Is a Film-making Degree a Bad Investment?

Wall Street Journal Article bashing getting a filmmaking degree (or just pleading for loan forgiveness?)

If you want to be a filmmaker you might be discouraged by this article….

Here’s my advice from someone who’s been there:

  1. Work any day job and start shooting weddings on the weekend. Easy market to break into and put your filmmaking skills to good use. Good wedding filmmakers can make $3-5k depending on the market.
  2. When you get to a point where you can live off the side hustle, go to part time and start getting into corporate video communications. If you still want to be a filmmaker, build up your equipment and contacts to the point where you can do your passion projects. Stop waiting until you can afford a RED or C500 and just shoot with what you can get your hands on.
  3. Shoot and edit, shoot and edit – live it, breathe it!!
  4. Also consider community college and then transfer to a state school… I earned my filmmaking degree while filling laser toner cartridges as my day job and living in a trailer, had dirty fingernails at the time but now I love where I’m at – supporting my family well and loving my work.

Filmmaking is an awesome career but you can’t sit around and cry for long. Move the ball forward. Stay humble. Make people laugh and cry. Take the small opportunities and build up. Hustle!! Also nobody cares where you went to school, all they care about is your reel and your work ethic. No-one asks me about my degree – they ask if I’ve shot something similar before.

Don’t spend $100,000 on a filmmaking degree, but if God designed you to be a filmmaker, the world needs you!!

Phil Gioja of Center Street Productions (left) shooting a documentary on the Danville Building Block with Renaldo Hudson of the Illinois Prison Project (center), produced by Dale DeNeal of Second Church of Christ (right).

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