With the age of the internet, and almost anything you’d ever want to learn literally at our finger tips, what purpose does institutionalized education serve? First of all, let me be honest: I was a poor student, I have ADHD, and focusing is an issue- a large one. But I love to learn, it’s just that the way I was taught in school made things difficult for them to click in my head, and that caused a whole lot of problems with me wanting to learn as I progressed in school. So I took to learning on my own. There isn’t anything out there you can’t learn by using the right keywords. With that being said you might think that I’d say film school is for chumps and you shouldn’t do it, but that’s not the case. College in general is worth the effort, regardless of which degree you choose, for but one reason: contacts.
Meeting people in any field can help you get a job later on, but in film it also helps to have like minded people help you on projects. Who doesn’t need a director, cinematographer, producer, grip, gaffer, audio tech, editor, or even PA’s? As you progress you’ll find that your work needs more people to work on projects to be finished, or even get them off the ground. What good is your feature length master piece if it never sees the light of day? I can guarantee that if you write, shoot, and edit your feature length movie it will take substantially longer that if you had help, and it won’t benefit from the input you’d get from a crew. If you already have contacts with people who can do this for you, great! You’re ahead of the game. College isn’t the only place you can make contacts with talented people, but it is a great place to test the waters.
College has always been a safe place to experiment. Not like that. Well, I guess it’s like that, but that’s not what I’m talking about right now. College is a great time to experiment with what you think vs. reality. Is a project going to go well? You don’t know until you try, and trying new things is what it’s all about. If you fail, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Fail the class? Get kicked out of school and have to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life? To be fair that’s terrible. To be honest, it’s not like you lost millions of dollars on a box office flop either. A single failed experience in college is completely different than in the real world, and even if you failed the project and turned in SOMETHING most professors will still give you a pretty high mark anyways. They know it’s not about the project you set out to create, its usually the experience of making the project. Failing in college is a relatively safe thing, with valid feedback, and critiques. You don’t find that much in the real world. Bosses and co-workers can lead you astray from quality content, and most don’t care about your growth as a person or an artist. If nothing else, college also gives you deadlines to meet which help out versus being self-taught.