What Do They Actually Teach in Film School?

Let’s get specific about film schools and film directing. This video from NYFA shows the kind of things you learn in their very expensive programs. The instructor talks about “continuity”.

Continuity simply means cutting shots together so they appear to be linear. Example: a guy is standing outside his house turns the key and walks inside. We cut to a shot of him inside the house.

Pretty simple right?

Or as in the video, two people are sitting across the table from each other and you frame one of them on the left side of the frame and the other on the right to make it clear to the audience where people are.

Again, pretty basic.

So here’s the deal. Most people who have picked up a camera and started shooting, even in high school, have got this concept down. It takes about 5 minutes to learn, like tying your shoelace. There are videos on youtube explaining this and the one below.

At NYFA (and similarly at NYU, etc.) students sit in a classroom and a guy like this explains this very simple concept then they go out and shoot a short film where they frame people on the correct sides of the frame or cut from one shot to another and call it “continuity”.

You can do a google search for “nyfa continuity” and you will see all these 2 minute short films.

Now, is this a good exercise to do? Sure. Is it worth being part of a $18,000 a semester program?

I’m kind of dumbfounded because I receive messages from people all the time defending the fact that they took out $35,000 in loans to learn remedial stuff like this. But hey, I can’t and don’t want to convince those folks. If you really need to spend that kind of cash to learn this kind of simple stuff, then perhaps film school is a good idea.

Personally, I think you can do better than that and deserve more for your money, which is why I show people to go beyond the basics and create likeable characters, tension, use camera movement, cinematic lighting with affordable equipment, directing actors for the screen, writing, shooting, editing, and marketing a feature film for less than a class at a $100,000 film school.

If you’d like to learn those kind of skills, then go to:

http://filmschoolsolution.com/makemovies

And if you want to sit in a classroom to learn the basics of cutting from one shot to another, you can visit:

http://nyfa.edu
http://lafilm.edu
http://fullsail.edu

etc. etc.


Leave a Reply