What Use Film School Can Be

To film school or not to film school. The question crosses every young filmmaker’s mind. You don’t need film school to make a film, but film school, film classes, coaches and mentors definitely serve a place in the filmmaker’s life.

Interviewing Actress/ Director/ Film Student, Evita Castine about her film, Free Meal, I got a strong sense of what support can mean in a filmmaker’s career.

We are all influenced. As I interviewed Evita, it struck me how many names she dropped; Bill Duke, USC Film School, S. Epatha Merkerson and a couple teachers.  She wasn’t doing it to brag, she was in that wonderful mode of synthesis; you know, that state after thesis and antithesis, right? These are voices which have influenced, encouraged and shaped who Evita is, and as she’s still finding her voice, they’re still relevant to her what, why and how.

Film school is expensive, time consuming and a luxury for most, but its a place where you can think deeply about the craft of film making; a place where you can be challenged, critiqued and encouraged to think deep thoughts about film. Just shoot it in a two-shot, right? Well does that two-shot serve the story?

In this video, Evita talks about the clarity and courage you need  as a director.

I didn’t got to film school, and one of my favorite websites is nofilmschool.com. But you can’t knock the privileges and opportunities available in a space dedicated to improving your craft. If you go into these programs open, and not racing to finish, they can be a beautiful and fruitful experience.

Evita’s new film Saudade will be screening at the 2013 San Diego Black Film Festival and at the 2013 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. You can follow her at:

Twitter @evitamarie
Instagram @ Butterflymcqueen




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2 Responses to “What Use Film School Can Be”

  1. Andrew says:

    The second video reminds me of painting. Painters develop and perfect their process and eventually that becomes just as valuable in the art world as their subject matter. For example; we know Chuck Close not from doing close-up portraits – but we know him because he did them in his unique style.

    In this way film is the same, we can start to identify certain directors, cinematographers, art directors, etc. when we see the fruits of their work on film. Perhaps this is evident in writing more than anything else, as this is a more flexible process and (until the studio mangles it) represents largely a buried explanation of a theme/moral/emotion the writer is trying to convey. In the best dialogue the story is told not by literally saying “There’s an alien on this ship!” but by conveying that same message as it would in normal conversation. In this way, the “process” and not the big idea is what we actually see (or in the case of scripts, read).

    So, yes, she makes a good point that (not just in film) in the best art we see the process and that’s what is important. I saw works of a painter recently that leaves areas of the work “unfinished” showing paint color swatches, sketches, etc. in the “final” piece. It’s a perfect example and I’m sad I can’t remember his name.

    Here is another blog on the topic as it pertains to painting (a medium which I find analogous to film-making in many ways): http://high-road-artist.com/880/artistic-process/art-as-process-not-product/

  2. Andrew says:

    I remember the name of the painter now: Colin Chillag


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