Keeping it Reel

Why Should I Go to Film School?

At this day and age, it seems like you can learn ANYTHING online. Between Google searches, Youtube tutorials, and free online courses, pretty much any knowledge you could hope to gain is at your fingertips. So the question arises, why go to Film School? I mean, you don’t need a college degree to create. If you are good enough, you’ll get recognized. So why pay all of that money to get an education you already have access to?

Well, there are a few things you might want to consider before writing college off as unnecessary.

1. Professional Equipment, Software, and Facilities

While you might be able to get your hands on some high-quality equipment or even make your own equipment, the chances are that you aren’t going to have access to everything you need. Sure, you can create great works with nothing more than a camera, but if you want to show your absolute best, you need to have access to the best equipment, facilities, and software out there. A film school can offer you sound stages, lighting kits, editing software, cinematography rigs, and pretty much anything else you could want, allowing you to practice like a professional and show the world what you can do.

2. Human Resources

Beyond equipment, software, and facilities, there is another resource film school can provide that you might not have considered. People. When you try to create on your own, you take on most of the responsibilities of the filming process. You are the director, editor, screenwriter, producer, special effects artist, audio engineer, etc. Unless you have some talented friends who are into film, you probably manage every part of the film besides the acting. And even when you only need actors, it can still be hard to find enough people to make your vision a reality.

When you go to film school, you aren’t just gaining access to great equipment, you are gaining access to like-minded peers. You’re suddenly surrounded by aspiring actors, writers, directors, cinematographers, and editors. You have the ability to focus on the aspects of film that truly matter to you while letting other students take on the things that are important to them. The headache of gathering up enough people, and taking care of EVERYTHING is gone.

3. Staff of Industry Professionals

Whether you choose to admit it or not, Youtube is not as great a teacher as…well an actual teacher. And at CCH we don’t just hire amazing professors, we hire industry professionals. Our staff knows what it is like to be starting out in the film industry because they were once just starting out as well. With personal feedback from pros (many of whom still work professionally) who put time into getting to know and understand your talents, goals, and challenges, you will receive an education that is unique to you. And that is something the internet can’t give you. 

4. Detailed Path and Curriculum

The courses that you take in college aren’t just thrown together in some arbitrary way. The curriculum is designed to put student success before anything else and at CCH we continuously update and improve our courses and degree paths to match the ever-changing industry.

When pursuing a film career without the help of film school, you have to figure out what is important on your own. There is no guiding hand to help you along the way, just you deciding what you want to learn. This can be freeing in some ways, but there are certain things that are crucial to success. Without exposure to the industry through college, you are at risk of missing out on some of those “must know” things.

5. Networking

Networking is the key to success in any field, but it is especially important in the film world. If you don’t know anyone who is currently working on a project, if no one in the industry is aware of your skill level, or if no one is willing to give you your “big break,” it will be hard to gain any traction on your journey to becoming a professional.

Film school gives you the chance to work with industry professionals who will be cheering for you, wishing you success, and who might be able to provide you with job opportunities. In addition to this, film school gives you the opportunity to work with many other aspiring professionals who might remember you when they are in need of someone with your specific talents. If you make yourself known around your college as a talented person who is great to work with, you are bound to have opportunities come to you in the future.

Not Convinced

Film school isn’t for everyone; college isn’t for everyone, but before saying no to it, consider the above. Will you have the drive and determination to create without help? Will you be able to learn everything you need to with only your computer as a resource? Will you be able to find work experience without connections? For you, the answer could be yes. There are many artists out their who have made a name for themselves without a college education, but make sure you know what path is right for you before making your choice.

Speaking of the right path for you…have you decided which area of film you want to go into yet? At Columbia College Hollywood, we offer emphases in directing, producing, writing, acting, sound, new media, cinematography, and editing and visual effects. And we have just the tool for deciding which area you should study! Click below to take our Degree Emphases Quiz and be matched with one of our emphases based on your interestests and personality traits!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

Columbia College Hollywood is excited to announce TWO new scholarships! Receive awards of up to $5,000 for the 2021 Summer Scholarship for Storytellers and up to $18,950 for the CCH Career Accelerator Scholarship.

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