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Do you need to go to Film School to make independent films?

This article is from Sam Longoria Filmmaking Blog.

Anthony Watkins is an accomplished filmmaker from Mount Vernon, Washington, who attended film school in Vancouver, BC. That required Anthony, a U.S. citizen, to commute for hours every day, over the US/Canada border. The distance didn’t bother him, for Anthony knew he’d only be doing it a short while.

“It was a good film school, but I only went there long enough to learn how to operate a movie camera, and light a movie set. As soon as I learned that, I was done with film school. After I quit, I started raising money, and then I started shooting my own feature movie.”

How has it worked out for him? Anthony has completed two feature films, “Counseling Day” and “Mall Robbers.” Both movies are feature-length, shot on film, and they premiered in Anthony’s hometown movie theatre, complete with tuxedoes and limousines.” Read rest of article here.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Howell January 14, 2009, 4:21 PM

    I really hope we don’t have to go to film school to make Indy films. If so, I’m completely screwed.

    I was speaking with a filmmaker friend this weekend and the topic turned to finances. How does one finance an independent film? He brought up the story of how the Coen brothers financed their first film. It gave me hope.

  • Peter D. Marshall January 14, 2009, 5:19 PM

    I went to film school (in 1970)!) for three years. I also teach directing P/T at the Vancouver Film School. I believe it is really dependent on the person, your finances and your connections. Going to film school is only one way of learning the business. The one consistent factor though is this: you must keep making films and learning all you can about the craft, the art and the politics of this business.

  • Tony January 14, 2009, 11:41 PM

    Mr. Marshal,
    You teach directing at VFS? My directing instructor was Roy Hayter, is he still there?
    I look forward to following your blog.
    Also, my first film COUNSELING DAY should still be in the VFS library…we screened it there in 2003.
    Take care, Tony-

  • Shane January 15, 2009, 10:14 AM

    I’m more apt to the Paul Thomas Anderson method: go to film school for two days, drop out, use tuition refund to fund indie project.

    Granted he was able to get into the Sundance Indie Filmmaker’s Lab, which I didn’t know even existed. I think Paul’s method is a great method, especially if you’ve spent countless hours of your life watching film over and over again. But, that’s the difference between someone who watches film and studies it, to someone who watches film merely as an escape from reality.

  • Peter D. Marshall January 15, 2009, 12:43 PM

    Roy is still teaching at VFS.