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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #241
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I don't mean to sound cryptic but I believe when certain things gnaw at you sometimes you should do them if for no other reason than to realize you do not need to do them.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #242
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That's a great observation Matt, I agree!

Now there's another aspect which I don't think has been mentioned here. I got an MFA degree in scenery/lighting design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh many years ago. Now I could have learned all the same things on my own, and it would have been a perfectly valid approach. However being a student in a high-powered program meant that I had to compete with a lot of other really talented people and there's a huge lesson in humility right there. If you're presenting your work alongside of others in a classroom setting you learn a lot of the nature of competition in the arts world, which can be brutal. I thought I was pretty hot sh*t at 22 years of age when I went into that program. But very quickly I learned there were a lot of other talented people out there - some who were a lot better than me - and I was going to have to work really hard to hold my own.

Now I'm not saying that this is right for everyone, but competition with other talented filmmakers in a top notch school might provide an incentive to excel which you wouldn't find on your own.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #243
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...but then again, there are many, many competitions and festivals out there these days, some of which you can buy your way into (48 Hr. Film Festival being one), not to mention online challenges, which can certainly inspire humility when you think your submissions "rocks" until you see the other ones that people have done!

For the two chaps who are specifically interested in the grip/electric side of things, try to get on some high-end shoots or get a part-time job at a local g/e rental house. You'll spend many grueling hours loading trucks or humping feeder, but you'll get to know the standard tools of the industry, and if you keep your eyes open on set you'll see lighting techniques in effect that are likely to be much more sophisticated than you will find on an indie shoot that is working with shoplights and china balls.

Learning by doing is great, as long as you have the right influences around you.

It's a great time to be getting involved in filmmaking.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 07:44 AM   #244
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Another option if you want some real experiece from some of the industry's best, Attend the N.P.P.A workshop in Oklahoma. It's a working classroom, and to be honest you'll learn more there than in your traditional classroom.

I agree with Boyd, competition in school can be very rearding, no matter what type of classroom you choose. I too found out very quickly in school that I was not as good as I thought I was. No matter what route you choose the best thing I can recommend is to be humble and a sponge.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #245
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I'm 19 and in film school and I have to tell you I HATE IT.

I am already working for a advertising company making commercials professionally and I own a small time video production company that I make these commercials through. I have been making movies and short film from the time I was about 12. I'm fluent with Avid, Premiere Pro, Final Cut, After Effects, Maya and many many more programs.

I am considering dropping out of film school because I am learning NOTHING, and the stuff that is taught is 90% of the time wrong. I don't want to bad mouth my school but I go to UCF in Orlando, FL.

My professors will often bring up hypothetical situations that a film maker might find himself stuck in and give a solution to the situation. However like I said 90% of the time they are either wrong, they don't know about new technology that can help creatively, or they give a solution that will put the production WAY over budget, but hey "That’s what the pros do".

I have also found that any kind of formal education stifles your creativity. The people that have to go to school to learn, and think they can learn everything in school often never get into their desired field and never use their degree for what they wanted.

I am a big fan of learning on your own, because when you learn on your own you tend to find new more effective ways of doing things.

I would recommend you read the book “Rebel without a Crew” by Robert Rodriguez. Grab a camera, get some friends together and make a few short films. If you enjoy it, keep doing it and TRUST ME, you will learn more by doing it then you will by someone showing you one way to do it. There is no one right way to do anything, but college will try to tell you there is.

Best of luck
I have to say, this is one of the most inspiring posts I've read on the Internet and I wholeheartedly agree. When I went to college, my professors where academics who had very little passion for being successful or creative. Working at the "institution" meant job security and freedom from market forces... something I saw as a cop out of sorts.

