a flat cap or baseball hat backwards and look down your nose at technicians. It can be an advantage if you want to work in the office-side of production as you can sit in the canteen discussing obscure Japanese silent movies with your fellow runners.

    My personal suggestion would be Toronto as (a) it's good to get away from home and (b) the institution is more important that the mark you get at the end.

    Others might disagree.

  3. Default

    Well, the chances of me going to film school are slim since the only one I've heard of that is a school is Vancouver Film School. Would taking Film Studies in university really be that bad? I'm looking at the brochures for both Film Studies courses and they seem to transition from learning about movies and what not to actually producing movies. I just don't want to make a mistake by taking Film Studies.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    It's only my opinion but...

    Look at it this way. You're a producer looking for people to work on your project. You have numerous applicants. Who are you going to chose?

    (a) The people from the film school which is difficult to get into and only allows the elite to pass or
    (b) Those from the university which lets almost everybody in and churns out hundreds of "media studies" graduates.

    There is no "easy way" into the film/television industry (those who say "it's not what you know but who you know" are losers looking for an excuse). In the UK the unis produce 30,000 "Media Studies" graduates each year, for an industry which only employs about 50,000 people in total. we've had some of these graduates showing stuff on this forum which, quite bluntly, wasn't anywhere near the technical or artistic quality of most of our regular amateurs.

    Producers know this, they want people who can do the job, not just write about it.

    Have a look at who teaches at a dedicated film school, usually Academy Award winners, working professionals, proper film-makers etc. Have a look who's teaching at the uni, often people who have a doctorate but no career behind them. To add a bit of kudos to the "media studies" there may be the occasional worthwhile visiting lecturer but, in a decent film school, all the instructors will have a practical base.

    Yup, the local Uni and Media Studies is the easier option but, if you want to work in TV or movies, it's also the least useful out of the two.

    You may gather from this that I went to a Film School and therefore am somewhat biased... but I do have a job!

  5. Default

    I see what you mean about hiring. I guess I'll take my chances and try to get into Ryerson (Toronto school). So I'm assuming that most of the people you worked with at college/university also got jobs? I'm just worried that if I don't get into this one prestigous school, that I'm wasting my time going to a local university and learning Film Studies there. There's no real option for me to go to a film school straight out of University but I may be able to transfer in 2 years (says my mom). Oh well, thanks for the input and help.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by scl95 View Post
    ... So I'm assuming that most of the people you worked with at college/university also got jobs?
    It's not that easy. I had the advantage that I graduated at a time before working in the media was 'in". Some of those who graduated at around the same time have gone on to win Oscars, so they would probably consider me to be relatively unsuccessful! They certainly have bigger houses than me!

    I will say that, apart from those who ended up drinking, smoking or injecting themselves to death (don't tell your mother that part) most of us got jobs working more-or-less in areas we wanted. As the joke goes:

    What does the technician say to the Media Graduate?
    "White, two sugars and one for my assistant too."

    Many a true word is spoken in jest.

    No university or film school can guarantee you a job but now's the time to find out which option gives you the best chances. Oh, and don't trust the internet! There's a load of rubbish online and anyone can claim anything. Write to the schools, ring them up, ask questions, get in touch with ex-students and visit the schools (okay that's a bit difficult but a round trip to Toronto might save you three years wasted) and Unis.

    Finally, trust your instinct rather than old fart's (like me) advice.

  7. Default

    Alright, thanks for the info. I have about 2 years before I have to decide where I want to go but again, thanks for the information.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Great advice from Gaffer there. I can only reiterate that the few people taking film studies courses who have posted here really seem to know little about making films and even less about taking constructive criticism.

    One particular poster seemed to think that because he knew about this style or that style he really was way above worrying about such menial tasks as getting compositon, lighting, sound, exposure etc right.

    As an amateur I can't get enough schooling in the "craft", as David Lean called it, and wish I had the opportunity and facility to study this stuff properly as you hopefully do. Good luck.

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