As filmmakers, we admire legends like Cameron, Howard, Nolan or Spielberg for their mastery of the film form. They wow us with their unbelievable insights into the medium and demonstrate the highest form of mastery.
How these people become masters is relatively clear. Aside from their unique personal makeup, they dedicated endless amounts of time to studying and practicing their craft. Depending on who you ask, researchers currently contend that it takes anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Whether those numbers are perfectly accurate is moot; the takeaway is that filmmaking, like painting, athletics, playing the piano or being a rocket scientist, takes a massive amount of time and dedication to master.
There is tremendous freedom within most film schools; you generally write your own scripts or work with a writer, cast your own projects, and (hopefully) see those projects through to completion. Outside of film school you may never have the opportunity to work with so many different collaborators, or to safely make the many mistakes that are part of the process. Failure, confusion and strife cost you more in the real world, if only because they don’t have the candy shell of education around them. Though painful, failure is always the best teacher. Film school is a place where you’ll be able not only to learn from failure, but to integrate that knowledge into your next project.
Film school professors earn their living by helping you realize your vision. They have spent years watching students succeed and fail in their own course, and refining their methods of instruction based on that experience.
The filmmaking process involves many rounds of feedback, on screenplays, on cuts of films, on casting choices, all of which your professors will guide you through. The feedback process is an essential part of learning, and it is the backbone of film school.
Your peers in film school will form an automatic network of intelligent, film-hungry, hardworking collaborators. Again it is difficult to construct this group of people from scratch; your peers at a top film school will be hand picked by the faculty for your perceived similarities and differences, as well as your potential to learn and collaborate together.
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