BE ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Question 34: Should I go to film school?

First, let me say that this person gave me no history, so I have no idea where he/she is coming from. Having coached as many people as I have, I know this could be:

A: someone who isn't in the industry yet, and wants to be

B: someone in the industry who is not a head of a department, and wants to be

C: neither of the above 

I will not be addressing "C," unless the person is neither A nor B, and writes to give me the specifics.  

Let's be realistic, I can't answer this question because you have to answer it for yourself.  I can advise you on what to ask yourself in order to make your decision. So, here goes...

On numerous occasions I've had clients come to me and say, "I want to move up and no one's giving me the chance.  Should I go to film school?" I ask them how they see that as a solution. Here are some of the responses I get:

1. I would be forced to build up a reel (and variations that don't include force)

2. I could create relationships with other students and teachers

3. I could get mentors

4. I would hone my skills & perfect my craft

These are all good reasons to go to film school.  However, you can do all of those things without film school.  My old boss, a Producer, and at the time, head of the producer program at a prestigious film school, once said to me that the students could take all the money they spend on school and make a film.  It would teach them everything and more.

On the other hand, when I was working with clients who made the decision to go to film school and we created a 2-3 year business plan, they had outstanding results. 

For those of you not in the industry and interested, it's the same question: what do you want to get out of film school that you can't get from real world experience? If your answer is worth the time and investment, go to film school.  

If you do choose to go to film school, my advice is to make the most out of it. Film school can be so much more than what you learn in class.

For more tips and articles by the Greenlight Coach, visit www.theGreenlightCoachBlog.com