I chose to go to film school because it provides so many more opportunities to aspiring filmmakers than does jumping directly into the industry.
First of all, it allows you to learn the history, technique, and theory in a more organized manner. Sure, anyone can pick up a book about how to portray emotion through symbolism on-screen or learn how Hollywood’s studio structure has changed over the years, but self-taught learning will be periodic and will have to fit within the confines of your weekly schedule. If you take the time to study how to portray a story on the screen in a captivating and effective way and learn why certain techniques must be carried out, the films that you make will resonate with knowledge of what you are doing and won’t simply be moving pictures with audio.
Second, with all of this time put aside to learn and be taught the ways of filmmaking, you will also have time to get some hands-on experience. Like teaching yourself, making movies on your own requires time out of your weekly schedule: you’ll have to schedule around work and other obligatory commitments, where as in school you’ll get class time to work on your projects and complete them in a more timely manner. Along with this hands-one experience, you will be able to dabble with professional equipment that you would otherwise only experience on a professional movie set. Unless you have a job on a movie set that requires no college education, you won’t be able to use professional equipment unless you shell out a sizable chunk of change and you’ll have no experience operating it. Some argue that with the increased use of digital video and availability of editing software on your personal computer that experience with actual film isn’t necessary, but most major Hollywood films are still being shot with film as it is part of the history and tradition of film production, so it will not die out that quickly. It’s good to get familiar with the equipment while you can.
Third, film school allows you to receive one-on-one advice and help by like-minded individuals. You’ll have mentors who are professionals in the field who can give you tips on how to better your projects and offer you inciteful and helpful critique. The same goes for your fellow students: seeing as they’re studying the same thing as you are, their critique and input may be more useful than that of your close friends and family or a random YouTuber who’s simply trolling the comments section of your video.
The fourth, final, and most important reason as to why one should attend film school is the connections. As previously stated, your teachers and mentors are quite experienced and no doubt have had some involvement with the film industry at one point or another. Establishing good relationships with them while in school can be beneficial down the road, as they can put you in contact with other influential (and affluent) filmmakers active in the business. Even the connections you make with your fellow film students are important; maintain good relationships with them and you’ll see how much easier it will be to find a crew and/or cast to help you out with your future endeavors (or for you to find future work on a crew yourself).
If you are interested in making movies, film school is most definitely beneficial and should not be passed up.