Film making courses at film schools or by yourself


Study film at film schools or by yourself?

One of the questions that every film student deals with throughout his college years are can art e thought or am I wasting my time? There are many advantages and disadvantages to taking filmmaking courses in film schools. I will try to review here the main ones. For now, we will ignore the question of whether art can be taught, but we’ll focus on the problems that could arise from studying art. 

 “When people ask me if I went to film school
                             I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.”                                                                        Quentin Tarantino

I’ll start with the pros for taking film making courses film in film schools:

Professionalization of technical equipment

Film schools are a good way to learn all the technical issues, which sometimes can be difficult to learn by yourself. I’m talking about stuff like video editing, Cinematography, lighting and other stuff you usually learn when taking film making courses. Even if you are just thinking to direct, you have to know at least the basics of the technical world.

The society in film school

Contacts that you will make during your film making courses at the College can be such that will help you in the future in your career. In addition, you are always in a creative atmosphere.

In film schools, you can learn from the experience of others

In this industry, you can be a great filmmaker and still not make enough money. Many film makers take a second job as a lecturer. You should do a background check on the faculty members teaching the film making courses. You will find that some schools have lecturers that are currently active or at least was until recent.

The comfort of film schools

Personally, I don’t like comfort. It scares me and later on in this article, you will read why. In college, you will have access to a lot of equipment and that means you can spend more money on art, costumes, etc. 

  “filmmaking is like sex, there’s no one way to do it, and the only way to learn it is by doing it.”
Ana Lily Amirpour

Competitiveness in film schools

In most film schools, you’ll have to deal with competition. Competition can help you to take everything you have and stand out in the crowd (Later on you will read why competition can also be harmful).

Learn about cinema

If you want to get real film education and know about movies that have been made outside Hollywood, then film making courses in film school is a good tool for that (but not the only tool for that) Most film schools cover all the important films made outside Hollywood and outside the USA. It’s a good thing to expand your knowledge on films and to get know movies that are not mainstream and more artistic.


I wanted to write that in film school you can learn from the mistakes, but that’s not always the case. You should check out with the graduates of the college, what’s the policy on artistic freedom. There are many colleges that insist you do things their own way and this is very problematic in film studies. In my opinion, it is very important to get out all your crazy ideas right at the start, especially to know yourself and your style better, and also to know, what is working and what does not and why. Film making courses should be a good place to do just that. You should always go back for a moment you began to dream of making movies and remember which movies made you want to enter the field.

    “I was never interested in being powerful or famous. But once I got to film school and learned about movies, I just fell in love with it. I didn’t care what kind of movies  made.”
    George Lucas         

Now the disadvantages of film school in collage:

Film school’s Permissions

One of the biggest problems with the film schools is that you constantly need their approval. This is a very bad education for a film student. First, you need to be accepted to the school, then you need them to approve your project to start shooting. All the time you need their approval. The principle on which you as a future director should work is that once an idea came to your head, you need to just start working on it and see by your self if its working or not. But there are many film schools that might not allow you to go out and shoot a film, not necessarily because your idea was not good enough or you’re not talented enough. Sometimes it’s mainly because there is not enough budget to finance also your film. Their excuse will be that your film is not good enough.

Film schools are too expensive

Let’s face it. film Schools can be very very very expensive.It’s not popotional. Basically with this amount you pay for film schools, you can buy yourself a great camcorder with reasonable lighting equipment, sound equipment and even video editing computer.
You can also buy online courses. There are a lot of up to date online courses that are presented by professional from the industry and not only they are cheaper, but also more focusedon practical stuff that you need to learn and at your own pace. You can find some great courses on this page

The disadvantage of comfort in filmmaking classes

When you have the freedom to use whatever equipment you like, you learn to depend on it. It can be very discouraging when you go into the real world of film making and suddenly equipment costs money. Suddenly there are technical conditions that you feel you have to have them, to shoot a film. When the truth is that-and this is not taught in school film – in order to shoot a film, you just have to want to film it.

Competitiveness in film schools

One of the biggest disadvantages in filmmaking courses in film school is the constant competition. In a constant state of competition, it is difficult to make the movies you want. When you are competing for the attention of the establishment, you are forced to make films for the establishment and not necessarily those you believe in. You can get lost in it very easily, so you should watch out.
Remember that you are in total apprentices now and still does not work in production Company. The movies you make right now, are for learning and not for global success. Sometimes because of the competition, students has a tendency to get carried away with high-budget scripts. Remember you are currently studying and it is not worth investing everything in one film.
Always try to remember what made you want to take film making courses in the beginning. I think the biggest drawback to most film schools is that they prefer to teach students how to make films than to try to help them understand why they want to make movies.

Taking responsibility on yourself

In film schools, you always have someone else to blame- your teachers, your classmates, the equipment they gave you and so on…, so if things don’t work out it’s not your fault and there is nothing you can do about it. 

When you learn film by your self, it’s all about you. You have to find your disadventages and fix them. that kind of thinking gives you a lot of power and it puts you in a place where you have to improve yourself all the time.

Do you have what it takes to become a filmmaker?

What do you need to do to learn filmmaking by yourself? Pick up a camera and start shooting, read a few books or take a few online courses and watch movies. If you can’t do all that, then filmmaking might not be for you. You simply don’t love it enough at least not enough to start working in it. Filmmaking is not something you learn to make money or to become famous. There are much better ways to get these things.

So what’s the verdict?

Well, it’s up to you. Personally, I think that if you have what it takes to become a filmmaker, you don’t need film school.

Just remember one thing:
Whether you will go to film school or not, you will find yourself spending a lot of money on making films, but the movies you will make (whether in film school or by yourself), will teach you the best about this profession.




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