Five paths to success after graduating film school

Wondering what to do next after film school? Here are 5 different paths our students have taken to success in the film industry.

Five paths to success after graduating film school

By: Kennedy Randall

You’ve studied the in’s and out’s of filmmaking and honed your creative skills. You have the rest of your career ahead of you in a constantly evolving and growing industry. But deciding what path to take to success after film school is a big choice. There are many different career paths you could take. Becoming your own boss by producing your own films or freelancing is a popular one. You could also join the best in the industry and work on blockbuster sets. Whichever path you choose, success is just around the corner. We took a look at some of what our InFocus alumni have done after film school to lay out five different paths to success in the film industry.

InFocus Film School Film Program

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Film Production Program!

1. Produce A Feature Film

For an emerging filmmaker, producing your own feature films is one of the most exciting prospects to take in the film industry. Though a lot of work, producing and directing your own movie is incredibly thrilling and fulfilling as you have greater control over the creation of your film. Having full creative control is one of the best ways to find your voice as a filmmaker and it is a common path that our students take after film school. 

However, creating your own feature film can be daunting. But no project is ever too small! There is no need to spend the big bucks on your film. Use your friends or classmates as cast and crew, your house as set, and rent equipment to make your ideas come to life. If you are looking for more tips on how to write a low-budget feature film, check out this article

Luckily for you, after film school you graduate with plenty of ideas that you can turn into a feature-length film. If you are struggling to come up with an idea for your film, take one of your favourite short films from class and expand the story. Add more characters and plot – then you’ve got yourself a feature film!

2. Direct Music Videos or Advertisements

Five Paths to Success After Film School

Although best-known for his Oscar winning Dramas, critically acclaimed director Martin Scorsese often dabbles in directing commercials. Many of our students take his lead, getting experience on other sets before jumping right into producing feature films. Directing music videos or advertisements is a great way to get hands-on experience in the industry and make connections. Getting comfortable using a wide variety of equipment is a valuable experience for an emerging filmmaker. Adding different experiments to your CV is always a good idea!

As well, learning how to take someone’s vision and create a film is an extremely important skill in the film industry. It isn’t always going to be your vision you have to follow but often someone else’s. Listening to a band or artist’s creative direction on the set of a music video is a great opportunity to learn how to take direction and produce something for the client. Many of our students take this path this after film school. Check out this epic music video by Julie Gomez that she made while in our InFocus Film Production Program! 

3. Work on BlockBuster Film Sets

Five Paths to Success After Film School

Finding a job on set is one of the most common paths our graduates take. Being in Vancouver, AKA Hollywood North, there are many production companies in our neighbourhood. Every year we have hundreds of films that shooting in our backyard. InFocus students have gone on to work with big networks and companies like Disney, Marvel, Hallmark, Netflix and Warner Brothers after film school. As well, with so many TV shows being filmed in Vancouver, this is a great option. Finding a job on a TV set ensures steady work as production time is consistent. Students have worked on BatWoman, Yellowjackets, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and many more!

After film school not only will you have the skills needed to land a job on set but strong connections with fellow students and teachers that will help you find these opportunities. Your teachers may also get wind of a production coming to your city and recommend their students.

4. Take Your Projects After Film School to Festivals

As we mentioned before, after film school you end up with an arsenal of great ideas. While in film school, many students submit their films to film festivals. This should not stop after you graduate! It is sometimes worthwhile to reshoot or expand your initial film if there were any suggestions from your professors or peers to improve the film. You can take your passion projects to festivals to gain recognition and start your filmmaking career.

Our students have produced many short films that have gone on to win awards at festivals both in Vancouver and abroad. By submitting to as many as possible, you get your film and your name out there in the industry. This is valuable for making connections, meeting fellow filmmakers to partner with one day, and gaining professional experience.

5. Freelancing

Five Paths to Success After Film School

If you aren’t sure what path you want to take after film school, freelancing is a great choice. Being a freelancer can offer you so much freedom and flexibility. With potentially a new location every day, filled with new people, your job becomes a way to network and meet other film professionals. 

It is important to have a strong portfolio to show potential clients. Using your projects from film school to show off your editing, videography, and camera work is a great place to start. Being your own boss means you get to say no to the projects that don’t appeal to you and only focus on the ones you want to work on.


Overall, there are so many different paths you can take after film school. When you leave film school, it is important to reflect on what you enjoyed the most and tailor your career path to help you achieve your dreams. Stay in touch with your classmates and teachers to continue connecting and collaborating throughout your career. Many of our students continue to work on films together and have made live-long friendships. Wherever you want end up, use the skills that you learned and the portfolio projects you made to help you on your professional path.


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What is Hollywood North and what does it have to do with the Vancouver film industry? The answer is, EVERYTHING! Read more to see what makes Vancouver a hub for Canadian film production.

Vancouver Film Industry

If you’re a film fanatic or as aspiring filmmaker, you’ve probably heard Vancouver referred to as Hollywood North. In 2018 alone, the film industry added 3.2 billion dollars to BC’s economy. This included a good balance of international and domestic productions. Every year, hundreds of films, TV shows, and documentaries are shot in Vancouver. As a result, the city is ranked as the third largest production center for film and TV in North America. Because of the amount of activity within the Vancouver film industry, the city has certainly has earned the reputation for being a hub for Canadian film and television. With all that being said, what exactly makes filmmaking so successful on Canada’s west coast? Why has there been so much success within the vibrant Vancouver film industry?


Vancouver Film Industry Facilities

Vancouver is home to most of British Columbia’s production and post-production activities. That is to say, the city has the capacity to support the biggest Hollywood movies in casting, set-building, location filming, and audio and special effects. It also has some of North America’s most highly-developed studio spaces, as well as numerous FX and sound stages.

vancouver film industry

Major film studios include:

Top VFX & animations studios include: 

Location, location, location!

A simple 2-hour flight from Los Angeles, both Vancouver and L.A. share the same time zone. This eliminates any issues with operating hours, accessibility, and travel time for actors and key crew members, for example.

vancouver film industry downtown

On top of this, Vancouver’s mild climate allows for year round shooting. Consistent cloud cover also naturally diffuses sunlight. This makes it easier for technicians to add additional light when needed. Furthermore, there is also a strong community of skilled crews, technicians and creative experts to work with within the Vancouver film industry.


Vancouverites Love Film

The film festival scene in Vancouver is alive with local and international fare. For example, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is one of the largest and most recognized film festivals in North America, with over 500 screenings held over a three week period.

vancouver film industry

It also features a VIFF Talks film forum with a variety of high-profile speakers. VIFF 2022 featured Clement Virgo, the director of Brother, and Deborah L Scott, an Academy Winning costume designer of films such as Avatar & Titanic.

Other major film festivals in Vancouver include:

With it’s dynamic film community and mix of Hollywood and indie productions, the Vancouver film industry is a great place for emerging and professional filmmakers alike!



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