Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday Talkback: Film School or No Film School

Over two months ago (hey, I fell way behind in emails) I got this email from Stephen Dypiangco.

My friend and I are both independent filmmakers in LA, and we just made this humorous video called Film School or No Film School:

I'm sure this is a question your readers think about, and we'd greatly appreciate it if you could share it on your blog!

We went to film school. Patrick went to San Francisco State, and Stephen went to NYU. Find out why we went and whether the debt was worth it.

Who We Are:
National Film Society
The National Film Society is a new media studio co-founded by filmmakers Patrick Epino and Stephen Dypiangco, who've decided to take their talents to YouTube. They produce original content, showcase amazing works, interview talented creators and make fun of each other as much as possible.

So let's make this today's Tuesday Talkback.  I got an undergraduate degree in film, but never went to graduate level film school.  Frankly, I don't feel like the money I'd have spent on the education would have been worth it in the long run, or gotten me substantially closer to achieving my goals.  I think moving to LA and diving right into the job market was probably the best thing I could have done.

But what do you guys think?


  1. Depends? If you dived right into the job market...have you been able to fulfill your goals in the biz?

  2. That were a mega film - I chuckled an awful lot considering it was just two blokes on a screen.

    Suppose it's a different issue over here (in the UK) as education WAS cheaper, I did a post-graduate in Screenwriting and through scholarships and bursaries somehow left with more money than I started with. Although there were some issues with the course in terms of film being such a subjective topic, and there were a lot of disagreements about how much could be 'taught' and how much was just the tutors' own perceptions, we still got to have the debate and make films in the process, so, definitely worth it for me.

    Although I did leave with more money than I started with. Sorry, I'm smug about that.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. This was funnier than some comedies I've seen lately! I didn't go to film school but took an 8 week screenwriting course. I learned a lot but the biggest thing I learned was how much I still had to learn. Spent the last 2 years reading everything I can get my hands on. Not the same as film school OR diving right in but you do what you can.

  4. not worth it.

    irwin handleman
    mfa screenwriting, loyola marymount '02

  5. I've read several books, paid for feedback, and gone to retreats, seminars, and online courses.
    I feel that my writing is progressing as well or better than other people I've met who went to film school.
    But I can imagine the experience side of it, getting to make films, would be priceless. But I made several movies in college through the TV station, and learned a lot even at that amateurish level.

  6. Thanks for sharing our video! I'm the guy in the video on the right side.

    I am really glad that I attended film school because of the knowledge, experience and connections I made.

    I think the question of film school really depends on the person. If you are an incredible self-starter who has no problem getting your hands dirty and failing a lot making your own films, then maybe you don't need film school. But if you like some structure in your life and enjoy being surrounded by other film students all the time, film school may be the right fit. It just depends on who you are and what you want to do.

    You don't have to go to film school, but for me, it was the right move.

  7. Sweet vid, and I have to agree with Stephen. It's all about knowing exactly what kind of person you are. I worked in the restaurant business for 10 years, decided I wanted to go into entertainment, and four months later moved out to Los Angeles. Been here a year + few months, with mixed results.

    If you know you need the structure to get the education, and you need structure to network, film school might be the way to go. But you gotta know you're (more than likely) going to pay for that structure.

    Versus, if you're more than happy to put yourself out there and learn via trial and error, you'll probably learn just as much (at a lower cost.)

  8. It wasn't funny at all. And the title was deceiving, you didn't talk about 'no video school'. You both went to video school, it should have been called A lot of money for video school or a relatively small amount of money for school. Stick to the drama, Train was decent.

  9. Hey FiddilyDee, I welcome contrary viewpoints here, but I have a pretty low tolerance for rudeness - especially when it's directed at other posters. Was that really the most reasonable way you could have expressed your displeasure? Aim for a little more civility next time.