Should You Go To Film School? - Conversation with Dan Olson

  • Published on Dec 9, 2016
  • So I get asked this question a lot - and (spoilers) I don't know, because I don't know you and what you want. But Dan-O and I share our personal experiences and discuss some of the shit-million options you have before you if you are trying to decide which (and whether) to go to film school. Do you want to go to one of the giant elite big name ones and incur an insurmountable level of debt, like Lindsay? Or would you prefer to go to a more practical vocational school like Dan-O? Or maybe you'd like to just not go at all and dive right into the industry? Or maybe you just want to watch us ramble on about our opinions on the whole film school thing and have no interest and half an hour to kill. All options are viable, but some are more difficult than others.
  • EntertainmentEntertainment

Comments • 766

  • Alex -
    Alex - 7 days ago

    I'm from Sweden and don't even know what "mill", "grad" or "undergrad" means. Interesting video though. It sucks that finance is such a big part of your guys' education in the US.

  • Sarah Bateman
    Sarah Bateman 12 days ago +1

    Just come to Canada, Lindsay! Have some universal health care while you're paying off that student debt.

    • Alex -
      Alex - 7 days ago

      Right!? I live in Sweden and America seems like the wild west. Also, University is state funded here. You only pay for housing.

  • Juliana Toloza
    Juliana Toloza 14 days ago +1

    she mentioned "mill" schools like full sail and whatnot, can someone please explain this?

    • Leigha Chantrose
      Leigha Chantrose 6 days ago +1

      +Juliana Toloza Basically, due diligence. Do your homework on any school you're looking into. Here are a few websites that can help.

    • Juliana Toloza
      Juliana Toloza 6 days ago +1

      +Leigha Chantrose thank you. Do you know how to avoid these?

    • Alex -
      Alex - 7 days ago +2

      +Leigha Chantrose Thank you I was wondering about this as well!

    • Leigha Chantrose
      Leigha Chantrose 9 days ago +3

      She's talking about diploma mills. "Schools", usually online, with sketchy accreditation, that basically just sell you a worthless diploma without actually teaching you anything useful. They'll hand 'em out to anyone who pays their asking price.

  • Nikola Novkovic
    Nikola Novkovic 21 day ago

    i totally ship you ;)

  • FloatingBacon
    FloatingBacon Month ago

    Im in Germany, so the debt thing doesnt really apply, but im still not sure if i should apply next year or not, mainly because im already getting jobs on netflix series and feature sets, making so much money i can live half a year without working after every job i take, which of course i never do, instead i just keep working.
    But i could. And i could make my own movies in that time, and i could save the money to do it. I dont know, filmschool feels like a step back after working in the industry for 2 years and having been a big Part (head gaffer, artdirector, dop) on thesis Films of students at the very schools i want to apply to.
    For now, im using the applicationprocess as an excuse to produce two of my own Scripts next month, but still, i dont know what to do right now.

  • Brandon Leger
    Brandon Leger Month ago

    Take this advice: If you don't feel 100% safe, don't do it. If production doesn't have your back, walk away and don't work with them again. It's a movie. It's not worth your life.

  • Brandon Leger
    Brandon Leger Month ago

    Pet Peeve: A DIT is a Digital IMAGING Technician who is responsible for the quality of the image going to post production and color corrects on set according to DP specifications. If you are just backing up files you are a Media Manager, not a DIT.

  • Photo_ Filmmaking
    Photo_ Filmmaking Month ago +1

    Whilst I live in United Kingdom, i still don’t understand how in the hell this education system isn’t free.
    I know there are many laws and regulations. in the UK, we get free health care and education is free until the age of 20-30.

    • Alex -
      Alex - 7 days ago

      Same. I'm from Sweden.

  • RRTV
    RRTV Month ago

    Ryan Coogler. I guess being black is good on your resume.

  • Zachary Parsons-Lozinski

    This was really useful! I'm a 27 year old who is currently applying to SAIT for the Film and Video Production program! Definitely some insightful perspectives to keep in mind, while moving forward. Thanks!

  • Graham Gibby
    Graham Gibby Month ago

    "Very snootily" LOL

  • thelassmaster
    thelassmaster Month ago

    Fuck I wish I saw this 2 years ago

  • Rawbeard
    Rawbeard 2 months ago

    $100 dollars a day... man... I live in germany on 500€ a month. how the fuck do you get an entry level job that pays you $100 a day?

