By Laura Morrison, July 2014
Almost everyone loves movies, but some people extend their passion beyond trips to the cinema. Becoming a filmmaker is a goal for many film buffs, and in the era of smartphones and YouTube this goal may be more attainable than ever.
But what is really required to forge a successful career in film? Despite many of our favorite underdog stories, burgeoning filmmakers need more than just a camera and a spunky spirit to make a living behind the lens. Whether you're looking to storm Hollywood or get your film on the screens at art house cinemas, earning a graduate degree in film may be one way to launch your cinematic career.
Filling in the gaps
Art may be subjective, and film of course is no different, but it takes more than a good movie idea to make it as a filmmaker. Even if you're a virtuoso behind a camera and a screenwriting savant, there are elements of the Hollywood world you may not be as prepared to manage as you think you are.
After all, it's called show business for a reason - filmmaking is as much marketing as it is art, and people interested in making it their career might potentially benefit from developing the business expertise that earning a graduate degree can provide. From learning how to interact with distributors to understanding how to use Microsoft Excel, such practical education could potentially set a formally trained filmmaker apart from an avid enthusiast in some important ways.
Honing your skills
If you're viewing film school as a fast track to a career working for a production company, you may want to rethink your strategy. As filmmaking blog No Film School indicated, many companies don't view film schools as staffing pipelines. But that's not to say that filmmakers should forego graduate school. While graduate school may not offer a direct line to employment, what it can offer is a way for students to enhance their technical skills and industry knowledge under the guidance of professionals.
Not only can an education help you hone your writing, design and even business acumen, student projects make excellent portfolio material - and your portfolio may make or break your job-hunting prospects once you graduate. In such a practical field, the experience you'll gain in an MFA program, alongside other motivated and knowledgeable filmmakers, will go a long way in helping you gain a foothold when it comes time to shop around.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.