I've been looking for guidance, and it came to my mind, you could help.

I'm 27 years old, based in Sarasota Florida, and I've fallen in love with film-making.

I have a degree in Computer Science, but I've discovered that's not what I want to do the rest of my life. I would love to dive into the fascinating TV, film and theater production world. I would love to have some advice as which is the best way to approach it, should I go to school?

Thanks in advance for your time and dedication.


I always knew I wanted to work in film and television, but like you it took me awhile to actually take the plunge. At the age of 29 I began studying screenwriting at the American Film Institute. For me, those two years at film school were essential. I watched all kinds of movies, learned about the crafts of filmmaking and writing, developed a close group of friends with whom I could share my work, and slowly began to find my own voice as a storyteller. I don't think you have to go to film school -- and many, many successful people in film and television have not -- but my experience was hugely beneficial.

Having said that, film school is not cheap, and many of my fellow students took on massive debt to finance their education, only to not pursue a career in entertainment after all, so it's not a decision to be taken lightly.

You haven't indicated what aspect of TV, film and theater production interests you, Daniela, so the answer to that question may well decide the direction you should take. Without question, it is easier to get into these fields if you go to a city where TV, film and theatre production are happening. If you're willing to up stakes and move to, say, Los Angeles, then I have no doubt you would begin to meet other people trying to make it just like you are.

As Scully once said in The X-Files, "No one gets there alone." As valuable as I found a formal education, I would say at least as important for me was finding a group of peers with whom I could share my work and experience. We were all in the same boat, and shared advice, criticism, practical information and sometimes just a shoulder to cry on.  I hope you find the same, whatever decision you reach.


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