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Real world film school


It seems that the current popularity of film schools are are pretty much redundant considering the experience you can gain in the real world and the cheapness of the equipment available.

A friend of mine want to an interview at National Film and Television School 15 years ago and what they said was that he would learn the theory of filmmaking without touching any equipment. That in itself is a ridiculous thing to do. The principal of filmmaking is picking up a camera and shooting. Not sitting in a room and having a think. You believe that Roger Corman taught film theory with no practical outlet? No, he got a small budget and got his talented crew to make a film, which was essentially learn on the job. His crew consisted of Coppola, Monte Hellman and Joe Dante. Look at what they went on to do. True they did go to film school but back than and even up to 10 years ago equipment was at such a premium you had to go through these educational outlets.

Not anymore as everything is now yours to grab, learn and make. A course at this stage is just a waste of time that can be best spent making stuff. One exception in my book is the Raindance Institute. They teach you practical experience and show you how to make films without pretension and more about passion. A few friends who have done the course have been impressed. Read about Elliot Grove’s philosophy and you will understand why he champions this direction.

To give a bit of personal context, when I started, editing equipment was ridiculously expensive and only available to people who had access to it in Post Houses (like me!). Anyone old enough will know these times and it’s hard to make the guys nowadays realize what they have in front of them.

In fairness Film schools can give you the fundamentals if you so wish and the best ones are aligned with big companies for a foot in the door otherwise stick to the other route of starting as a runner in an established production company. You need  the real world experience and remember, certification doesn’t really mean anything at the end of the day when in the business of show.

Oh, and my mate who went to the NFTS interview 15 years ago? He is currently financing his next film with a great script….. all learned on the ground.


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