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Is Film School Really Necessary?

By Skip Press

Question: How valuable/important is film school? I am graduating college in one year, and I want to go into film.

Skip Press responds: It's one thing to aspire to write films or act in them, and quite another to know how they are made. Smart writers and actors learn the process and profit greatly -- just ask David Mamet and Clint Eastwood.

These days, there are more opportunities to break into Hollywood than ever before, thanks to the digital revolution. You can learn all the basics via a CD set, but the real secret is CONTACTS, and you get those at schools in major urban centers, like USC, UCLA, AFI (Los Angeles) and NYU & Columbia (NY). There are also many less structured programs and workshops available, which will get you started. What you've done right (I assume) is to NOT major in film & TV as an undergraduate so you can enter film school as someone grounded in a broader spectrum of life. If I had to pick, I'd say investigate the UCLA program. If cost is no problem, the new Robert Zemeckis digital school at USC is cutting-edge. Just remember -- make friends you can sustain through your
career.

Meet the Author: Skip Press