Film Schools and Career Requirements

More about hard work than glamour

Careers in filmmaking and television production are in very high demand. The allure of exciting work, a potentially glamorous lifestyle - and of course celebrity - draws more job seekers than there are positions to fill. This is true for almost every area of the industry. Even less attractive film jobs, such as those in education or government, are competitive due to film graduates who are seeking work experience.

Not all graduates will benefit from future employment opportunities. Those who want to succeed will have to become well-trained, gain a lot of experience and above all make sure to impress the right people.

How long will it take?

Film programs, whether offered through independent training centers, colleges and technical schools or universities, are usually quite different from each other.

Courses that lead to jobs in film and video editing, camera operation and sound recording or editing may be targeted to practical learning that will qualify graduates for entry-level jobs in those fields in as little as a year.

There are also film school programs that cover the entire filmmaking or television production process. These programs often teach students the basics and history of the particular industry and may prepare them for jobs as screenwriters or cinematographers. They'll also gain the necessary knowledge to help them move up in the business to become producers or directors.

Screenwriters can receive general creative writing training through any number of educational institution programs, although they might have to take courses in film language and script writing to become more familiar with the style.

Art schools, theatres, colleges and other educational institutions offer a variety of acting classes and programs. Some students choose to take several short courses in different aspects of the craft, while others prefer to earn a degree.

Skills and requirements

Workers in each of the film and television jobs will need technical and computer skills directly related to their responsibilities. But one thing they should all have in common is knowledge of the business as a whole and acceptance of the fact that they'll have to earn the right to move up in the industry.

Traits that make for a successful film career:

  • Business savvy
  • Talent and creativity
  • Professionalism
  • Self-motivation
  • Open-mindedness

Degrees and specialized training programs are a good base education for many in this career, but the fact remains that talent and perseverance will have more influence on who finds success. In film and TV almost everyone starts at the bottom.

Editors and cinematographers start out as camera operators and assistants, sound engineers start out as boom operators and actors start out as extras. Directors and producers may start out in any one of the lower- or higher-rung positions.