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A Call to Action for Film School Kids

by Pete Wassell

Don’t waste your time in film school.

Hold it now!  I do not mean don’t go.

I mean when you go, don’t spend your time partying and drinking and doing all those things college kids do other than get an education.  Big difference, right?

This is true for every major program, but film students are especially susceptible to the coasting-through lifestyle.  That’s why people look down on film school.  That’s why your degree–brace yourself–is worthless.  No one cares about your film degree.  I used to put Bachelors of Film Production on my resumé, and guess what, I was probably passed over for more interviews than I was brought in for, and specifically because I was a film school graduate.  No one wants you, you don’t have any skills, you’re lazy and pretentious…

So don’t be lazy and pretentious.

Here’s how to succeed at film school, and how to use it as a way to start your career:

After paying tuition and book fees, the equipment is there for you to take.  When I went to school it was still 16mm cameras (I know I sound old, but I swear to God I’m only 26).  Nowadays, film schools have 60Ds, 7Ds, 5Ds, Panasonic AF100s, AG-AF 150s, etc.!  What does that mean?  It means a third of your budget for a short film is taken care of.  A third of your budget for a feature is taken care of.  You can write a script, get your actor friends together and shoot it with HD quality equipment that you can then cut in one of the numerous editing bays at your school, burn it to DVD and have something to show someone, all without paying an editor, actors, writers, directors, cameramen, equipment fees, and all that heavy stuff.  Oh yeah, your theatre department has costumes and props, and a lot of art department kids want to build things all the time–make friends with them on the first day.

Film school is a bastion of young creativity and ambition.  If you take it seriously and you want to learn how to be an artist, there is literally nothing in your way except laziness, fear, and did I mention laziness?

Check back with us in a couple of days for Part 2 of Pete’s Call to Action!

Fred Bailey

Following a three-decade career in the movie business, during which 23 of his scripts were turned into celluloid, Frederick Bailey is currently a Directing, Screenwriting and Acting mentor at the International Academy of Film & Television. He’s also taught acting at the River Hollywood Training School in Tokyo. He recently wrote, directed and on-screen hosted two 45-min. educational documentaries for IAFT: DIRECTING and SCREENWRITING.

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