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Another week, another semester, another year has flown by. As some of my fellow classmates and ambassadors face life PCCC (Post Columbia College Chicago) I started to think about the importance of my Columbia education. Sure, I’m learning about cinema, the film industry and proper craft services…but what else? To borrow and adapt an expression…anything I ever needed to know I learned in film school.
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Everything in the frame matters. In film, what you see on the screen is in the frame. What you don’t see are cameras, wires, or lights. The things outside of the frame take you out of the story. Life is the same way. If you focus your energy on things out of frame or out of your control, you will never accomplish your main goals.
In screenwriting we learned your best work comes when you rewrite. In fact one of my professors said your first draft is really your fifth draft. This means you have to have patience. Expect your early drafts to be very rough, and then work and rework your material. What I took from that is you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to get things right the first time. Learn from your mistakes, make adjustments and improve. You can rewrite your life just like a script.
Since day one we’ve been told film is a collaborative medium. There’s not a lot of interpretation here. In life, you get much further if you work well with others.
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And finally it is important to get plenty of sleep before a shoot. It may not seem like film school advice, but when you are well rested you are able to handle the chaos of a set. If you can get eight hours of sleep every day, you’re going to feel better, do better work, and work better with others.
So when people say you don’t need film school, I say they are mistaken. Since arriving at Columbia College Chicago, I’ve not only learned about making compelling films, but also about the meaning of life, or at least a way to make my current life a little better.
…anything I ever needed to know I learned in film school.