There Are Alternatives to Film School - Chicago Filmmakers

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Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 2:57pm

When I was a young girl I knew that I loved the art of filmmaking. I would always take actors or actresses from a film and imagine them in other films because I didn't think, not knowing they were called casting directors at the time, that they were in the right roles. I would imagine performers who could play important people in history or who could play other actors if they ever made a biopic film. But I didn't know at the time that you could go to film school and be whatever role you wanted to play on a film set. So I turned to my next loveā€¦engineering.

It wasn't until I was way in my adulthood that I decided to go to film school. I chose Columbia College Chicago and LOVED it. There's nothing like being around like-minded people and listening and talking about what you love. But in reality that was one EXPENSIVE education, one that I will be paying on for quite some time. Now this subject matter has a deeper rant that would be under a different topic and would require much needed info on our economy and the educational system in American as we know it. But I choose not to digress but to offer you other possible solutions.

Yes it is wonderful to go to college and get that paperwork that takes you further and open many doors to people you long to meet. But that's not the only way to do it. Yes the other route requires much more work and dedication but is that really a bad thing? When you think on it for a while, NO it isn't.

Chicago is known as a city of talent and not just any talent but talent that is synonymous with creativity and that means there are people out here who you want to know. I myself have worked on films for friends who were students but also for others who were looking for a script, script advisor, camera person or even PA (you should learn what this is, it's were many start). You'll just have to find them on your own if you choose not to go to film school and one way to do that is to check out organizations like the Chicago Filmmakers.

Chicago Filmmakers offer college-level classes at a much affordable rate and gives you the ability to save up for a particular class you want instead of having a complete curriculum. There are classes in Screenwriting, Development, Producing, Directing, Editing and they have workshops. Plus you are meeting those in the film community who I'm sure will cross paths with those students who are attending film schools in Chicago. It's a way to not only hone in on the craft you want but to also support and help with many projects looking for those who want the experience - student and non-student.

So if you have a dream to be a filmmaker and can't afford film school, don't think there aren't alternatives. Get to know the film community here in Chicago, offer your services as a PA, write your own script, film your own shorts, just do it. I will be spotlighting and showcasing many opportunities throughout Chicago in future posts here on The Local Tourist so be sure to follow and take advantage and follow your dream.

Photo is from a short film by Mark Allhoff

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Tiff Tate

Tiff Tate is a Chicago native and founder of The UnScene Chicago.

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