Firstly, a film education will teach you the basics of filmmaking, give you access to equipment, and potentially speed up your career. However, there are a lot of options these days for aspiring filmmakers from traditional film schools to online workshops.
How you study filmmaking depends on your personal learning preferences. Admittedly, you don’t need an actual education to work in film but professional training has its advantages.
Below you will find advice on the various education options for filmmakers.
Regardless of your age, you might want to study a full-time filmmaking course. This could be as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, taking place anywhere between 2-4 years.
For full-time study, you have the option of attending a university or film school. The main difference is that a university will have many other students studying a range of disciplines.
While a film school is an institution made specifically or film students. A university course is also more likely to teach a wide range of filmmaking skills as opposed to a focused course. For example, a course that only teaches screenwriting.
The place you choose to study does not affect the quality of education. However, before choosing any course you should research fully into the curriculum. Also, if possible get a tour of the classrooms and meet your lecturers. Full-time education is a big commitment so you should make sure that the course is a perfect fit.
Here is a list of the highest-rated full-time film courses in the UK.
- National Film and Television School
- London Film School
- Raindance Courses
- Met Film School
- Northern Film School
- Screen Academy Scotland
If you don’t have the time or financial means to study full-time there are short courses and workshops available. Many film schools offer short courses, but you can also find these held at film festivals or online.
These courses run anywhere from a day to several months at a time. Although they don’t come with a formal qualification you can still place them onto your CV. You can also find these courses and workshops by searching on our film course dictionary.
If you are a beginner you can take an all-round filmmaking course. These will teach you everything from writing the screenplay to editing the finished film. However, if you have a more solid idea of what job you want you can take a focused short course.
Here is a list of places to find short courses in the UK.
If classroom study is not your thing, you could try and get an apprenticeship. These are professionally taught on the job trainee placements. You can apply for an apprenticeship on the UK’s government website and through most major companies. Some of these have age requirements, so be sure to read up on the rules before applying.
There are a lot of advantages to an official apprenticeship in contrast to working on independent films. A placement at a good company will teach you professional practice, provide valuable industry contacts and actually pay you.
These apprenticeships however are very competitive, so there is no guarantee you will get one but it is worth trying. You can find these by looking at the career pages of major film, TV, and media companies.
Here is a list of quality UK film and TV apprenticeships.
Lastly, although it is always best to get the professional training, you can learn by working on independents. Independent film projects are happening all over the country throughout the year. Many of them will be happy to have the extra help, but they often pay a low wage.
You can also learn the basics of filmmaking by making your own low budget films. To do this use your mobile phone and download free editing software. In addition to this, there are plenty of blogs and youtube channels dedicated to filmmaking tutorials. You will find these jobs on online job sites not to mention through social media.
Here is a list of UK based independent film jobs sites.
- Stage 32
- Shooting People
- The Call Sheet
- My First Job in Film – Collaborations
- Mandy – Opportunities & Collaborations
So, whether you self study or attend a formal course there are many ways to educate yourself as a filmmaker. Also, make sure you read up on the rules before applying.
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