SCREEN-L Archives

April 1996, Week 4


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
"Simone L. Fary" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 20:56:30 -0400
text/plain (58 lines)
     I seem to have deleted the message of the high school student
seeking advice and don't recall your name.  Sorry.  Your request
for ideas about film schools to look into inspired me to jot down
the following thoughts, thoughts you probably won't hear elsewhere,
but will hopefully be of some use.
     First of all, good for you for getting real world experience,
and learning what it is really like in the field.  Continue this
approach in looking for a school by not just taking the official
tour, but finding out where the students hang out, and talking to
them.  Also seek out the equipment room manager if at all possible
and befriend him or her.
     Why?  Because, while the official tour will show you
impressive equipment the students and equipment room manager might
be able to give you a different picture.  State of the art
equipment will be useless to you if:  it is broken all the time
because there is no money for maintenance, a certain professor
takes it for his personal business and keeps it all semester, only
seniors can use it etc.
     There might be exciting professors on staff, but you might end
up with the instructor with no previous experience, the ones who
have only been given a week's notice that they will be teaching
that semester etc.  Sit in on several classes if possible.
     Lookout for a schism between professors who teach theory and
those who teach the actual craft of filmmaking.  Everybody will pay
lip service to the need to integrate the two, but in my experience
they are often in separate worlds.  My honors advisor, in urging me
to focus more on (his brand of) theory actually told me that
production was "monkey stuff" that could easily be picked up after
school.  Bad advice.
     I don't regret getting a BA, but I must tell you that I have
found it pretty irrelevant in getting a job.  I used to work at a
public access cable station; my husband works at a national cable
network.  We both had colleagues who only had AAs from their local
community college or an unrelated degree who wanted to get into
something "more fun".
     My degree being an honors one probably served as more of a
hinderance then a help in getting a job.  It is still a worthwhile
endeavor to get an honors degree, but be careful of falling too
much under the influence of a single professor who will focus you
so much towards his particular critical view that you will end up
with a paper that is unpublishable.
     Sorry if I seem negative about film school so far.
I don't regret doing it.  People who don't the history of film
usually tend to end up trying to just copy the latest hit.
Learning the history of film, seeing films that you don't normally
see, and discussing them critically in a way that you won't often
outside of school all were invaluable in shaping my approach to
     I hope my thoughts are of some help.
Best of luck,
Simone Fary
To signoff SCREEN-L, e-mail [log in to unmask] and put SIGNOFF SCREEN-L
in the message.  Problems?  Contact [log in to unmask]