What about a writer without a degree? What about a photographer who isn’t much of a photographer?
Yes, yes. Yes, you can, especially with the right help (or at least a degree). I was a film producer for many years and, yes, I learned a lot. I did internships and some screenwriting jobs as well. It was definitely useful in my early days of filmmaking and it helped a lot in my career. I also do a lot in academia. My wife is a grad student pursuing a Master’s of Fine Arts in Film and Video at UC Berkeley’s MFA program, so we have very similar educations.
I’m going to be a writer in New York or Los Angeles now, but I’ve never been to film school, nor have I sought out the kinds of support that most students need to complete an education. When I graduate from college, I think I’m going to be just like you — an academic working toward a degree in film, and in particular in my chosen field of art cinematography. You have no idea. It’s a wonderful opportunity that only some people may have — but it isn’t available for everyone. Film school is important in so many different ways, from the education you receive, how it supports you, to your future career prospects and even just the general experience it has on the individual student. What do you hope your experience in film school teaches you?
As a writer, film school has to be a dream. It’s about learning to see art and making sense of it in the real world. A lot of films that you see in a theater, or at an exhibition, you’ll see in a classroom and maybe even an editing suite afterward. Film education is about having that interaction with the audience, but it’s a very individualized experience. A lot of filmmakers I’ve met who went to film school before making a feature film or producing feature film are really good at writing, and it’s true that film school is a great place to teach other writers how to write as well. For me, it was more about my curiosity, and about exploring the idea that I really wanted to do films — film, no studio involvement, no editor, a single director. I realized that, to some degree, I could do that on my own.
When you wrote the screenplay for your first feature film, which was called After the Storm, did you feel like there were some important things going in the story that you didn’t even think about until
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