Are film schools the breeding ground for good directors?
To be successful in your life, you have to be passionate about your dream. Passion along with knowledge is always the key to success. The path we could attain our knowledge is not very narrow as it can be gained from anything and anywhere. Moreover, if there is a possibility to gain knowledge from peers or from experienced ones, It can turn out to be a big plus. When it comes to filmmaking, the best way to learn any skill is by learning from experienced peers. And to be a good director, one should have a lot of skills and techniques that have to be learned. Such a great place for a filmmaker to develop their skills and knowledge is through film schools.
Film schools make you a complete filmmaker, as you get exposed to all the filmmaking techniques that are incorporated into a film. Right from cinematography and editing to acting and writing, all the skills that are required to produce a good quality film are preached here, with the guidance of highly experienced filmmakers. So, is this the only way for a newbie and a passionate filmmaker to achieve big and succeed? And, is it true that only if you get into a film school, you can become a filmmaker? First, let us understand the importance of film schools and the pros and cons of it.
Perks and purpose
One of the most important goals of a filmmaker is to complete the film within the given budget. Initially, the idea and the vision would have been quite short and simple, but as the film progresses, there might be issues and demands piling up. The practical difficulties can be handled only if there is prior experience. Film schools try to concentrate on this issue by making sure the filmmakers do not struggle to solve their difficulties during the shoot and concentrate highly on how to handle the provided budgets effectively. They also expose students to various equipment and allow them to explore various equipment without spending much. Imagine there’s a new film camera introduced and is available in showrooms, and students who are pursuing cinematography are willing to explore it. This benefit is provided by the film schools themselves where they hire those cameras for rent and make sure all the students get hands-on experience. Also when you approach a production company to pitch your scripts, it will be highly helpful if you have a film school course completion certificate as it elevates the chances of getting a chance to become the director for the next film of that production company.
Needs and necessity
With so many perks and benefits available, is it the only way that a filmmaker can excel in his skills, and are they the only breeding grounds for good directors?
Looking at the other end, there are millions of resources available on the internet which are made available to students who are willing to learn and pursue filmmaking. Many film schools charge heavily and they make sure all the students stay at their place and are available 24/7. There are only fewer schools that provide a part-time opportunity to work. And to prosper in filmmaking, one has to exhibit individuality and creativity. When it comes to film schools, there will be a particular set of experienced teachers who share their experience and their way of filmmaking techniques, but filmmaking is a wide area where anybody can create anything. Due to this, many feel that the boundaries get narrowed and their vision is not wide open for them.
Short films and pilot films have created a way for youngsters to approach production companies without any prior experience or achievements. YouTube videos have become their primary source of education and a way of gaining knowledge about filmmaking which makes us think about the need for a film school. Also, there are many successful directors who haven't graduated from any film school and have even not worked under any other directors. This leads to the debate on the necessity of such schools which are believed to be the only proper learning place for filmmakers.
Filmmakers who never went to film schools
American writer-director Quentin Tarantino, is one of the most successful directors in Hollywood cinema, who is known for his iconic films like Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, and many more. He never approached or went to a film school. He worked in a video store where he was able to watch all kinds of films around the world and from there on, he made his directing debut with Reservoir Dogs.
Christopher Nolan, known for his movies like Interstellar, Inception, and Tenet, used his father’s camera to make short films instead of going to a film school. He chose to study English literature where he made sure that his university had the availability of filmmaking equipment so that he could utilize them effectively for filmmaking.
Many other directors including James Cameron, Guy Ritchie, and David Fincher never went to a film school but currently, they are the top filmmakers around the globe.
Does this create a dilemma about whether to approach film schools or not?
When it comes to filmmaking, it doesn't matter whether you have approached a film school or not. All that matters is the skill and the talent one develops day by day. Film schools help us to come out of the practical difficulties that we could face during the shoot, which cannot be taught in any YouTube channels. At the same time, even without approaching film schools, by making a lot of short films, they can give you the required experience to tackle all those difficulties.
Many other great filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are graduates of film schools and still continue to be successful filmmakers. But one thing to remember here is, a film school is not the only place to groom and develop one’s filmmaking skills as there are millions of resources available. It is completely one’s individual call whether to approach such schools or not. In the end, if you are passionate, hardworking, and true to yourself, you can definitely become a successful filmmaker.