Is Film School Worth It?

August 21, 2009

If you are pursuing a career in filmmaking one of the most difficult questions to answer is if film school is worth it? Many young filmmakers find difficulty in weighing the time and money spent on film school vs. pursuing a career in filmmaking on their own without school?

First of all, if you have a camera and desire to make films, congratulations! YOU ARE A FILMMAKER. No need for any form of school or college.

Filmmaking is an art, a creative process. A painter needs no certificate or training to create, just a brush, paint and canvas. A filmmaker only ever really needs a camera, film, and editing suite to make films; and because of the development of modern technology almost anyone can afford the equipment and learn how to use it fairly quickly. Plus, with the advent of YouTube you can distribute your film to the world in a day. On the other hand, to master the use of the camera, film and editing suite, as well as the distribution and sale of your film you will need a lot of practice and instruction.

Most painters did not just pick up a brush and start painting masterpieces. They apprenticed professional artists, received some form of formal training and painted for years before they produced their best works. Most filmmakers need the same which you can get from a film school.

Top film schools provide professional instructors and the opportunity to gain real world experience writing, shooting, directing and editing your own films.

So ask yourself this, have you already mastered filmmaking or feel you are on your way? If the answer is yes, then the answer to is film school worth it is no. You don’t need film school.  If you are already creating great films, you just need to learn how to produce your films; which there are classes for that as well. Plus, take that $50,000-$100,000 you would have spent on film school and spend it on producing your own film.

If you have not yet mastered filmmaking and feel that attending a film school would help you grow as a filmmaker while speeding up the process fulfill your goals as a filmmaker, then the answer is yes. Film school is worth it if it brings you closer to making your masterpiece.

Now the next step is finding the best school for you and enrolling in film school.

Addition – I posted this on Facebook and had a great comment from a former film school student.

Its challenging but after finishing my Film, Bachelors I’ve never felt so confident in my life to hold a camera, to write a script and to pursue a career in Filmmaking.

Film School… its definitely an advantage to acquire knowledge related to the industry, knowing certain techniques, styles and areas within Filmmaking…. it actually improves your creativism and versatility to better achieve your Vision.

Finding your department is important…. I found FX/makeup department to be my strongest point.
… if I would’ve chosen to just continue in the industry without been educated, I don’t think I would’ve ever found my place and probably end up disappointed and discouraged. Film school gives you guidance, to bring out that unique quality that describe us as an Artist.
Tanya Lee


Fun Fact: There are 968 film schools!