So you want to be a true filmmaker. You’re done running around in malls and parks with your friends making zombie-comedies, doing blockbuster parodies or creating cardboard homages to Star Wars and Star Trek (bless your souls). You have pillaged the depths of fandom and now feel a real, profound compulsion to take it to the next level in a genuine, professional way. The time has come for you to pull up that search browser and start looking at film schools.
Film schools have only existed in their present form for about 30-50 years, (a far cry from long-established arts & sciences) and even now operate within this nebulous zone between recognized educational institutions and clandestine night workshops at the local YMCA taught by struggling screenwriters and self-styled moguls.
With the rising popularity of cinema as a legitimate professional vocation in much of the developed world, film schools are more sought after than ever before. As usual, hierarchies have developed and elite schools will usually open their doors to those who can afford it, while smaller institutions get by on the success of the occasional star that was born in their classrooms.
There are largely two perspectives on filmmaking education today; those who swear by the technical and artistic merits of attending an accredited facility, and the rapidly-growing legions of guerrilla independents who not only did not attend, but many of who reject the notion altogether.
So which is the better path? Do you bite the bullet and a take 2-3 years (along with a solid hit to your finances) to receive official training or do you teach yourself the basics with a couple of Youtube videos and For Dummies books and throw yourself headlong into the craft?
Stay tuned for some detailed answers in the next installment…