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The Reality of Film School

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I’m going to be very specific with my audience with this piece and I (semi) apologize for that in advance. But, this one goes out to the filmmaker just starting out wondering if film school is a good idea. Hey, to each their own right? As for me, I vote yes and that’s not because I was just accepted into the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts… okay yes it is. I am totally and uncontrollably excited to be going to The Hollywood Reporter’s #1 rated film school in America.

I’m here to say that if you do choose to take on film school, you will be getting so much more out of your experience than just how to compose a shot and edit on Avid. You ultimately will be receiving irreplaceable networking opportunities and experiences (that’s personally my favorite part,) alongside real world experience if you choose the right school to attend. For me, I have heard so many times that film school is overrated. Okay, that can be true if you attend a school with a strictly textbook based curriculum; however, not for the progressive schools such as the University of Southern California, New York University, University of California Los Angeles, etc. These schools are giving students the real world experience that is needed to send them into the work force with relevant experience and an unparalleled professionalism. This is because the schools are fighting to stay one step ahead of the industry in all areas such as technology, faculty, and teaching methods. I know, I’m saying all of this and I haven’t even started my first semester. I feel that’s the beauty of it – I have full faith in my new university and I haven’t even set foot into my first class. I have a confidence in USC that I’ve never had before.

That leads me to my next point, friends – it only gets harder from this point on. Aside from hearing the same old film school is overrated speech, I’ve also heard the, “You got in there?! Oh, you’re set,” monologue from many of the adults surrounding me. I don’t think that is true, in fact, I know it’s not. This just means that because these sophisticated resources finally surround me I am going to have to work that much harder to stay ahead of the game. The same goes for any film school student. Much like the industry, this is a cutthroat college major with many set days and endless hours in the editing bay. There is no time to sit back and rely on the name of your school on your degree to make up for your lack of effort. This is the time to hit the ground running toward your future. Comfort can be a sneaky enemy in this case. Film school is your foundation, not your ticket.

Alexis McDonough

About Alexis McDonough

As an aspiring Director of Photography, Alexis McDonough is currently entering her third year of college at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts as a Production major. Born and raised in the outskirts of Miami, FL, Alexis has always shown a curiosity for telling original and untold stories. She currently resides in the city of Los Angeles, CA and in the mean time of receiving her degree, she takes pride in advancing in her cinematography and editing skills alongside developing her natural story telling abilities. Making the decision to pursue film as a lifestyle at the age of 15, Alexis has taken advantage of several outlets to advance in filmmaking. Among these are internships and job positions that allow her to creatively exude her ideas and passions. Alexis enjoys indulging in her favorite films, creative writing, and reading novels and self-developing leadership books. With a strong work ethic and passionate personality, Alexis looks forward to writing for Ms. In The Biz. She sees this opportunity as an outlet for creativity and looks forward to networking, new experiences and opportunities