Film school is the perfect time to gain hands-on experience, meet new people and build your career, but what should you be really focusing on?
We spoke to some of our graduates, who have gone on to do some incredible things in the industry, from working with Steven Spielberg, to Producing films all over the world, and asked their advice.
“Time goes very quick, so plan everything. Learn from the tutors, they have so much experience to guide you. Make your own mistakes, not someone else’s. Don’t overwork yourself. Trust me…it’s exhausting!”
Duygu Dogan- Cannes Film Festival Nominee
“Be open and to be willing to fail in an assessment to become a better filmmaker. Otherwise, what's the point?”
Hazel Savolainen – Film Maker
“Things won’t get handed to you and you can’t expect someone to see your indie film and then offer you to direct the new Godzilla. There’ll be times when you’ll feel defeated or hopeless and you’ll wonder if it’s worth it. I’d be lying if I said it’s easy but I can tell you this: it is worth it. It’s the best job in the world, because there’s nothing quite like that feeling of sitting in a room filled with people and watching something you worked so hard on, and then seeing your name on that screen. And who knows, in a couple years you could be on set operating a camera next to Steven Spielberg, and how cool is that?”
Andy Ritchie- Camera Operator with Steven Spielberg
“I'd have to say learn not only as much as you can in your studies, but also develop other creative skills in your spare time, because nowadays as you would probably know, it's very competitive in this industry, especially when technology is taking over.”
Andrew Tran – Cinematographer and Video Content Producer
“My biggest advice for students is to take advantage of that time. If you want to be a writer/director, make sure you are working on your feature script or TV pilot. When you are working, you don’t have nearly the same time, so make sure you are pursuing that.”
Courtney Brown- Screenwriter, Director and Producer
“Try and find people you can learn from, and know when to differentiate between very hard work and real exploitation. Don't let people treat you in a way which is demeaning but allow yourself to be pushed. If I could go back in time, I’d say yes to everything the first year out of film school (I probably did) because you need credits and references and experience. It’s like a machine though - once it starts, you'll have that momentum and you can do your taking over the world thing!!”
Michelle Nagy- Producer
“Watch films, read books, experiment, don't be afraid of failures. Focus on other people's stories instead of your own. Don't wait for the opportunity. Work hard, save money, and do your own thing in the spare time. Create opportunities!”
Matt Subieta Cheda- Creative Director
“Hold on to the like-minded/successful relationships you create, your best work will be with those who are equally as talented and persistent as you, even those film school collaborations. It’s a team game. You are never too good for a job and opportunities arise in the strangest places. Always take time to consider any project, but at the same time saying ‘no’ is often just as important as ‘yes’.”
Kieran Fowler- Cinematographer
Find out more about studying Film at AFTT, or apply now.