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Practical Realities: Jobs on every Hollywood Set

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Replies to: Practical Realities: Jobs on every Hollywood Set

  • bjdzyakbjdzyak - Posts: 41 Junior Member
    >> --supraman22--

    I am trying to find a college and I am most interested in cinematography, and possibly some directing. I was considering double majoring in film and electrical engineering, so that I could have a viable back up career. However I was wondering if it would be better to major in something else like business communications. Which is a better option? <<

    Well, you've listed four entirely different career paths. Which option is better for YOU is something that you'll have to decide.

    The way to figure that out is to look carefully at what each of those jobs REALLY is, what it takes to TRULY "get" that job, and understand what your realistic chance of achieving that goal is and what your life will really be like IF you manage to create a career doing it.

    In terms of which college to choose, you need to look carefully at the curriculum of your choices and figure out if what they teach will actually help you get where you want to be. Not all schools are created equally. You can't really depend on the school itself to tell you, so seek out alumni to ask what they thought of their investment (of time and money) and if that program actually taught them what they needed to know.

    Also, once you figure out which of those jobs you want to do, figure out what it takes to get there. Schools aren't necessarily going to give you the practical career information you need to know as many schools concentrate on theory and general knowledge. Universities aren't trade schools.

    So, if you want to be a Cinematographer, there are several resources available for you to research ( .whatireallywanttodo.com has MOST of the best listed) before you ever choose a school. Most filmschools do NOT have a Cinematography concentration and even if they do, your degree and student reel will not necessarily get you any real work in the professional world. The same goes for directing even though most schools concentrate on teaching "Filmmaking," which is just a generic term for directing.

    I honestly don't know much about what a University will teach you about electrical engineering or business communications so I'm not an authority to comment on them. However, I wouldn't expect that if you chose a career in electrical engineering (which likely does not directly apply to movie-making electrical work/gaffing) or in business communications (?) that you'd be able to apply any of that to a career as a Cinematographer or as a narrative film Director.

    While it's important to have a job that pays the bills, also realize that for most people, once they start on a career path in life, they tend to get stuck there. You can quickly go from being a young aspiring filmmaker to becoming an aging person who "wants to someday" become a DP or Director. Those who "make it" in either of those (and most jobs in the film industry) just go do it... at a young age. Some come from other professions, but generally, those who find great success, don't let themselves become sidetracked by "life," which can include alternate careers, spouses, families, high overhead... anything that can keep you from the FREEDOM to pursue opportunities. If you have too many bills to pay or "responsibilities" (like a wife and kids), you may not have the freedom to do jobs for free or low money in order to form the relationships that are necessary to create a viable and potentially successful career.

    Bottom line: Figure out what you want to do then go do it right away. Put away the "fall back" plans. If you truly TRULY want to be a DP or Director, then put ALL of your effort and passion into that. There are no absolutes, but the chance that you will become either of those while you're hedging your bets by doing something else lessens greatly. Learn what the job is... learn what it takes ... decide if that's what it is you really want to do... then make the choice. Then do it. Life is TOO short and as you get older, you will see that it DOES go faster and faster. If you truly want to do something in life... in YOUR life... then go do it.
  • socalscottsocalscott Registered User Posts: 508 Junior Member
    I realize this thread hasn't been active for a couple weeks, but i had a question. It seems the film industry is VERY unstable...would a career in television be much better? And if so, what kind of degree would be required?
  • digmediadigmedia Registered User Posts: 3,320 Senior Member
  • benelbenel Registered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    bjdzyak-- Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I just ordered your book for my S who is interested in film.

    I have a question for you:
    He has not had the opportunity to do a lot of "professional filmmaking" in HS (his HS is a small parochial school with not even an art or music program), and is self-taught on iMovie and Final Cut pro. He LOVES all aspects of movies - watching, critiquing, analyzing, filming, editing, directing.

    One piece of advice we got from a group he interned with last summer (they do in-house corporate video stuff) was to do a liberal arts degree and then learn the technical aspects of film during the summers. i.e. learn about the world, spread your wings, pick up stories along the way. This approach certainly resonates with him, as he is looking forward to learning more humanities in college, traveling etc.

    However, probably like a lot of other young people, he feels like he should try his best to get into whatever film school might accept him (currently applied to LMU, Chapman, plus 3 other LACs that have "Film Studies" major or minor).

    --> The question: What do you think of the "spread your wings" approach to college before committing full speed to a film career?

    By the way, when I showed him your lenghthy commentary on the realities of the film industry, he was definitely relieved at hearing your perspective.
  • Kate.!Kate.! Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    What about directing? Would no degree be needed in that? I am only a freshman right now, but I really am looking into this. I was an actress for years (and still am persuing it), but I also have intrests in Directing and Cinematography. I just want to work in movies, its my passion. haha. So, what would you suggest for an aspiring Director/Actress? I was debating between film school and drama school before this post...
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