Film production career advice
You've always had a dream that you would make it big as a film producer, becoming the next Steven Spielberg or George Lucas or Quentin Tarantino. Film production, however, isn't as easy as choosing the right filmmaking school and hoping that once you get out of film school, everyone will fall madly in love with your genius and you will become one of Hollywood's elite. Even if that isn't your dream and you want to get into independent filmmaking or digital filmmaking, you still will face your share of disappointments. Before you become discouraged and think that film production will never be your career, you need to follow some of our advice.
The right film school can make all the difference in the world to some students. There are several really good filmmaking schools all over the country, but three stand out as the best of all of them:
- University of California at Los Angeles
- New York University
- University of Southern California
These three schools have ranked consistently atop U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review's top 10 filmmaking schools in the United States. They will offer you the training to become the next big thing in film production or independent filmmaking. There you will learn all it takes to become a well-rounded and more focused producer and director. You will learn filmmaking techniques including cinematography, screenwriting, film editing and directing skills that will be well worth your time and money.
Some auteurs make a name for themselves with only their creative eye for independent filmmaking and never go to school for film production; they are the rarest of the rare, though. Most distributors will not even look at your film unless you have been to a filmmaking school; even breaking into formerly independent-only Sundance Film Festival or other festivals is a tough sell without at least some film school background to help you out.
Few people, if any, get to be producers right away. First you need to work in one or more hands-on filmmaking roles, such as screenwriter or director, learning the creative aspects of the movie business. Then, most often you will work as an assistant or associate producer, to learn the business side of the movie industry. A producer must understand every aspect of the film business.
The final key to successful film production is persistence. Even the best film producers and directors were fired (often several times) before they made it even moderately big. Independent filmmaking may give you a little leeway to be your own boss, but you may still get doors slammed in your face more often than not; don't give up, go on with your digital filmmaking, and keep plugging away. Even Steven Spielberg began as a lowly, unpaid intern before he got his first shot at the big time.