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Film School Advice

skywalker

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So I'm an engineer approaching my final year as an undergrad. The closer I come the more I realize I'm the dentist who woke up and decided I don't like putting my hands in people's mouths. I don't think I'll ever be a passionate engineer, I won't love my work if I continue down this path.

The only purpose engineering would serve me is a paycheck. I plan on possibly getting an entry level engineering job, and applying to film school. I have no idea if I have any talent and I plan on using engineering as a backup. I love film, and I know I could be happy if I had a profession in film.

That said does anyone have advice? What should I start doing? (I don't have a portfolio or any work accomplished in film)
 

Saltricks

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Get a camera, and start shooting stuff with your friends.

But first...what part of the film process do you want to pursue? Editing, cinematography, writing, directing etc.? Have you ever worked on set? Different goals need different paths to reach them.
 

Eason

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Let me know if you get into film school and want to work in editing.
 

StephenHero

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Well, you've got a legitimate backup plan and realistic expectations so that puts you ahead of 95% of film students on the path to career happiness. Go for it if you really want to, but I would suggest grabbing some critical film books on Amazon and reading through them while you work for a year in engineering. Get a couple on the film industry, a couple on the history of films, a couple analytical ones on specific topics, etc. Diversify your understanding of film for a couple hundred dollars before you decide to spend a couple dozen grand or more. A realistic assessment of the film industry will make quite a few people abandon it, so figure out if you're one of them.
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bob99

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Skywalker, I'd see if there's any way you could apply your engineering training to working in the film business. The physical effects side always requires incredible feats of engineering to pull off, and it would give you a much more hands-on way of interacting in the business. Think of the rotating hallway sequence in Inception... An amazing film effect, but also some incredible engineering. Your skills could be very useful in a production design / effects capacity. Flipping cars, doing all that stuff is very skilled (and high-paid) labor. If you truly hate engineering and you wouldn't even want to do it in a film-related capacity, I would recommend writing and directing your own short films, not going back to film school. Have you currently written any shorts or screenplays? Do you have any ideas for feature-length movies? Most film schools require a portfolio of work (artistic work, if not directly related film work) for you to apply. If you live in the US, you should move to Los Angeles, since that's where the movie business is happening. Going there will allow you to expose yourself to many, many opportunities not available to an out of towner. Especially if you're just looking to work in the film business, as opposed to performing a key creative role. If you goal is to direct, I recommend taking on-camera acting classes at the professional level. You'll learn about how to talk with actors, and by doing it yourself you will know the difference between bullshit direction and actual adjustments that can help actors. Plus, you'll meet people who can act in your shorts, and people you can collaborate with if you're not a writer yourself. A very, very good book that you should read is "First Time Director" by Gil Bettman. It deals with the realities of the job and is a very useful roadmap for some of the problems you'll face! www.johnaugust.com is the blog of John August, the screenwriter who wrote Charlie's Angles, Big Fish, and a bunch of other big Hollywood movies. He has many, many articles where he answers questions about filmmaking, film school, moving to LA, and all that stuff. You should give his archives a read.
 

CouttsClient

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I Exec Produce independent films and the people I work with who are successful haven't gone to school or they haven't completed their formal education. Not that school won't teach you things you need to know but first determine what you would like to do and then do some work to discover whether or not you have talent to do it.

If you plan to make $ you might want to forget about it.
 

lefty

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All good advice, though I doubt I'd grab the books. Go beg your way onto a set and figure out which role appeals to you. If I could do it all over again I would never have designed, directed, produced or exec produced - I would have become a makeup artist. Pay is better than a grip's and you're the last to arrive and the first to leave.

lefty
 

CouttsClient

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Originally Posted by lefty
All good advice, though I doubt I'd grab the books. Go beg your way onto a set and figure out which role appeals to you. If I could do it all over again I would never have designed, directed, produced or exec produced - I would have become a makeup artist. Pay is better than a grip's and you're the last to arrive and the first to leave.

lefty

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Good stuff
 

lefty

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Unfortunately, my personality is less "Oh, honey, I know ... men are assholes" and more "Why the **** aren't we shooting?"

lefty
 

thekunk07

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Lefty is the exception, but my advice to the OP is I want two sugars and no, don't supersize me
 

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