Problems with Film Schools


Film production majors not getting jobs? Nonsense. I have a great job working as a...customer service associate...also known as a cashier...at a supermarket...with a bunch of pre-pubescent 15-year-olds. And there's some great perks, too...like, sometimes, if things get quiet enough, I get to shut down my register for a while...and bag!

 

But, seriously, it's not BU's fault that I have the job I do at this point in time. If I wanted a better job within my field I could probably get one if I put in the effort, but I'd also end up losing most of my soul in the process. Right now, I only whore out a small fragment of my soul (I only work a handful of hours), and the rest is free to create ingenious pieces of art!

 

I give BU's film program (at least the undergrad one) some credit for emphasizing a semi-strong liberal arts foundation and for requiring students to have a CAS concentration and also for giving us a handful of electives, which at least gives us the opportunity to take more "thinking" classes if we're wise enough to realize we need them.

 

The major problem I have with the program is, like you say, the kinds of messages it gives to students when it relentlessly showboats/praises successful Hollywood alumni, and also when it highlights the technically successful, I-can-make-my-film-look-like-a-Hollywood film students over the artistically successful, I-have-something-I-need-to-say students at the various film festivals and end-of-the-semester screenings.

 

But I guess the film department has no choice but to do this because it's simply trying to make the film program appear good to its customers (i.e. the parents of the students), whose values of film are basically molded by Hollywood. BU needs to highlight the alumni who have the APPEARANCE of being successful and the films that have the APPEARANCE of being good (Hollywood-good) in order to convince the film-illiterate parents that sending their students through the program is or was a good investment of their money. This brings me to what I think the overall problem is: the parents.

 

Parents simply have to start viewing college as, like you say, a means of getting their children to think. But the problem is that, like most everyone else in this nation, they're poisoned by the capitalist mindset that simply sees things in terms of cost-effectiveness and good investments. When they're spending $40,000 a year (an outrageous sum of money!!!), they want to believe that their kids will come out of school making more money than what was spent to school them. This means there's a lot of pressure on the students to forget about the "thinking" courses and take a bunch of technical, hands-on courses that will, at least in theory, provide them with the skills they need to get jobs that pay well enough to make the $40,000-a-year investment a good investment.

 

So I guess the key to changing the film schools for the better (or any school for that matter) is by, first, changing the values of the customers. If the parents realize that it's not only worth it, but absolutely essential to make the cost-INeffective move it takes to get their kids thinking healthily, then everything would change. That's where I think the root of the problem lies.

 

Anyway, just thought I'd share those thoughts. Thanks for sending me the link. -matt

 


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