Media Studies/Film School majors who regret it

:frowning: This is the worst poll to hit this board in a long time, but here goes: I have a little while until I have to decide on a major or career field, but when I mentioned ‘Media Studies’ or ‘film school’ to several people a long time ago this is the responses I got:

Former psychologist: “And people will say: ‘well, you’ll never make any money up there at film school.’ It doesn’t matter, life’s too short.” I’m glad I have a new quack.

Counselor who doesn’t specialize in academics: “Can you major in Media Studies?”

Dad: “There’s no jobs in it (media studies) though. Okay, do whatever you want.”

College senior I told about what the Former psychologist above had said about my film school idea: “It doesn’t really matter (what you major in).”

I know many of you will get back saying how this last guy is right, what you major in does not facilitate 100% what you get a job in, etc.- but please don’t, I know that already, I started this awfully negative :frowning: post specifically so that I can hear about the regrets or hardships of Media Studies/film school majors and what I can do to prepare if I go that route.

What exactly is Media Studies at your college or university?

I just graduated in May with my communications degree. My emphasis was Journalism/Electronic Media. My options for finding a job are extremely limited for personal reasons, therefore finding employment has been a joke. No one in the areas that I’ve been wants to hire a newbie with little/no experience. My internships earned me very few worthwhile contacts.
I’m filming weddings and dance recitals right now with a friend. It’s a trickle of money but steady work it ain’t. I’ve just recently applied for a job in the promotions department of a local tv station. We’ll see how that goes.

What bugs the living fuck out of me is that the same folks who tell me, “Don’t stress out, you’ll find something, blabbity blah blorty blort…” are the same ones hassling me to find a job as soon as possible.

I shan’t rant any more. But I think I should have been a teacher. I’m a much better instructor than I am a camera op.

Well, last year I was at UVA where Media Studies was- well, read this page.

Now I’m going to community college for a year and then I’m unsure where on earth I’ll be. Media Studies doesn’t even exist at a lot of schools… :dubious:

Hm…I guess if it’s an analysis of the media and not actual technical experience you’re asking about then disregard my previous, bitter post.

Wow. Hung Mung, if I had a god, my prayers would go out to you.

This is what I mean- ours is a tough racket, a dangerous field. Would you say it’s more your personal thing or a common thing?

Depends. When I graduated I knew a lot of guys like me who had not made a lot of contacts or a broad level of experience. I keep trying to get into the promotions end of the news biz because it’s more creative and moderately less stressful than the actual news end. Also, local news sucks raunchy pig bladder.
However, this isn’t so easy because the tv markets in this area are difficult to get into without a couple years of experience. Nashville is a top-30 market, Charlotte is top-30, Knoxville and Chattanooga are top-60 (if I recall correctly). So, unless I just get lucky, I’m probably not going to break in any time soon.
This leaves me with the little start-up company I’m doing, weddings and whatnot. Basically, it’s two guys and their trucks, a couple of cameras and two new iMacs. We’ve got a plan, but right now we’re tying up loose ends. Plus, my partner may be going on the Kenny-Gretchen tour this fall to shoot video.

Griping to say you’ll be working your way up from the very bottom. There are a lot of people who can do what you do and do it better (until you prove 'em otherwise). Be ready to move to Podunk and do lots of shitwork.
It’s absolutely imperative that you make friends with lots of people, preferably people who make hiring decisions. Or can write you a good recommendation. As the saying goes, “It’s not who you are, it’s who you know.”

And film school? Too cutthroat for me.

I’ve not been to ‘film school’. Took a couple of classes in college, though.

The joke is: ‘You spend $20,000 (or $40,000 or whatever) to learn how to pull cables on other people’s films.’ Robert Rodriguez said that if you have the money for film school, don’t go to film school; go out and make your own film. He said film schools don’t teach you how to tell a story.

I really wanted to be a filmmaker, but I was seduced by The Steady Paycheck in the data world. I got the occasional gig as a grip from Drama Logue, and I worked on films a friend made. I heard from USC students that the class submitted proposals to a committee, and one film was chosen. Everyone worked on that film. By contrast, I heard that at UCLA everyone made his own film. I cannot vouch for the statements.

So here I am, laid off from my well-paying data job. What am I doing? I’ve hooked up with a guy who has a videography studio. We’re planning to open another studio in L.A., and we’re also planning to make a feature-length production before we leave Washington. We both have practical experience in filmmaking, and we’re just going to do it.

I’m guessing that a film degree will ‘get you a job pulling cables’, but I don’t know how much good it will do you if you want to become A Filmmaker. People such as George Lucas or Steven Spielberg made good films in college, and they were noticed. Rodriguez went to film school and made El Mariachi outside of the school. These guys were recognised for the talent they displayed in their work. I think a degree might make it easier to make a film, but it takes more than the piece of paper.


