Many people dream of a glamorous career in filmmaking and wonder which filmmaking courses will best help them get started. Before enrolling in film school, take some time to be realistic about what you can hope to accomplish. Although the film industry employs thousands of people, it can still be one of the most difficult industries to enter.
In addition to acting, the two most frequently performed jobs are that of a film director or screenwriter. Because this is what most students apply for, these are the jobs that offer the most classes. This is where the problem begins.
The demand in Hollywood for new film directors and new screenwriters is almost non-existent. Acting directors and writers spent many years learning and working their way through the ranks. The newly graduated student who approaches the hiring department of a film studio or production company will be lucky enough to be offered a job as a receptionist or mailroom clerk.
This is the sad reality of the education of future filmmakers. Few beginning students are willing to believe that the odds are so strongly against them. They enroll in filmmaking courses that will consist of watching and discussing old and classic films and then making short films using commonly available video equipment. Students most interested in screenwriting spend their time writing short scenes and discussing them with their classmates.
A few decades ago, the only way to see these old classic movies was to go to a film school that could afford the original movie prints. Furthermore, film-making equipment was very expensive and not available to the general public. The knowledge of how to structure and create scripts was known to only a few insiders.
Two things you should notice. First is that the things students are learning only qualify them to work in the lowest paying and most competitive jobs. Second, these days all those classic movies are commonly available to rent or buy, high-quality video equipment is cheap and readily available, as are hundreds of great books on movie-making and screenwriting techniques. .
With so many resources available today, the only reasons one can imagine for taking filmmaking courses is to have some live experience working with a team of filmmakers and to enlist the support of expert filmmakers. That sounds reasonable, but why pay so much money for it? Community colleges often offer filmmaking courses that will teach the basics inexpensively. Even better is finding local film productions that want to hire production assistants. What better way to learn and network than by working with professionals. You just need to know where to look.
People who are hired in the film industry are energetic and determined entrepreneurs who make things happen. If you’ve been thinking that a teacher at an expensive school is your ticket to Hollywood, you need to think again. The teacher is probably one of the students from last year from that same school who hasn’t been able to get a real job doing anything better than teaching what they just taught.