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    Your Kid Wants to Go to Film School. Now What?

    Posted April 16, 2024, 4:07 pm by The Experts at TeenLife
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    They may be the scariest words your college-aged child will say to you: “Mom, dad…I want to go to film school.”

    Parents, you probably have your concerns. After all, your child wants to go to film school—a career path associated with the 1970s. Back then, only three networks existed, plus PBS. Cable television was in its infancy, 3D films were low-tech, and the internet was decades away.

    Today's filmmaking industry is incredibly different and far more nuanced. Technology like AI is transforming the landscape. The future of film, with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies — and new digital capabilities — is evolving to tell stories in completely different ways.

    Even the term “film school” is growing outdated as the industry moves toward digital content creation: a much broader field that is giving way to new careers in a variety of industries.

    Worried About Sending Your Student to Film School? Don't!

    Dozens of colleges and universities specialize in preparing students for the new, emerging opportunities in this suddenly vast career landscape.

    We consume media at home and on the go via computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, YouTube, Hulu, video on-demand. We watch films on our iPads and iPhones when we aren’t in front of our wall-sized LCD screens (and sometimes even when we are). Creative, passionate people who've learned to work within the new rules of the digital entertainment industry are responsible for creating all of this content.

    Now your child wants to get involved. Perhaps she wants to be a cameraperson, writer, editor, or maybe even a director or producer. And she’s come to you for advice.

    Parents, if you’re still worried, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Your kid is making a smart move.

    Film School: A Smart Move

    Whether she’s seen the future or eager to explore, your teen is poised to hit the ground floor of an emerging and evolving skill market.

    • Streaming boom: Streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and Hulu are driving a content surge. Expect m ore jobs for writers, directors, editors, and cinematographers.
    • Tech takes hold: Virtual production and CGI are creating new opportunities in animation, visual effects, and virtual set design. Get ready for a rising demand for skilled pros in these areas.
    • AI on set: AI has entered the scene for casting decisions, post-production tasks, script analysis, and more. While it's great for streamlining workflows, it also creates a need for professionals who can use this technology effectively.
    • Going green: Sustainability is becoming a priority in the film industry, which needs people who can implement eco-friendly practices and manage sustainable film production.

    Deloitte's 2024 Digital Media Trends suggests that the media and entertainment industries will experience ongoing disruption. Streaming, social media, and gaming aren't just changing the landscape — they're converging to create entirely new experiences. This evolution is also opening the door to many more opportunities for college graduates.

    Film school isn't an inexpensive proposition — but students can apply for scholarships, too.

    It's a Wrap! Finding Your Way

    Whether you're at the beginning of your film school journey, looking for internships, or a recent graduate, here are some tips to help launch your career. And there's no need to wait until you've accepted your college diploma, either. Parents, take note!

    Discover your core competency.

    This is a fancy way of saying know who you are and what you do well. Play to your strengths. If you write well, keep writing. If you love to edit, hone those editing skills. While it’s good to be familiar with many roles, always work on making the best parts of you better.

    Technology is your friend. 

    Back in the day, movies and t.v. shows were shot using celluloid with films edited on flatbeds not computers. The 1990s arrived and by the end of the decade, had transformed how we made and watched movies. Today's HDSLR cameras are inexpensive and great quality. These cameras offer wonderful opportunities to experiment and try your hand at making movies.

    Learn and participate in social media.  

    TikTok and Instagram aren't just for goofing around. When used properly, these and other social media platforms can become your biggest asset. Have an idea for a video series or want to grow as a content creator? Crowd-sourcing's a great way to raise money and build your audience.

    Use Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and other social media to promote your production. By the time it's wrapped, you've got a built-in fan base ready to help you expand your audience.

    Network. Network. Network. 

    Sign up for LinkedIn and join film groups online where there are job postings, comments, and entire communities to take advantage of. In the brick-and-mortar world, join film organizations such as the Gotham, Independent Filmmaker Project, film festivals like those sponsored by the American Film Institute, and film societies. Get out of your parents’ basement and meet some people!

    Don't just wait. 

    While waiting for your big break, leverage your degree to get an entry-level job creating online content for a company. There are plenty of options out there, from content writers and video content creators to social media managers and graphic designers. You might even check out entry-level digital marketing jobs.

    Create a web series. 

    Want to reach the largest audience possible? Create a web series! This vehicle offers a fantastic platform to consistently engage your audience. Creating and releasing web series episodes takes much less time than developing a pilot, keeping viewers hooked and hungry for more. Fans invested in your series will return for new episodes and become excited for future projects — like feature films.

    Give back.

    While you're building and establishing your reputation, volunteer to work on local productions. If you do well, they'll call you back — next time, for pay.

    Fish where the fish are biting.  

    If you're determined to make Hollywood-style productions, move to LA or New York. If small, indy films are your passion, you can go anywhere. You can't, however, sit around and hope Hollywood will come find you.

    It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.  

    No one graduates from college and immediately sits in the director's chair of a major production. It takes time to become established. Be patient and work hard — the industry rewards tenacity.

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