Advice for Student Filmmakers
Updated: Nov 24, 2019
So you are deciding to go to film school or already in film school and you don't know how to maximize the college experience to benefit your pursuit in creating films as efficient and as creative as you would like.
Here are the most important pointers during your time in school and your education in film during college.
1. Find a concentration as soon as possible.
Knowing what you want to concentrate early will help you learn much more in that one subject than juggling on multiple and unorganized paths. You can start delving into the technical jargon and experiment heavily in styles. You are able to have film heroes and be able to study their craft in the movies in more depth. This will also benefit you during thesis season, when you've already established your concentration and people are more willing to have you on their film set. This is not always possible in the beginning of the school year to those who don't know the different concentrations or to those who don't feel their calling yet, but as soon as you know, make it an obsession. Here is an article that lists the concentration in film.
2. Take advantage of group projects
Your teammates might be your closest ally in the course of your degree and even in the professional world. It is also the time you can pick out people to work on your thesis films, or other projects. You will learn from each other's mistakes, and compliment with each other's skills and interest. Sooner or later you realize you have a full production team.
3. Know the technology even if its not your interest.
The Nagra (old sound recording device) might not be of interest to you but there might be something to learn from it for your concentration or creative means. At least know what the thing does and what it can do. Knowing the tools in film gives you more creative choices.
4. Read more books, watch more movies, and stay for the credits.
Try to always be inspired by other art-forms. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the schooling part of the experience that you forget why you choose film in the first place. You will see the amount of work and talent that goes into each film when you stay for the whole credits. Also it primes you to get excited when your name is finally on the credits of your dream project!
5. Take creative risks (You're in school to make mistakes)
The mistakes in classes and assignments during college are negligible compared to the projects you make outside and after college. Take your ability and creativeness as far as possible. It's a waste to play it safe and by-the-books when you've already sacrificed the money and the time to go to school for film.
6. Be in as many films as possible. (Learning the craft is only half of the learning, being able to practice it is as important)
You will meet mentors and eventually become mentors. You never stop learning, ever! Every film set is a different challenge. The more exposed you are to different challenges, the more calm and experienced you are in your craft.
7. Take care of your yourself
Seriously, take care of yourself. Being on a film set, producing a film, and creating feature film scripts, take a huge toll on the mind and body. If you want to maximize your progression, you body and mind need to keep up to your ambition and pursuit. Try to get enough sleep, keep your mind clear and concentrated, and eat properly. Your performance on set will reflect how you take care of your self.
Level Nine Productions