Read an interview with Julien Bettelheim, Graduate of FilmSchoolSF’s Digital Filmmaking Program Class 15, and maybe you’ll answer the “what film school should I go to” question for yourself
1. Tell us about your journey to find FilmSchoolSF:
I found an accelerated film school program in Berkeley shortly after I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker. The program was appealing because of its 5-weeks format, but I still could not have followed it because I was working full-time and could never get the necessary vacation days.
This led me to visit another film school. They had a night program but a more academic style and four-year degree curricula, which was not of as much interest to me after having already completed a college education.
Then, I have found FilmSchoolSF. They had the night program I was looking for, a 18-months Filmmaking course I know I could commit to, and an emphasis on the hands-on practice of the technical craft of filmmaking. In 18 months, I would get to learn, understand and practice all of the different aspects of the craft, learning effectively how to make movies, and throughout this learning experience I would be making my own movies, thus starting to be a filmmaker on day one, as opposed to only preparing to become a filmmaker. My search for a film school was over.
2. Describe the 3 most valuable learnings or accomplishments you got from being here:
Filmmaking is hard work, the kind that will take everything you have. But making films will also feel like the best job in the world, and what you make will stand out on a personal level among some of the most important things you have made in your life. If you put in the work and the sincerity, the films you make will also be among your proudest accomplishments, and the stepping stones before your films to follow.
Making a film is an enterprise, filmmaking is an art. It will stretch everyone of your muscles and bang every part of your brain. It will never let you down because you will never be done with it. If filmmaking is what you need to do, do it.
3. Where do you see yourself and career as a filmmaker in the next 3 years?
I will be making a feature film in 3 years time, writing, directing and producing. I will have studied the films of the masters (and the others) long enough, and will know and understand filmmaking just enough to be able to give a singular voice to a low-budget project and drive a story and a vision to completion, to the big screen.
If it does happen to take more than 3 years, I will still be somewhere on my way, closer to this goal than I am today.
4. What would you tell aspiring Filmmakers who are considering enrolling in film school?
You stop being a film school student after graduation but you never stop being a student of Film.
Completing film school is only the start of your journey. What you will get out of the program will depend on what you have poured into it in the first place. It has to be sincerity, it has to be work, it has to be love of cinema.
If you are not looking for the school that promises to get you there but maybe does not deliver, but if instead you are looking for the school that can guarantee it will get you started, FilmSchoolSF is a great place. Going to film school is not the only way to get you further along on your filmmaking journey, but it is one of the ways.
And is FilmSchoolSF a great film school? YES!
Still thinking on the question what film school should you go to or even if you should go to film school? Read this conversation with Ryan E. Walters, an award-winning Oregon-based cinematographer. His work has allowed him the opportunity to travel worldwide in the pursuit of telling stories that are visually compelling. His experience includes feature films, documentaries, commercials, and shooting for Comcast, TLC, Oxygen, and the Discovery Channel.