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