Can you recommend a film school?
Because of our interest in encouraging Christian involvement in the media, we at the SAICFF receive many requests for information and guidance on choosing film schools. Most of the requests come from parents who wish to equip their children as professional filmmakers. We would be happy to make referrals if we knew of any safe and credible schools, but we are not aware of any in the United States.
One purpose in our organization of the Christian Filmmakers Academy is to begin to provide a foundation in both technological and theological subjects that will serve the professional filmmaker well. Every year we will attempt to include more academic and practical information in the curriculum. Until we can provide a comprehensive curriculum, we wish we could suggest alternative schools and learning opportunities. We know of none that we can in good conscience endorse.
According to Academy faculty member Geoffrey Botkin, today's media schools, both the vocational and university varieties, are a poor choice at best and a dangerous choice at worst. The reasons he cites:
1. Today's schools grossly overcharge for mediocre training
2. Today's schools waste the student's time
3. The schools train the students on obsolete equipment
4. The schooling denies the student the challenges of entrepreneurial filmmaking
5. Credentials from these expensive schools can actually make a graduate unattractive to potential employers, who know how unprofessional the schools really are.
6. The reason of greatest concern to Mr. Botkin: Today's schools fail to protect their students from trends of corrupt creativity, self-indulgent dishonesty and visual immorality that characterize modern independent filmmaking. Many schools celebrate rebellious attitudes as requisites for innovative filmmaking. This non-academic culture in the schools does little but defile impressionable students and confuse them about art and aesthetics.
It is for this reason Mr. Botkin advises avoidance of every school with which he is familiar. As an alternative, he encourages aspiring students to teach themselves the craft of filmmaking by undertaking small commercial jobs and working into projects of greater complexity and responsibility.
Mr. Botkin discusses this in greater detail in his lecture, Vocational Realities for the Aspiring Filmmaker, available for download at BlueBehemoth.com. We believe that internships and on-the-job training can be far superior to pseudo-academic environments of most media schools. Scroll down to "Can you recommend additional resources for learning about filmmaking?" for a list of additional materials.