As a reult, Believe it or not, most people are filmmakers. They have smartphone with a camera and they make movies for their friends or social media. But to hone filmmaking skills, filmmakers need to develop their craft. Of course, you can do this on your own through trial and error. Or go to a film school. And how does a film school work?
What does a filmmaker do?
Filmmaking requires a plethora of unrelated skills. From the creativity of screenwriting to the event management of a shoot involving up to hundreds of people, to countless items of equipment and dealing with the fiscal issues of money and budgets.
How Does Film School Work?
First, let’s look at the different categories of film schools, and try to understand their business and teaching models.
The 4 types of film schools
We have divided film schools by their curriculum, or by the amount of time the course takes, be it a day or a year.
These part-time classes are intended for hobbyists. The tutors are usually one-step above their students. They will certainly get you onto the bottom rung of the ladder. And they are generally quite inexpensive.
Generally offered by universities and colleges, these courses usually go under the broad title of ‘film appreciation’. These courses may be useful if you want a career as a film critic or festival programmer. Other than that it is very unlikely that you will touch a camera or editing software, let along learn about screen performance. In other words, three years of academic training could well leave you without any marketable skills.
There are a growing number of vocational colleges who teach some of the practicalities of the trade, be it camera, sound, editing, or makeup and art direction. These are useful courses where you can actually develop marketable skills.
Screenskills, the UK agency charged with training film crew, can offer bursaries and grants to help cover the costs of these courses.
No other film school in the would couples film education and training with a major international film festival. Additionally, the Raindance approach is different. We do not NOT teach filmmaking. Raindance makes filmmakers.
The whole Raindance approach to film education does this by offering tutelage from working industry professionals who understand the specific skills in demand right now. And blend in this craft advice with the very best of traditional techniques and the very latest trends.
More to the point, our students make movies. In the 2021-22 academic year, our 38 students made 41 shorts, including this film festival cinema advert:
You are a filmmaker
If you have ever picked up your smartphone and shot a video, you are a filmmaker. Did you ever take the same scenario, and shot it a second time, perhaps from a different angle? This shows directing skills. Did you wonder why the sound was so bad? Or ask yourself how to make a really bright scene look less burned out?
You can figure all of this out on your own, of course. Sometimes you want to dive deeper and get the tricks and tips professionals use. And get them fast. Once you’ve planned your life so you can commit some serious time to your dream. In the same way a doctor or lawyer needs to commit before they get their degree and ticket to practise.
How does film school work? – 5 key ways
There are many competitive advantages you can gain from going to a good film school.
1.Filmmaking is a collaborative art
Orson Welles famously said: ‘A poet needs a pen, a painter needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs and army.’
Yes you can make a movie totally by yourself. But, if you need a cinematographer, a sound recordist, performers, and editors, you will need more people. And oh yes, you might need money for which you will need to find a producer. or develop your own producing skills.
An huge advantage of film school is you meet people with a common interest to you: filmmaking. It means that you have the opportunity of meeting like-minded people you can work with at film school.
2.Team building and networking
Successful filmmakers build teams. And the roles they recruit for are often filled by recruiting their film school colleagues.
Can I sound a bit, you know, crass for a minute?
And as a film student, you can market your skills and interests to your fellow students. As a result, you are more likely to get work from someone that already knows you than from a total stranger.
3. Hands on the gear
We’ve met film students from other schools who haven’t ever touched a camera! In 2021-22 our 38 HND students made 41 films. Not by sitting in a classroom looking at a slide presentation But by getting their hands on real equipment. and learning on-the-job under the expert mentorship of a working industry professional. There is no better way.
By the way. Some film school boast of a cabinet full of the latest this and the latest that equipment costing the earth. Film students faint at the thought of renting or buying these $20k cameras. And yes, it’s useful to know how these expensive cameras work. But, wouldn’t a film school like Raindance that also teaches how to make high quality movies on your smartphone make sense?
4. Competitive Edge
It’s a cut throat and highly competitive industry. But a good film school will help you understand if your ideas are any good. and a film school like Raindance actually has an internationally acclaimed film festival where you can judge your work against the very best independent film from around the world.
Accordingly, a good film school will also help you understand how the film business and creative industry is changing dramatically. Not only has digital equipment revolutionised the way films are made, it’s how films are sold. The advent of streamers has really impacted a filmmaker’s career. At Raindance we encourage our film students to drop the term ‘filmmaker’ and think of themselves as multi-format visual content creators. And to use their fellow students as sounding boards for their ideas. Its a place where you can test market your proof-of-concept shorts.
5.The power of a deadline
When was the last time you promised yourself you’s do something, and then just didn’t? Here’s the real benefit of film school. Your programme, whichever type it is, gives you assignments. and deadlines. How does film school work? You either complete your work on time and progress on your pathway. or you don’t and you flunk out.
The Next Step
If you want to write scrips and make movies, the easiest thing to do is decide how much time you can commit to your goal. If it’s 1 -5 hours per week, why not dip into some of the short writing, directing and producing courses at Raindance? They are on evenings and weekends.
If you really want to get down and can commit 15-35 hours a week over a year or two, maybe you would like to try one of the Higher Education courses at Raindance. And you can walk away with a professional qualification or Degree.
Once you have decided on your time commitment, have a look around at other London film schools. Find the best school for you. If you want to learn filmmaking, Raindance is NOT the right school for you. for at Raindance, we make filmmakers.
How Does Film School Work? by Elliot Grove
Did You Know?
• Raindance Film Festival is considered one of the top fifteen film festivals in the world?