I didn’t even know that film schoolers did stop others films. What does that mean? I can understand why, but- huh? :confused:

Free bump. To reiterate

I went to film school. It hasn’t made me the big bucks, but i don’t regeret it.

For one thing, my school was damn hard. We were expected to write publishable papers. We were expected to be able to put together good movies under situations more stressful than one would ever encounter in “the real world.” Academically, it was one of the more rigourous majors out there, and I sure as hell learned how to analyze difficult reading, watch the hell out of film, and write like a madwoman.

Technically, we were pretty much on our own. Mostly the advantage was that we got free use of the equiptment and a group of people to bounce our ideas off of. There are a few things every budding film maker wants to do (like the infamous “guys walks down the street- strange things happen all around” idea) and film school really does help you get those out of your system.

After college, it’s been a struggle. But right now it’s a struggle for all new grads- even my comp sci and brain science friends are working crappy jobs. Nothing except the extremely trade-oriented majors are going to earn you an instant career. I’ve been working hard on my own to use my skills, and it’s had some success. I just made a music video that is playing on MTV Japan, and my credentials landed me an only-partially-crappy job. If you end up majoring in film, get used to “looking for work” and some degree of insecurity. But who has security nowdays anyway? I’m not doing particularly worse than any of my other friends who studied in different majors, and at least I know a trade.

Meanwhile, I have a college degree, some great critical thinking skills, and no doubt in my mind that when the time comes to make my movie, I know exactly what to do.

I wouldn’t do film school if you just want to work in film. That’s easy- just go somewhere where people make movies and soon enough you’ll find work. I wouldn’t do film school if you already KNOW you are going to make your movies- just do it. But if you are going to college and know you arn’t too concerned with having a steady job with a house and kids and all that, go for it. But make sure you go full-hearted. You will only get out of it what you put in to it. Learn as much as you can, meet as many people as you can, and schmooze with your teachers.

Is it possible to transfer to film schools, or are they four year institutions?

And how do the students ‘pull cables’ on each others projects?

And thanks for the info.

‘Pulling cable’ means you help each other out with the grunt work. Each person or group will work on its own idea, but there’s nowhere near enough man-power in a group of three to put together a decent production. You have to haul equipment, set it up, position lights, hold bounce boards, run cable, fasten or hold mikes and lights, check all the little things before you say action.
You’ll have to recruit your fellow students to do that and volunteer yourself in return. But if you break something (God forbid you should crack a lens), you’re in truh-bulllll!

I went to film school at a 4 year public liberal arts university. Not just a school for teaching film, but a big school with a film department.

Any good film school will have you ‘pulling cables’ (which is code for grunt work) for all the other students, and they do grunt work for you. You learn every department, not just “directing” or what have you. I specialized in cinematography, but I did my share of getting coffee and cleaning lenses and yes, pulling cable.

I don’t regret film school at all, but you should know that I work in a bookstore, and do very little with film right now. I lived in LA for a while, got one job (and one freebie on a really crappy USC production… you mean light ruins film? sigh.) and moved back to the midwest.

Many of my friends are working in the industry and doing well, but not one of them is ‘making films’. No matter how hard you work, some dumb jerkass will get a great job while you’re selling donuts on a street corner to make money. For example: was the laziest, most good-for-nothing guy in school, and he’s constantly getting jobs. Shitty jobs, but jobs.

As for media studies, that’s a whole kettle of fish I’ve never gotten into. Unless you plan on going in to academia, don’t go for a studies degree.

Where did you see that? I’m lost as to what you mean.

It was said that film school was ‘cut throat,’ and then it was said that all they did there was ‘pull’ each other’s ‘cables’, and so by that I had the image of sabotaging each other’s films. :smack: :smiley: I can’t believe that’s what I was thinking…

Good idea for a movie? :slight_smile:

How hard is it to get in touch with ‘agents’, whatever that may mean (stereotypically or otherwise?) And what kind of business is it when a guy like Michael Bay can make movies but we can’t get in?

That’s the thing. You’ve got to go into it knowing that a lot of shitty filmmakers get amazing opportunities you’ll never get, and you can’t let that bring you down. You’ve just got to do your thing and not let it get to you. It’s damned hard, too.

Everybody wants to do it. It’s like how every college town has hundreds of little rock bands because everybody wants to make it and be a star. No matter if you’ve got a great story to tell or a new structure with which to tell a story, there’s a million other people trying to do it too. You have to be a hardass.

Yeah, I definitely knew that- everyone has a script they’re trying to get produced at some point in life. But I thought- and I admit that I know nothing- that most people don’t go the extra mile and have the verve blah blah blah

you get where I’m coming from- how many hopeful screenwriters actually attend film school, work on as many film projects as they can, talk to as many agents as they can every year after year, and actually believe (even knowing the truth) that they will make their film and go places? Isn’t there a difference between the weekend screen-writer who takes an education class on screenwriting on it and someone who does the above?