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Questions about studying film formally

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Okay, hope this is the right board... because this seems to be the "name that movie" board.


I tried asking this on Yahoo Answers and what I got was a reply telling me that I won?t make much money going into this, etc, so I should do something else. I already know about the money, but it?s a passion. What can I say? I hope the people on these boards understand that enough not to dissuade me.


I?ve watched classic movies ever since I was a little kid. Now I?m a recent college grad considering graduate school. I?m not exactly sure of what I want to do for a career just yet. Right now I?m working in education and I?m intending to start my Masters program in the next couple of years. The history of film is one of the things I?d like study. I want to understand what I see.


Has anybody here studied film history formally? I don?t want to make movies. Careerwise I?d be interested in teaching the history of film, likely at community college level, and/or writing about film in articles, books, etc.


Where (what school) did you do it?

Was the program challenging?

Was it ?worth it? as far as you are concerned?

What are you doing now professionally?

How much did it further your understanding of film?


I?m especially interested in online programs as I?m in the Midwest and not looking to relocate anytime soon, but I?ll take all of the information I can get. I've done some research on schools but I just had to ask here.


Also, does anyone know how the people who work for TCM get into the field? At the moment I'm not looking to work for TCM (though if the proper people are reading this I am DEFINITELY interested) but I'm curious as their academic and professional backgrounds.


Happy Greer Garson Day, everyone!

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There are many fine schools in the Midwest and many of them have Film Departments. It sounds like you are more interested in the Critical Studies as opposed to the Production side.


A thousand years ago when I was in your shoes, the AFI College Catalog came to my rescue. I believe the they still publish it. It is a catalog listing all the film schools around the country. It might be worth checking into buying one of the catalogs to see what schools in your area offer Critical Studies/History of Film classes.


Another aspect that I would recommend would be to take some classes in Library Science. Why? Because a basic background with Library Science would enable you to also work as an archivist or librarian in places that are devoted to Film Study such as library's Special Collections and Museums.


Best of luck and let us know if you have any other questions!

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I suppose I should say a few things about this.


Back when I started out as a TV news cameraman around 1961, I was the youngest TV cameraman in the country, at age 19. I know this for a fact because I did a lot of freelance work for CBS and their union camermen told me that. They traveled all over the country all the time and they knew every TV cameraman in the country, which numbered only a few dozen.


So, consequently, I got lots of work and some of it was high-paying jobs, back in the days when TV news was expanding in the '60s and '70s.


However, when TV stations went to video in the mid-1970s, it was easier to take news video than it was to shoot news film, since the video could be played back immediately, and the little TV monitor that was used as a video viewfinder allowed cameramen to check their focus and exposure as they shot the video.


Consequently, TV stations found that they could hire anyone off the street to shoot news video and the number of cameramen in the country suddenly exploded into the hundreds and then the thousands. Salaries dropped to almost minimum wage in some small towns. No longer was a great experienced cameraman needed, since just about anyone could be taught to shoot video.


So, my point is, you need to consider how many other people will be competing with you in your profession. You also need to consider how much of your interest in this topic is a hobby, and how much of it can be turned into a good salary as a good profession. When having fun with your hobby, money might not seem very important when you are young, but you'll find later that it comes in handy when you want to buy a house or a car and to pay your medical bills.

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If a young person wanted to move to L.A. to get into the "film business" in some way today, how much competition would he/she have? In the film business today, are there more people than available jobs or more available jobs than people in the L.A. area?

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There are way too many people out here in the City of the Angels looking for jobs in film production than there are jobs available.


However, Octoberbest is interested in Film History/Critical Studies and doesn't want to relocate. So, for someone who doesn't want to be in Production, Film History/Critical Studies is a background that allows him/her to study the history of film/film criticism/etc with an eye towards becoming a critic, teacher, professor or writer.


By taking some of the Library Science classes, he/she might be able to go into the archiving field as well or at least get their foot in the door.


The good news is that Film History/Critical Studies approach does not mean one has to move to Los Angeles, NYC or Toronto to find steady work.


There are schools now all across the country that teach Film History classes so one is no longer limited to certain cities the way that you and I were being in Production years ago.

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Hi, thanks for the information.


I just remembered that more and more universities, colleges, states, museums, and libraries are starting film archive departments. Sometimes this is combined with video and still photo archives.


Now that we have computers and the internet, this has become a popular field, that is the field of becoming an archivist for documentary, news, and other kinds of films. Some universities and states have big departments related to this. It might not be very Hollywood-film oriented, but it would offer jobs for people interested in films and history.



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If he's interested in archiving and restoration he should look into the programs at The Selznick School at the George Eastman House in Rochester NY. I believe that there are similar ones at UCLA too.

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