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Tips for First-Year Film Students

For young creatives, college is a great way to learn your craft while making the connections necessary to survive in such cut-throat industries. If you’re getting ready to head off to film school, take a look at these tips for first-year film students.

Just Start Shooting

Students who go to college normally need to take a full year’s worth of fundamental classes before they can make use of the tools that enable them to produce film and video projects. Don’t let this stop you!  

Getting your less-than-stellar films out early is preferable to saving them for senior year when your demo reel will be dreadful. If you don’t take the time to master your production skills on your own, you’ll be behind the competition.

Get Onto Sets

Another way to nurture your abilities while you’re in your first year is to volunteer for your peers’ projects. There are always valuable lessons for you to learn on any production, even if those lessons are what not to do.

Research your school to see if you can locate any call boards for crew positions and connect with your schoolmates who are above you to see if you can lend a hand. When it comes to building your skills and building your creative network, this is the single biggest tip for first-year film students.

Find Your Niche

It is crucial to have a well-rounded education, but you should also focus on your personal interests. Start out film education by exploring production and post-production careers, particularly during the first two years. Spend time experimenting with camera settings, editing techniques, lighting, and more.

As a last step, in the final years of school, strive to gain the greatest experience in the subject area that you excelled in or found most enjoyable. Hollywood movies demand hundreds of individuals with very distinct, extremely specialized skill sets since there is a clear need for their skills. If, for example, you want to work in the camera department, look into renting or borrowing essential cinematographer gear like cameras, lenses, and lights.

Implement Your Classwork

Most film school programs use a large percentage of class time to study film theory and history. Most job aspirations of film students aren’t suited to this type of academic approach (except for film professors).

An unfortunate amount of film schools place the burden of attaining further production experience on the student, which results in not enough on-the-job training. Spend a day shooting a project, then go on to the next. Being in school provides latitude to explore and create—never again will you have that kind of liberty.

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