Filmmaking is in many regards a creative profession, which might make some people think creativity is all that’s needed to propel them into this career. Yes and no.
True, some people start simply by writing scripts on their own or making short movies with their smartphones. And to be sure, filmmaking is unlike most other professions in that you don’t need to prove you received a formal education to get a job. Unlike those who aspire to be a doctor or an attorney, no degree is required for you to be successful in Hollywood.
But… Going to school to be a Filmmaker can be immensely helpful for many different specialties. Take cinematography. Yes, it’s a highly creative profession, but Cinematographers must also be well-versed in all the many technical aspects of working with cameras, lighting, and other on-set equipment.
Film school can provide a foundation of knowledge for aspiring Cinematographers, giving them a safe space to learn about the mechanics and tech of their field, as well as the more creative elements of it.
The same can be said for other specialties. While anyone can sit down and write a script, a formal education can help an emerging Screenwriter understand how to properly format a screenplay, not to mention how to incorporate the many different aspects of this unique type of storytelling.
A college or university experience can also provide more intangible benefits such as making early professional connections and finding opportunities to test out new skillsets through student films and internships.
Film school is not mandatory to make it as a Filmmaker, but it can be a useful springboard for your career in terms of learning your specific craft, making professional connections, and gaining early experience.
What is the definition of a Filmmaker?
As its name implies, a Filmmaker is someone who substantially contributes to the creation of a movie. Largely, the term is used interchangeably with Director, but Filmmaker is not necessarily tied to any single profession in the industry.