Buying a Sweater and Choosing a Film School – Are There Some Common Threads?
If one is considering the purchase of a sweater, it is essential to know more about yourself that the actual sweater when you begin shopping. What are your demands for color and size, do you want pull over, “v” neck, or buttons, what materials do you like, should it be washable or is dry cleaning acceptable, what about weave, design and cost? These are just a few of the questions that must be answered about yourself and your desires before consummating the experience with a purchase. However, since we have probably shopped on numerous occasions, we are very familiar with our criteria for making a selection.
Selecting the right film school is similar, but more exhausting since this is not something that we do frequently. In fact a task like this is often done only once, so it is incumbent on the shopper to prepare themselves fully so the final selection can deliver the results that will lead one to a rewarding and fulfilling experience. The place to start demands that the candidate for film school assess their individual desires, needs, interests, capabilities, motivation, ability to finance, present educational attainment, and an additional host of other considerations about a particular field of film making. Additionally one has to understand that upon graduation they are now qualified as a neophyte in the business and a number of years of hard work are necessary to even achieve a modicum of success. Think of the number of singers and performers that start out as youngsters and the number that eventually end up in the professional ranks. Consider all the aspiring actors and actresses and then look at the number that actually achieve stardom. Do you want to be the star or would you be just as happy and fulfilled as a member of the supporting cast?The picture that is being painted here is not about crushing a dream, it is about the reality of any business and especially the extremely competitive nature of the film making industry. If you have not stopped reading yet, perhaps you have the character and motivation to continue to pursue a path in this career field. Let's start with some self assessment. Have Some Experience?Why do you believe that a career in the film making industry is for you? What was the most fulfilling experience? Why? What was a downer? Have you narrowed your interest to a particular specialty of film making like actor, director, cinematographer, writer or perhaps some other phase such as film editing, set design or costume making? You have an edge over others with no experience and this provides a bit firmer footing than those without. There are many more questions that could be asked, but the purpose of this line of questions is to lead you on the right path. If your fulfilling experience was significantly better than any “downer”, that is positive. However a “downer” that is more memorable may be an indicator that the path you have selected might not be where your real success is located. No ExperienceThe question here is why? Why do you want to purse a career in the film making industry? You probably need to find more information about this career field. There are a variety of ways to learn more. Here are a few suggestions. Take a course. Virtually every college in the land has a number of offerings centered around film making. Join a club. Again college campuses are the place where numerous clubs are located, however a search of the Internet revealed that there are many clubs located in a number of cities and towns. Browse the web. Sites such as http://www.filmschools.cc can provide information about the gamut of opportunities available in the industry. Just do it! Many people gain experience by picking up a video camera, gathering friends together, producing short films and then editing the video using a variety of software tools that are readily available. Find work. There are many feature films that are produced in various places around the country. Almost every state has a film bureau where information is available about productions that are planned or scheduled and there are usually positions open for extras. There are also many positions when a film is being produced for “gofers”. These are odd job positions available during the time of the shooting. This is an excellent way to observe and learn about the many activities that take place when a film is being produced.
CharacterDoes your personality compliment your interests? Do you like being in charge or would you rather someone else provide some direction? Do you work better with a team or are you most efficient individually? Are you someone that is interested in general ideas or do you have a need to learn all the technical specifications? Do you read the directions when putting a product together or do you just look at the pictures and start work? Do you plan your day or just let it happen? How do you learn best? Are you a read and study person or are you a hands-on learner. Are you ready to attack the rigors of a four year course of study or would on-line self paced be a better fit? Answering these questions will help to determine what field of film making might best suit your style and temperment.
The SceneThe previous paragraphs provide the basis for some of the things that you need to know about yourself prior to embarking in the search for a career field in the film making industry that will lead to happiness, prosperity and fulfillment. The potential film school student needs to be able to identify their unique skills, interests and competencies and then match those to specific careers, jobs and professions. They need to honestly identify character strengths and weaknesses associated with a potential career. There are certain personality traits and requisite characteristics that are generally associated with a particular career field and while they are not necessarily indicative of success, they certainly can identify those that might have a difficult time. For instance, an individual that does not like to be the constant center of attention might want to rethink an acting career. If there is any uncertainty in your mind, actually even if there is certainty, a career assessment test will t provide clarity for you. These type of tests assist you in identifying career paths that will compliment your learning style, personality and social skills. There are a multitude of these tests that can be completed in a relatively short time and may serve to reinforce your chosen career field or even cause you to make an adjustment to a field with a better fit for you. They are available at no cost in most college career offices, from high school guidance counselors or you can find them on the Internet.
