So I took the plunge and decided to go back to University. I chose Capilano University because it seemed like it had a great program, loved the location and the Faculty seemed liked they were pretty well respected, which they are. However, I am starting to think this is one of the worst investments I have ever made.
To start, I spent the last few years reading up on filmmaking, browsing these boards, making a few films here and there etc. I figured the amount of knowledge I had going into the program would be slightly above average...if that. Boy was I wrong.
The majority of the kids in the first year have never made any sort of short film ever and are fresh out of the highschool... The gear we are using is ancient aka Sony PD150, yes with the dumb battery issues. We are also not allowed to use our own gear in the name of keeping everyone on the same playing field. So if I stay for the second year which will be another $10,000. I will get to use a dvx100a. It's also not until second year where we get to use our first light. Did I mention this school also teaches only video and not any sort of film technique whatsoever? Because according to some of the educated 3rd year kids...film is dead. No good cinematographers shoot film anymore and within 10 years nobody will...REALLY? I guess Roger Deakins is all washed up... These are also the same kids that were puzzled when I mentioned follow focus...
Needless to say I don't think I will be coming back for the second year. This is the most inspiring thing I have ever done in regards to motivating me to make the film I need to make. I have met a lot of great people and it may be worth the money on the networking side of things alone. It has also aided me with some perks at this years Vancouver International Film Festival. This past weekend I got to meet Charlie Kauffman after a Q&A. Pretty spectacular as well as Ellen Curas and Fred Elmes for you cinematography folks. I learned more in those Q&A then I have at film school thus far...
Long rant short,
If you want to get into films, have the money, and don't have a clue what white balance is...then first year at Capilano is right for you.
It's just frustrating for someone like myself with even a small amount of experience, going into debt to teach other kids what some of the weaker teachers arn't...
Thread: Filmschool Rant...
Results 1 to 10 of 101
10-05-2009 05:44 PM
10-05-2009 05:53 PM
I'd have to imagine the program is geared towards directing rather than cinematography. This was certainly the case when I was an undergrad at USC. I already had experience as a broadcast news cameraman, so the introductory courses were fairly elementary to me on the technical level, so I concentrated on learning what I could in regards to storytelling and theory. There's always something you haven't yet mastered.
10-05-2009 06:24 PM
You don't go to film school to learn. You go for the networking and the alumni networks.
Trust me, been there and doing that."I reject your reality and substitute my own"
MKTG Film, Film Marketing 101
10-05-2009 06:41 PM
I hate to say it but VFS is the place to get " connected " in Vancouver, but I don't know if it's worth the cost. I got my connections shooting and learning on my own, but I'm not a movie maker. I like to do everything so I make docs. and art crap for other productions.
10-05-2009 07:09 PM
A college degree is a good thing to have. Learning how to learn and the structured challenges of college will be valuable to you down the road; maybe not in filmmaking, but in life over all.
I am not degreed and it is one of those little regrets I have. My father died at the end of my freshman year, and while I was able to get a couple more years of college under my belt, that funny thing called life kind of caught up with me and I was not able to finish my degree. I have continued my education on my own and have a strong respect for "Book learning". However, filmmaking is a unique industry, and a sheep skin does not guarantee any level of success in it.
If you have the resources to finish the college degree, then I would say go for it. It will make you a better person in the long run and you will look back on these years with great fondness.
That being said, don't expect that the education that you are getting is all of the learning you will need for a successful career in filmmaking. What I would suggests is that you take the curriculum that your school has, kick it into high gear and use it as the basis of your own education. Go through the books you have and check every, that's right EVERY, footnote. Find the source documents for the footnote and make that part of your library. Make sure that you watch and re-watch every movie discussed in your classes and books and understand why they are worthy of discussion in a university level film class. Do your own research on these films and watch comparable films. The one thing that I have found that most successful modern filmmakers, like Scorsese. Spielberg, and Tarantino, have in common is an encyclopedic knowledge of film and film history. Take the opportunity of film school to also develop that knowledge. Watch every film you can and read every book on filmmaking that you can get your hands on. Make sure that you have a NetFlix account, a subscription to American Cinematographer and that you scour your schools film and video library and watch everything you can. Keep a notebook and right notes on all of the films you see, all the books you read, all the articles you read on filmmaking, all the lectures you hear on filmmaking and all the projects you work on. Cross reference these notebooks and continually update them with new knowledge. I would also suggest that you structure your minor to help you be a better filmmaker. I would also study literature, theatre, philosophy, history, politics and science, among other subjects.
If you take this film school education and make it your own, if you get damn near zen with film and discipline yourself, for 3 more years, to learning everything you can, and dedicate your life to continued learning, you will come out of this school with a leg up, and, maybe, just maybe, might be the kind of filmmaker that deserves to be able to make great films.
I would suggest that you keep an image in your mind of being, in 5 or 6 years from now when you are premiering your first feature at Caan. You are setting in front of a throng of reporters and they are in rapt attention as you discuss your film and it's place in the history of cinema. The school you are at now may not teach you how to thread a Panavison camera, or the work flow needed for a film shot with the Red camera, but, if you make the curriculum your own, your film school education just might make your speech at Caan something to remember.
Dude, it is just 3 more years, what you make of it is up to you. Go for it."The enemy of art is the absence of limitations"
"To me the great hope is... people that normally wouldn't be making movies will make them and suddenly some little fat girl in Ohio will be the new Mozart and will make a beautiful film using her father's camera-corder and the "Professionalism" of movie making will be destroyed forever and it will finally become an art form."
-Francis Ford Coppola.
10-05-2009 07:21 PM
I am 22, I have done University once for Theatre. My problem now is that I have gone into debt and learned only a few snippets about the business end of things. But another good thing about first year at Capilano is that you leave with a certificate, relatively meaningless yes, but apparently the faculty is connected enough that they can get you a job on bigger budget film sets. I am hoping to get into a union and work in the camera department and learn as much as I can whilst getting paid. I am also reworking a script I have previously attempted to make for submission to the Canadian Film Center. If accepted they fund it, help develop and distribute it both domestically and internationally. So that's my focus right now, as well doing everything I can for the remainder of at least this year.
10-05-2009 07:54 PM
The best Film School is on the set.
And in the Visual Language section of my blog; heh heh
10-05-2009 09:52 PM
I'm 43 with an IQ of 147-152 depending on the test. I have started college 6 times and never finished.
I'm not saying film school (or any other college) is bad. I'm just saying it's not for everybody. We all learn differently and our school system as a whole does not recognize that. Luckily for us, we work (or aspire to work) in a field that values results more than credentials most of the time.
Never let school interfere with your education.
"...there is no magic, no mystery---just common sense and hard work" - Nestor Almendros
Visit my site at
Hooligan Nation Productions
10-05-2009 11:57 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
- Los Angeles
Film school is great. Watch movies in class, oggle the girls, day dream about your next big movie. Real life is rough, so stretch out your fun as long as you can. You're only 22 so I imagine you can still get away with losing a year or two on misadventures.