Becoming a film student can mean different things for different people. For a start, you will need to decide whether you are studying existing films or learning how to make them. You may also wonder whether it will be formal or informal because both have value. It is important to clarify your own goals and interests before deciding to follow them on a course.
Studying film can be a hugely positive and rewarding experience. It can improve your knowledge, confidence, and experience. It can help you to make connections within the industry. You can address weaknesses in your technique and build upon strengths or talents that are already there. But it is important to know what you want to gain from a course and how it will help your future career.
If you’re considering becoming a film student, ask yourself two questions.
What Do I Love About Film?
What’s not to love about film? These compact and complex gems are more than visually striking entertainment. They can change careers, spread positive (or negative) messages. They can educate, inform, and recreate a time and feeling in the past. At their best, films are their own miniature world to which we are invited, albeit briefly.
But identifying what it is you love about them can help you to know whether to study – and what course to choose. If you’re fascinated by the editing and software side or special effects, then a practical course could be for you. If you’re more passionate about the ways in which films are a product of their social context and history, then a theory-based or academic course could be a good fit. Think carefully about what really moves you about films and only then seek out ways in which to improve your knowledge.
Practical Or Academic?
Once you have identified which course you think might suit you based on your interests, consider whether it is still in line with your career goals. Picture your dream role within the film industry. How will your course help you to achieve it?
Think outside the box here. Courses should never only be about what you actually do. They are also about the transferable skills you acquire and the confidence you build. Will you be good at working in a team or on your own initiative? Will you leave with encyclopaedic knowledge of film and be able to contribute your own thoughts and research to film theory?
By clearly identifying what you hope to learn, you can be sure you’re still on track to meet your career goals.