To Go To School or Not...

With the new school year beginning tomorrow here in Ontario, Canada, I'm reflecting on what schooling must be like with the way technology has grown since I attended Sheridan College for Media Arts and how internships are posted daily for freelance positions and contract positions.

I graduated in 2007, it was a 3 year program where we started by learning a little bit of everything (Marketing, Camera, Lighting, Directing, Producing, Website, Effects, Graphic Design). The program was $10,000.00 a year.

What I gained from being in the program is the knowledge of the roles and the equipment but more than anything, it was the connections I made with other students. I still work with many of them even after graduating 12 years ago.

To give you an idea of what 2007 looked like. The Panasonic HVX 200 came out that spring, and that started the HD trend and the prosumer market. Music videos, commercials and movies were still shot on film. My first music video was shot on Super16mm. However, film quickly died to HD and then to 2K, 4K, 6K and now 8K.

Today you can go into a Best Buy (big box store) and purchase an 4K camera, audio equipment, lighting and even speciality equipment like a drone. Being able to buy these items changed the industry and made me question, do you need to go to school anymore for this profession?

With craigslist, Facebook, Indeed, and Freelancer being sites you can find new postings hourly for shoots, multiple day shoots, part time and full time contracts. If you're dedicated to this craft you may be able to work daily and work up the production ladder. Starting at the bottom with production assistant (PA) jobs.

Another option other than school is to get a camera and start shooting. While I attended Sheridan I would rent a camera if I got a paid production job. Start by doing some free jobs, and work your way up to pay gigs and start building a clientele.

The final option is if you have the funds, purchase the latest and greatest piece of equipment. When I went to school I was told if you could afford a steadicam you could make a business out of that. A friend of mine has a jib and has built a business around that. If you're going to invest $30,000.00 + into school why not invest it into equipment and build a business?

Lots of things to considered if you're looking to get into the media industry. These are just my thoughts and opinions and in no way are they right.

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