Why Not Film School But Business School

Why Not Film School

A good relative of mine asked me the question of why not attend a film school recently. This was the message.

“My present wish is to force you to do a course. Even an online course or distance education mode, a short term at least, on film making and its various skills. Now, without doing a theory course you are so good in practical knowledge and the know how of film making that you are able to teach others and advise others. Then just imagine after doing a course what and how it would be. Have a sincere thought on this.”

This is a question that I have thought hard on for years before I quit my job and decided to pursue filmmaking. A friend once told me that you have to think a 1000 times before making a decision, but once you have made a decision never ever think again of it. Go ahead full steam.

Five years back when I was resigning my job, then joining a film school might have been a good idea. But at that time I had lost faith in all educational systems that I did not want to waste another two years. Instead I wanted to learn by doing, on my own, following my own interests.

I understand where my relative was asking this from. I feel no grudges, but happiness that they want me to do well. They want the best for me, from whatever life experience they have had. I thought I will answer the question here so that somebody else who is facing the same challenge today can use my experience and make a decision for themselves.

Making a Film Isn’t Even Half the Journey

I do not believe there is anything more that I’ll gain from a course in filmmaking that I already have not learned by doing failing and learning myself. Which is not to say there I know everything. The things that I now need to learn are more finer details of using the medium of visuals and sounds to evoke the feelings that I wish to evoke in an audience.

That said I feel a course in selling is something that will add value to my personal filmmaking journey.

For the past five years all I’ve been doing was to learn storytelling and the process of making a film. Going through books, courses, video tutorials, workshops and whatever I could get my hands on, practically implemented everything, making my own mistakes.

My idea was that that was all that was needed. But once we made our debut feature film, and went to Goa Film Bazaar with that, that’s when we realised that making the film is only 10% of the whole equation. Digital technology have made filmmaking accessible to anybody and everybody. There is an abundance of content. We as the audience, are confused what to consume.

Why Not Film School, But Maybe a Business School

During these times making your film stand out, getting eyeballs on it, marketing and selling it, has become the most difficult part of the journey.

Which is what I am learning now. The current release of Munnariv is practically implementing everything I learned so far in marketing and selling. Again learning by doing, making my own mistakes and learning from them.

There are filmmakers way more talented than me. I have no doubts about it. But not so many who can make a good film and sell it. That’s where I can creating a niche for myself, today.

History Will Repeat

Musicians had to learn to sell themselves and their music when MP3 players and piracy gave easy access to music 5-10 years ago. Similarly 5-10 years later every filmmaker will have to learn to sell themselves and their films, with Netflix, prime and other platforms becoming the norm.

Right now learning to make and sell will give me a big advantage, over people who will be forced to later. That’s how I see what I’m doing, why I am learning business and not attending a film school. To which my relative responded,

I fully agree with you. You are on the right track. Happy to see that. Wish you all the best! We all are with you with full confidence…. Go ahead!!!!!

Not all relatives are asking questions to irritate you. A lot of them want the best for you. Try not to take their comments as personal attacks and include them in your journey. The journey becomes so much more wonderful when you have people who care around you.

Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!

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