Help! Questions about Colleges/Majors/Careers and General Advice.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mattrud, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. mattrud macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2006
    Just a little back story first.

    I'm 17 going on 18, and I've just been making movies here in high school in the video classes, and I've received several awards with my production group. I know I like working with the programs best, and that is what I'm best at. (final cut, livetype, and all the others that I have no clue how to use but want to.) So I'm not so sure that I'd want to be essentially making my own films, but rather editing or working with those programs in some way in a post production setting on others films. That's why I'm not entirely sure whether I should go for a general film/post production degree, a media production degree (which has a lot of broadcast/tv stuff in it that I don't really know if I want) or something like a VFX major. I know I don't want to be doing animation full on, it would help to know maybe, but I really wish to stay with video post production in some way. Also I'm not entirely sure I want to go to an art school, I'd really like to have some sort of "college expirence" if that makes any sense. I'd like to have to ability to minor in a non art related field or have the possibility to change my major to something not art related (although that's highly unlikely, I'd like to have the security.) I'm really quite confused. :D If you guys have any kind of advice or schools to consider, I'd appreciate it.

    Should I get a basic film or film production degree or something a little different? I know there isn't exactly an editing major, but I know I'd like to work with post production programs as I said. Are there any places (other than RIT) that offer a specialization where you can work on post production tasks such as editing rather than shooting your own films?

    -Where do you suggest going to remedy my interests? (best in Northeast, East Coast)

    - Do you think I should stay away from a Communications degree that would have TV or Broadcast attached to it? I don't really want to work with broadcast stuff, but I'm open to advice.

    -Like a lot of you, I'd assume you didn't know exactly where you were going to end up after getting a degree in this field. So for the guys who have gotten out of college, What did you go for, where did you go, and what are you doing now/do you frequently feel strapped for cash?

    I really appreciate any kind of advice or help from anybody at all, and I thank you for reading through my issues :D

    And oh yeah....Here is my production crew's latest award winning film. It won Best Narrative Comedy in the New York State Capital Region Media Arts Festival. Let me know what you think!
  2. GoGoSamGo macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Why do you want a film degree? In the film industry you could have the highest degree in film but if you can't make a film for crap then you're not going to get hired anywhere or in that case make any money. One thing I know that all (or most) people in film have a hard time in is managing their money on a film, a company, or just making a profit. Why don't you just go after a Business Degree so you can learn how to run your own production company (if that's something you want to do) or just so you know how much is the right amount to spend on a production in general. Am I saying don't take any film classes? No, go ahead and get a minior in film, but just have your main degree being Film won't mean you will be hired for your first job. First comes your reel and then comes your degree far behind. This is my advice for you, so you can save money from film school, get into the field as soon as possible, and also know what is the best way to manage your money. Just my opinion though.
  3. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    My nephew just went through the first phase of his career schooling. I can share some of his insights. He lived with us while he was going to school.

    This applies to all undergraduate work. Find something you enjoy, you have skill with, and pays money. He graduated from Seattle Art Institute in video editing. That job market is saturated with young talented people. The best entry-level work is in animation, motion graphics, etc.

    He is at University now studying those fields. His goal is to build a strong portfolio, and eventually apply to Art Center. A friend of mine graduated from Art Center in photography. He said, "You do not go looking for jobs after graduation. Top companies are recruiting you on campus".

    What I told my nephew was to go out and meet people in the industry. It is surprising how many people enjoy giving advice to eager young people, especially when they do not act like 'know it all's'. There is a wealth of good (and free) information out there. Use it.
  4. mattrud thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2006
    I should also mention that a lot of people have instructed me to go to a regular university rather than a "film school" and get some sort of degree in whatever video field I want.

    I don't really want to go to a film school.
  5. SpaceJello macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2006
    you can always go to a university and study film studies as well, but if you want practical experience, you would need to go beyond the university.
  6. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Generally, with the universities, they don't offer classes focusing on a specific program. For example, if you wanted to learn Apple Motion, there's no "Apple Motion 201" class that'll help you out. You have to go to seminars or training events to gain skills like that.

    I am currently a junior at Michigan State University, and I wanted to do exactly what you're talking about. Here, I majored in Telecommunication with an emphasis on DMAT, which is the university's "Digital Media Art & Production" thing. I'm nearly done with those courses, and I've learned maybe five things from it. Completely honestly, this line of work does not need a degree. As others have said, people don't care about your education: if you can't make a good film, no one will pay attention to you.

    EXPERIENCE IS KEY. At MSU, I joined the MSU Telecasters, which is a student group that produces television shows that air on campus. THAT'S where I've gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. You really just have to get out there with good equipment and start figuring stuff out for yourself.

    Because of the MSU Telecasters, I was asked to do some work for the film The Messengers that was out a few months ago, as well as working on some stuff for the state of Michigan. That gave me an awesome resume, and that resume got me an internship with Late Night with Conan O'Brien this summer. Meanwhile, I've been "networking" (hate that word) with a lot of high-up people and getting my films seen by a lot of the right people. It takes some effort, but good things soon happen in a chain reaction.

    MY ADVICE would be to go to a university and major a) in film if you want to concentrate more on inner-meanings and symbolics, or b) in some kind of Telecommunication or Broadcast major if you want to learn audio/video/lighting. Talk to the university academic advisor, explain to them what you want to do, and they'll find you a major that fits the most. Once you're there, you'll have access to "free" broadcast-quality equipment, and you'll start making some sweet stuff. Then join a club that more specifically does what you want to do. That's the most important.

    Good luck!
  7. it5five macrumors 65816


    May 31, 2006
    New York
    I would also advise to go to a University and major in Film Production or Film Studies. That way if you ever decide to change your major, you have the freedom to pick from a wide variety of subject.

    Every University works a bit different. Here at the ASU Film Production program, you take a series of 6 core classes. After taking those 6 core classes, you submit an application, a few essays, and a short film for formal admission into the Production program. Once you're in there, you need to take a handful of basic classes, like "Directing" and "Post-Production". Outside of those, you're free to concentrate on any aspect of film making you like, like "Directin II" or "Post-Production II" or whatever. Since this is the first year of the program, they don't have a wide variety right now. In a few years once there are more students studying film at ASU, the variety of classes will increase.

    I noticed you said you wanted to stay around the East coast, so maybe try looking into big Universities over there that offer film programs, and see how each Uni runs their film program differently.

    EDIT: I'd also like to add that you should make as many short movies as you can and practice your editing and post-prod. skills. If you are knowledgable and skilled, going into Uni and working on class projects will be easier for you. Plus, most people at film school want to be writer/directors, so if you're into editing and you're good at it, you'll be very valuable to group projects. I've sort of become an editor just because I was the last member into a group that didn't have an editor. I got stuck with the job originally, but now I plan on editing on a project we're doing in the near future. It's just something that happened to me that I happen to enjoy.

    That happens to a lot of people. Robert Yeoman, the cinematographer for Wes Anderson's films, had sort of just become a cinematographer because somebody asked him to shoot a short. He originally wanted to be a writer/director, but had found that he loved cinematography.
  8. LightMast macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2007
    I skipped school, started my own small production company and couldn't be happier. You dont start out doing huge budget high profile projects, but if your work is good and you are reliable each project gets a little bigger and a little more lucrative.

    I find it very rewarding. I learned everything through books, trial and error, web forums, and tutorials. Sounds like you have the creative end going for you, school can really only teach you the technical end (some professors can help you refine your vision); I found self instruction to be the way to go.

Share This Page