When you find someone like Travis that has the passion and the "curiosity quotient", that far exceeds a formal education in any background.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 07:52 AM   #246
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I go to film school at the University at Buffalo. The one positive aspect of film school is that it motivates you and forces you to get projects done, and also helps you develop your creative process. Because lets face it, its incredibly difficult to get motivated on your own. I received my associates in TV production and in theory that could have been enough to get my foot in the door, however I wanted more. I enjoy film school, even if my school is a bit on the artsy side, I enjoy it nonetheless. I say if you can find a decent program that you can take part time and still work your full time job go that route. I think the education mixed with hands on experience is very important.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 12:55 PM   #247
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Any Film School Students?

Hi all,

I am considering applying to film schools as a grad student in the fall, is anyone currently going to film school, or know anybody who is?
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Old August 21st, 2007, 10:53 PM   #248
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If you aren't motivated on your own enough to go out and make a movie, then maybe you could find a better use for that film school money.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 08:45 AM   #249
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Since this is a frequently asked question, some other threads on the topic...
Thanks for pointing that out, Robert... I've merged together a couple dozen film school discussions into one big 'ol thread, which is what you're reading now.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #250
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Digital Film Academy

This old mega-thread seems like a good place to ask this... I have a director friend in Europe with a nice resume in live theatre and opera who is interested in getting more involved with film. A couple years ago she spent several months taking courses at New York Film Academy (http://www.nyfa.com) and enjoyed it. I visited back then, and it seemed like a nice place.

She's now considering returning for more studies, but is also interested in the Digital Film Academy in New York: http://www.digitalfilmacademy.com. I don't know anything about this place myself - anybody else have an opinion?
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Old August 10th, 2008, 11:31 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by Deke Ryland View Post
When I went to college, my professors where academics who had very little passion for being successful or creative. Working at the "institution" meant job security and freedom from market forces... something I saw as a cop out of sorts.
I taught college for a time and feel I have to stand up for professors just a bit. If you had professors like this you had bad professors. I worked with many people in academe who were brilliant and creative and cared a great deal about the experience they provided students with and who worked 70 hours weeks to provide the best education they could ( I am married to one such prof.)

The truth is there are hacks in most professions who take the path of least resistance over the course of their careers, it ain't unique to academe. Another truth is that brilliant, creative people are always in short supply.

If you want to find a good academic experience you have to do your homework. Do research on the professors who will teach courses (university websites make this easy now). Find out what they've published or the work that they've done. Talk to current students about their experiences. Most importantly ask about graduation rates and job placement. You want to find a school from which students are being placed into the best entry-level positions and that have the best industry networks. Of course these are the hardest schools to get into, generally speaking.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #252
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
She's now considering returning for more studies, but is also interested in the Digital Film Academy in New York: http://www.digitalfilmacademy.com. I don't know anything about this place myself - anybody else have an opinion?
Boyd,

I agree with Peter, and I'm speaking as both a producer/writer/director and a college professor. I teach a college video course and I can vouch a professor can make all the difference. The course itself is secondary. I used to teach at NYU's Tisch School, and we had a good balance between good professors and well-designed courses. This is not always the case.

Your friend who comes from theater, and already has some training in film-making will probably not learn much that is different in the digital film making course. The introduction to how a digital camera works, and some lighting considerations, are hardly worth the cost of the course. A quick seminar might be more useful. From what you describe, she already has 95% of what she needs to know, the rest is technical.

Of course, if she has the money and the time, go for it.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:09 PM   #253
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I'm not familiar with this particular place, but I'd say your friend should shop around and see what is out there, and make a selection entirely based on her needs: general knowledge? technical knowledge? aesthetics? Different programs and schools have different strengths.

It seems she has a lot of knowledge and experience in some areas, and perhaps just needs some practical experience, some direction, since self-study is an important part of being a filmmaker, and a film she can crew on (or films!).

Some good ones I've had friends attend are the workshops in Maine, and the Sundance Directors Workshop (as interns); a couple also went to Cannes, but that offers another side of the business.

There's also a one year filmmaking program at the london film academy that another friend attended and thought was good.

K.
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