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December 18, 2017

5 myths about film grads and film students

Film studies has gotten a lot of bad press recently. That might be because there are some second rate film schools, especially in Britain, where film is treated as a dumping ground for academics who’d rather be in the social sciences (and the social sciences are already a dumping ground.)

Well, just because film students don’t learn anything in a lecture on post-Soviet-mise-en-angst, which ends up being a rant about some political thing that has nothing to do with film whatsoever, that doesn’t mean the stereotypes of the actual students are true.

Myth #1: films students do drugs.

I have seen chemistry students, social science students, and other students totally out of it, and I’ve even heard film lecturers mention smoking pot. But, I’ve never seen a film student do drugs. By the way, drug use seems to be much higher in American universities than British ones, and it is higher still among those who end up dropping out.

Most film students I knew drank on occasion, but even then, they didn’t get totally wasted, and when they did bad things when they were drunk, other film students called them out for it.

Myth #2: film students are lazy.

While film students don’t like writing essays, almost no one does. I think I’m the only person in the world you can write five essays in a single day and find it fun, and then wonder if there’s an essay-writer’s anonymous to take in people like me.

If EWA did exist, a lot of other film grads would join. So many of us have pointless blogs, and waste time writing scripts that never get produced. If anything, we’re workaholics.

Once you hire a film student, we stop working on personal projects and devote our time to you. In every job I’ve done, I’ve never seen a film grad or film student slack off. I’ve seen music and computer science grads slack off, but never film students.

Myth #3: Film students feel entitled.

Film students are less likely to be unemployed six months after graduation than computer science or architecture students. Why is that? Because we feel a need to contribute to society, and we give up holding out for a better job.

Myth #4: Film students are snobbish.

Film students don’t think anything about themselves. I once was in a team, trying to sell the value of a film degree. I tried to say that film forces us to work together more than any other course. My teammates objected to saying anything that might make us sound like we had skills that their girlfriends, housemates, or pet cats didn’t have. Superlatives were out. They basically just wanted to say that film students aren’t doorknobs, so we can apply for jobs.

If anything, a film student’s biggest fault is in not being able to see their own values.

Myth #5: Film students are rich.

A lot of film students come from working class backgrounds. They might be the first person in their family to study at university. If they were rich, they’d skip film school altogether and just invest in their own films. Okay, so some film students are rich. They tend to go to UCLA and the other expensive schools that are known worldwide. But, most schools have students who may not even be able to afford the computers they use. One of my classmates even had holes in his shoes because he was saving up for a computer.

If you want to know who the film students are, advertise a paying job with free food that doesn’t require new shoes.

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