3 Reasons Why Emerging
Filmmakers Need To Look
Beyond Conventional
Film Schools

Taking Charge Of Your Film Education:

By Carl Schoenfeld

There are so many different approaches to filmmaking out there, and most of them are very costly. Three reasons why emerging filmmakers need to look beyond conventional film schools and courses when taking charge of their education:

1. Flexibility, accommodating your own needs

Raindance Film FestivalOnce you have made it through the grid of an undergraduate degree, you may want the flexibility of managing your own objectives. We believe that changing your goals (not too often) is evidence of learning, as you become aware how defined roles may affect your career, and you develop an understanding of opportunities in the film & TV industries.

You may want to adapt your learning schedule when finances are low and you take on a job inside or outside the film business.

If you work as an assistant or on a corporate film where technical insights or decision making become an experience beneficial to your research, we can help you to make the experience part of your degree: an M.A.

If it is a personal, unique and unrepeatable project like writing a script or making a short film; or M.Sc. if the results of your work can be shared and repeated by other filmmakers, like an After Effects plug-in or a profitability analysis.

Switch full-time to part-time at any stage.

2. Learn the self-direct way, like professionals do

While we feel strongly about our own views on films and filmmaking, paying strict attention to your teacher and staying focussed on the curriculum is much over-valued. The contradiction between ‘higher order’ academic ‘thinking’ and practical ‘doing’ is an artificial construct that benefits few. We keep conventional lectures to a minimum; there is no cramming for exams, no right and wrong. You design your own useful network from past works, their expertise and the professional contacts you make inside or outside the group.
In the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree, you can learn what both you and employers find useful as you navigate your self-motivated, individual way through film culture and industry: being able to define, commit to and reach your goals; communicate and collaborate reliably as part of a team; and reflect on your work experience, personal strengths and skills needs. Find out more in Jenny Moon’s paper on Reflection & Employability.

3. Be your own Master:

Self-directed learning: Decide from which films and filmmakers you want to learn.

Many well-worn academic investigations felt tired to us students when I was an undergraduate in the late 80s, and I was shocked that aspiring filmmakers are still corralled into similar essays.

Intelligence in filmmaking is about knowing and understanding what is out there and constantly interrogating movies like a 5 year old (or an almost 70 year old Martin Scorsese): why ‘The Artist’ tells us about our growing relationship to cinema; what camera to use for a night time fly-on-the-wall documentary, why Tim Burton would be lost without ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’; what financing arrangements was used by the last ten £1,000,000 budget feature films, why Raindance Film Festival favourite and Bafta nominee ‘Black Pond’ was praised by king-making Hollywood trade magazine Variety as “one of the strongest British debut features to bow this year”.

Then, you can build your own personal voice as filmmaker on top of that, saying what needs no be said and showing what needs to be shown.

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About The Author

Carl Schoenfeld has 20 years of film & TV experience in a variety of roles including editing, cinematography, directing, producing award-winning feature films, as well as Head of Production at Raindance.

Now Programme Leader for the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree, he has developed and delivered industry-relevant production courses with many organisations including Oxford Brookes University, SAE Institute and The British Council across Europe as well as Asia, building on work-based learning.

Postgraduate Details

*** Come to our Postgraduate Open House in London March 4th. Bring all your questions and meet Carl and Raindance founder Elliot Grove. Book your space: email postgraduate@raindance.co.uk

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