The Princeton Review offers a quick assessment on-line that will serve to illuminate the type of information that can be obtained by completing one or more of these types of assessments. This test only takes about 5 minutes to complete and might provide some useful insight to your own character. The site address is http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/quiz/default.asp?menuID=0&careers=6%20.
It is recommended that a more in-depth assessment be completed, but the idea of what the results might reveal is presented in a clear and concise manner at the Princeton Review site. The University of Missouri also has a web-site that provides some information that may prove insightful. That web address is http://career.missouri.edu/students/explore/thecareerinterestsgame.php. In addition to these two sites there are many more places where you can complete a career assessment test which will prove extremely useful and informative.
You will save significant amounts of time searching for the right opportunities in the film making industry and securing the job of your dreams because you will be lining up the demands of the job with your personality skills and talents. Job descriptionsAt this point, you have assessed your character and personality style and have discovered that there is a future for you in the film making industry. Perhaps you have an idea about a specific career choice or perhaps it needs to be narrowed down. In either case it is instructive to review exactly what is involved in particular jobs. Reading and reviewing a variety of job descriptions and responsibilities can provide insight into the demands of a position as well as provide information about courses that should be pursued to provide the educational background essential for success. Job descriptions can provide information about general educational needs as well as specific technical proficiencies that may be required. There are numerous areas that can be browsed on the web which will provide a wealth of information. Two that proved helpful were en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Movie_Making_ and http://www.devondelapp.com/weblog/?entry=229889.
The wiki site has significant amounts of information with a myriad of associated links that should satisfy the basic knowledge need of anyone interested in film making. The second site is a blog about the experiences of an individual that served as a production assistant (PA) for a television shoot. The blog is perceptive and insightful and offers those interested a peek inside bowels of the film making business.
Selecting a SchoolHopefully, you have now learned about yourself and have identified a potential career path. The selection of a school must be based on a number of factors that are uniquely personal. Probably the first consideration is cost, but location, courses offered, prestige of the school, the likely match of your talents with their prerequisites and several other factors must be addressed prior to making a final decision A career can be successfully launched based on courses selected from a community college where tuition and fees are substantially lower than schools that offer a four year course of study. It may be financially prudent to initially start an education at a community college and then transfer to a four year institution with a more recognizable name. If this path is selected it is important to insure that the community college courses will properly transfer to the four year institution so it is necessary to confirm that by discussing your plans with a community college career counselor that is familiar with requirements and processes involved in the transfer of credits. There are numerous four year colleges and universities that provide courses of study that lead to a bachelors degree applicable to some phase of the film making industry. Matching your needs and requirements with the appropriate college or university offerings will save time and insure that you are traveling on the right path. It is important to consider your educational skill and talents with the institution you are considering. Some institutions offer nuts and bolts, hands on instruction while others offer more cerebral instruction that is intellectually demanding. It is critical to match your talents and abilities with the course of study you will be pursuing. Some individuals that want to pursue a film making career may already have acquired a bachelors degree and now want to obtain an additional degree or simply take specialized courses. Schools such as the New York Film Academy offer a variety of courses that can respond to this need. There site at http://www.nyfa.com/ provides all the information necessary for a prospective student. If cost is a consideration, there tuition of $10,000 to $15,000 per semester may present a hurdle. In all cases it is important to visit the school that you are thinking of attending to gather your first-hand impressions. You should talk to school representatives as well as students to obtain the most comprehensive view. Also, you should take a tour of the school grounds and facilities to insure that their film making equipment will provide state of the art training and experiences. ReviewPurchasing a sweater and selecting a film making school do have a common thread, however it is undeniably more difficult to select a school. However, if you diligently take the time to research all the viable alternatives to successfully pursue a film making career, you will find that it is time well spent. The planning required to make the best selection that fits your individual needs and desires will pay off handsomely in the future by enabling you to have a fulfilling experience. ChecklistGain some experiencesComplete a personal assessment surveySelect a path in the film industry Match your educational needs with schooling Begin the adventure
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The preceding article was authored by Jason Gadayan contributor of articles to http://www.filmschools.cc