You wouldn’t believe how many times I have been asked, “Is film school worth it?” There is no simple answer. It is definitely the right decision for some but can be a colossal waste of time for others.
Why do I know this? I know this through first-hand experience. I got my film degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville. UF is a great school but it isn’t one of the top film schools.
This comes from a girl who went into her freshman year of college thinking she was going to be pre-med. Did that ever change when I took my elective course, Film Analysis.
Stepping into that evening class I felt like my world had opened up a new dimension. Sure, I liked movies. “Blue Velvet” was one of my favorite films – it still is. I respected classic Hollywood films. I drooled over art house features playing in the college town. But I never learned to pick apart a film, like I had a specimen in biology or a poem in English class, until I took that first class.
I was hooked. I quickly changed my major from Biology (there was no “pre-med” major at UF back then) to Psychology to Film. My coursework quickly changed from science-based classes to anything related to film, drama, and writing. Talk about doing a 180!
I finished my degree and upon graduation had no idea what to do. In school, they taught us how to break down a scene. We learned proper framing and aspect ratios. We knew what it meant to be a true auteur. But did they teach you how to find a job in the film industry? Not so much. A little here and there, but then you’re on your own.
When I graduated, the Internet wasn’t such an integral part of people’s lives as it is now. I quickly learned to read the industry rags and found the few websites for freelance jobs in my area. I quickly found work on independent films, music videos, commercials, and industrials in the south and central Florida regions. Eventually, I made enough connections and had enough experience to try the Big Apple, where I’ve been ever since.
So, do I think film school was worth it? Totally .