Film studies, filmmaking majors come with own set of difficulties

November 7, 2017

Sarah Bubke

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     With midterms finally coming to an end, some students are likely thinking, “Why did I choose such a difficult major? I should have chosen to study film. Film students don’t have to do any real work; they just get to watch movies all day.”

    I am studying film at UCCS. Prior to my time here, I went to film school in Denver after receiving my associate’s degree. As a digital filmmaking major, I am aware of what other students and society think of my major, but they are completely misinformed.

     When I told people that I was a film student, most people tried to discourage my efforts.

    I was told that there was no film market in Denver and that I would need to move to California if I wanted to be successful.

     They told me that even if I did move, nobody would hire me. People looked at me like I was a fool. But the ridicule extended from there; this is unfortunately a theme pushed forth in our society as a whole.

     A March 2017 Buzzfeed article, “65 Thoughts Every Science Major Thinks When Studying For Exams,” pushed the running joke that film is an easy degree. Number two on the list is “I should have studied film.”

     But art degrees, including film studies, have been traditionally looked down upon in society. These degrees are seen as less practical than degrees like accounting or business.

     Many people assume that film students do not have academic work to do. Who wouldn’t want to take classes without tests and papers? And who doesn’t love watching movies?

    While it is true that film students watch movies frequently for class, we still have to write papers and take tests.

     A student film crew can easily spend 30 hours or more on making a short film for class, which still might not be good.

    That is because our films are not made during class time. Film projects have to be done outside of class, requiring students to balance production with other classes, papers, projects and work.

     A film student’s final grade depends on the efforts of everyone who works on the film. That means that if an actor does not show up or if fellow crewmembers do not do their share of the work, students are left scrambling to piece something together to pass the class.

     Even with a film degree, not everyone who studies film will get to make films for a living. If you want to make it in the film industry, you need to know people in the film industry.

     Not only that, but the industry itself sees problems when we do not respect the creativity of film majors.

    Some have complained that Hollywood has been lazy over the last few years, making sequels and remakes of popular films instead of focusing on creating new work. But film executives do this because it is an easy way to make a lot of money.

     They know that if audiences like something they are likely to pay to see a film about that thing, whether the film is good or not, like “The Emoji Movie.” People who seek easy entertainment love topics they already know about.

     When Hollywood brings in revenue from movies like these, they don’t have motivation to hire people with new ideas.

     It doesn’t make sense to complain about Hollywood recycling old ideas while spending money to see those films and making fun of the people who want to make something new.

     If we want Hollywood to foster creativity and produce greater films in the future, we need to respect the filmmaking process and the students who are working hard to learn the craft.