Filmmaking is a passion of mine. While I will probably never become the next Stephen Spielberg, I love trying to bring the beauty, intensity, or passion of compelling storylines to life on camera. The more I can learn about this process, and the more I can use this knowledge to understand a really good film, the happier I am.
Several years ago, I decided to pursue this passion a little more deeply by attending the Los Angeles Film School. I hoped to gain the skills necessary to try to enter the filmmaking field, and also just enjoy being immersed in filmmaking 24/7. I had researched what the top film schools were and made the decision based on quality and proximity to my home in Los Angeles, CA.
Filmmaking school was both better and worse than I had expected. In one way, it was one of the most challenging, and exhilarating, times in my life. There really is no way to describe how rewarding it was to finally be able to start learning exactly how to make a great film. The closer I could get to the actual act of making a film, the happier I was.
As a result, I especially enjoyed certain classes that emphasized actually doing what we were learning. For instance, some classes allowed us to run movie sets or practice what the teacher was preaching. Whenever lectures and theory took a backseat to actually immersing myself in the job, I felt that I was really gaining skills that I could take with me into future internships or jobs.
This, of course, was also one of the reasons that my time at the school was so challenging. I wasn’t allowed to just come to class and coast by with a few hours of cramming before a major test. I had to actually get out there and do what we were learning. It really forced me to absorb what we were learning in the classroom, engage fully in each class, and do my very best. Which wasn’t always easy, but was always worth it, because I left my classes feeling a little wiser about the whole filmmaking field.
What I did not like about filmmaking school, though, was the brutal competitiveness that permeated most of the student body. I was there to gain skills, of course, but I was also there to have fun. If my skills never translated into worldwide cinematic fame, I was ok with that. Many of my fellow students felt differently. They were very competitive, very driven, and very determined to get to the top of their field. And they often didn’t mind stepping on you to get there.
I disliked the constant competition, especially the intensity I felt to prove myself number one. I love filmmaking, but I don’t feel the need to be the next Stephen Spielberg. This environment did teach me one good thing, however: It showed me that I really was ok sticking with filmmaking as a hobby. And while I couldn’t match the intensity of my fellow students, I did come away more prepared to make movies, more confident in my abilities, and even more in love with filmmaking than I was before.