In Los Angeles you can literally throw a brick and hit someone working in the film business. As such, my roommate brought over a friend the other night to watch “Rounders”. Turns out she is a producer of several reality TV shows and doc about a certain well known comic book creator.
We got into a heated conversation about film school versus non film school. She’s been working on film sets since she was 13 years. THIRTEEN. And it turns out when she moved to LA from the midwest she attended USC… for a semester.
Yes, one semester was all it took to realize that the things she was “learning” at USC’s prestigious school of cinema were a lot of academic hot air. She promptly dropped out and started working in the business, and now travels the world producing TV shows.
But she did share an interesting anecdote with me about film school and connections. It turns out that in some cases, a USC degree can get you a hook up with a job. For her last show, she was pretty much forced to hire a recent film school grad to be the production coordinator. One of the many duties of this position includes managing and recording receipts of expenditures made during a shoot.
Of course, they don’t talk about this one bit in film school. And this USC Grad did what a lot of film school grads given such immediate employment do: she fucked up completely. She mislabeled the receipts, organized everything completely out of sequence, and generally created about an extra 140 hours of work for the rest of the crew to clean up.
This is one of the main reasons why experienced producers hate hiring film school grads: they just don’t know what they are doing. So sadly, this academically endowed USC grad was fired from the production, and will not have an easy time getting any more work on other film sets as word of this failure spreads through the tight knit film community.
The moral of the story? A connection or a hook up is worthless if you can’t perform your duty when the time comes. You are better off grunting it out on real film sets and learning things the right way than holing away on campus for 4 years and blowing your big break.
Don’t let your career become another casualty of an expensive film school. Check out Film school Secrets to learn how to start your the right way.