Going to a great film school can set students up for prolific careers in their chosen industry
For those wanting to turn their passion for storytelling into work opportunities, they may be weighing the pros and cons of attending a film school. While every person’s situation is unique, here are some compelling reasons why film school could be the best next step.
Mentorship from industry pros
At film school, students have access to expert teacher knowledge and receive mentorship from industry professionals. This is a huge benefit — without film school connections, it’s difficult for emerging filmmakers to find working mentors who can offer one-on-one support.
For film production graduate Denzel Vazquez, the highlight of his time at Toronto Film School (TFS) were his instructors. “I was lucky to have incredible teachers who are artists themselves with lots of work experience and who still thrive in their fields,” he says. For students, these instructors provide relevant insight that only comes from years of work in film and television. Guidance like this is invaluable, especially during the early stages of building a career.
Gain hands-on experience
Film schools don’t solely focus on theory — instead, they prioritize hands-on learning that aligns with industry demands. During their schooling, students engage in numerous projects like short films, commercials, and music videos, mirroring the collaborative environment of a real set.
At TFS, students dive into practical projects, labs, and workshops, applying theory firsthand across various production roles. Plus, they have access to resources like state-of-the-art equipment. “In my first term, I was making silent films on my phone camera,” says Gospell Marianayagam. “By the end of term six, I was successfully able to produce my own short film with all the latest industry-standard equipment, which is a fantastic opportunity to have.”
Make industry connections
In the film industry, the importance of a strong network cannot be understated. That’s why film schools help students build business connections as early as possible. They develop key relationships with working professionals while also making important peer partnerships that can turn into lifelong creative collaborations.
“TFS has been my industry matchmaker,” says Marianayagam. “For example, it flew me to Newfoundland to shoot behind-the-scenes content of a big TV show.” Network connections are interwoven into TFS’s curriculum through several career-oriented initiatives, master classes, workshops, and other events where students can meet and learn from sector professionals. Like many, Marianayagam feels like the connections he made in film school will serve him throughout his entire career.
Ample career opportunities
There are tons of film industry roles that are not well-known or commonly considered. At film school, students get to study and practise these various employment options, discovering the many directions in which their passion can lead them.
Students delve into the intricacies of pre-, current-, and post-production, experimenting with roles in directing, producing, and editing. Within these sections are numerous jobs that work together.
Vazquez felt ready to work in his industry because of how in-depth his curriculum was. “You learn that making a film is really a massive team effort, made up of countless roles you don’t think about,” he says. Film school helps students select a job that’s most suitable to their skill set.
Fast-track a Bachelors degree
It’s clear that going to film school opens various doors for budding filmmakers — including additional education opportunities. Students who complete a diploma program at TFS can then earn a full Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA) through Yorkville University in as little as 15 months. Through this unique degree, students can grow their professional networks and gain additional in-demand technical skills that are applicable across a variety of fields. They also attain industry-unique acumen that elevates existing creative abilities.
Offering courses online and in person, Yorkville University provides support and schedule flexibility to students earning BCAs. As TFS alumni, both Marianayagam and Vazquez are currently completing their BCA degrees. “There were elements I wanted to learn beyond the creative — like policies, attaining funding, and budgeting,” says Vazquez. “The BCA program is incredibly thorough and extensive. I’m saving myself years of trying to learn this stuff on my own.”
Film schools are a great choice for those seeking professional growth in a student-focused environment. “In my BCA, I’m gaining important business and leadership skills,” says Marianayagam. “I believe that if you’re an artist who also understands how the business is run, you have a major advantage.”