  • Dr. Gamelove
    Dr. Gamelove 2 months ago

    Someone please tell me if the grad program at Full Sail is a mill too or did they just mean undergrad? Please, I'm right about to pull the trigger and after touring the place it seemed freaking awesome and everyone I met was great. I really didn't see a downside. Now, I'm so nervous I had to pause mid video cause I'm freaking out here. Thanks! I hate it.

  • Mr. Finney
    Mr. Finney 2 months ago +1

    I love the shade thrown at Channel Awesome at about 20 minutes into the video

  • AJ Fantasia
    AJ Fantasia 2 months ago

    Wooh SAIT! So cool knowing he went to school in the same town as me!

  • who care
    who care 3 months ago +1

    I'm from the future, here knowing what craft services you were whispering about and that you didn't marry wealthy~

  • Rubberman202
    Rubberman202 3 months ago +3

    21:19 - Oh, I think I know the names your thinking of, Lindsay...

  • friedhippie
    friedhippie 3 months ago

    I agree there definitely needs to be a course on freelancing and never ever ever work for free!!!

  • Mojisola Shabi
    Mojisola Shabi 3 months ago

    Columbia way more artsy than commercial.

  • Corporal Touchy Breath
    Corporal Touchy Breath 4 months ago

    Old video, you probably won't see this but "If you pay the minimum payment for 25 years the loans will be forgiven." Sure, but that's still 25 years. That's a loooooooong ass time

  • Nicola Jacoboas
    Nicola Jacoboas 4 months ago

    I tried for NYU and Emerson but they gave me pennies in aid so yeah film school is way off in the horizon for me. I agree with the whole grad school thing and waiting, etc, etc.

  • yosef ochoa rosales
    yosef ochoa rosales 4 months ago

    That ending though! Killed me.

  • Eliina
    Eliina 4 months ago +4

    21:19 *cough*ChannelAwesome*cough*

  • The Lemming
    The Lemming 4 months ago

    Thank you both for being simultaneously awesome and informative.

  • Leopard-King
    Leopard-King 4 months ago +2

    This was kinda fun.

  • talissa almeida
    talissa almeida 5 months ago +3

    Well, so we learned Tarantino didn't go to film school, and that you learn a lot of safety measures in film schools... And now we do know about the danger Tarantino put Uma Thurman during the filming of Kill Bill... That was quite interesting, actually...

  • Michal
    Michal 5 months ago

    So I am currently an undergrad at FSU and the mention of our film school made me laugh a little bit because I feel like no one talked about our film school until Barry Jenkins. I didn't even know we had a film school until Moonlight won the Oscar.

  • oupsie
    oupsie 5 months ago

    hey i lived in calgary! nice :)

  • RedMageUltra
    RedMageUltra 5 months ago +1

    Huh, that “sets” Lindsay threw shade over, I didn’t think of at the time but she was totally talking about the Channel Awesome anniversary movies. She changed her image so much from her NChick days that I didn’t put two and two together.

  • Erica Riley
    Erica Riley 5 months ago

    The Undergrad program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts actually makes a huge deal of making sure production students start making films their very first semester at USC now, as opposed to two years down the line like NYU and UCLA (sucks). I'm in the screenwriting program there and even I had to take production classes as a requirement my first semester :)

  • varagor23
    varagor23 5 months ago

    Intergalactic = Interstellar ?

  • Kris Pistole
    Kris Pistole 5 months ago

    I feel like the only one in my field who is interested in being a film professor

  • Emir Pasanovic
    Emir Pasanovic 6 months ago

    I've gotten a Masters in European Law... I failed to get a PhD in International Investment Law... and after a minor nervous breakdown, now I'm acting and trying to make it in movies and TV. If I had that much debt like you have after ONE graduate school, that minor breakdown would have been a major one and I'd be acting at a lunatic asylum, pretending it was Hollywood.
    Please people, PLEASE, check for international scholarships and just apply. Just apply. True, I didn't study film-making, but I'm living proof that they can and do work.
    How much am I in debt, you ask? I made a brief calculation of how much of my own money I had to spend on the PhD in Liverpool, and it came to around $300. This includes translating all the paperwork into English, bus tickets, plane tickets, train tickets and random shit that I paid to make my life of two years in England easier. The Masters degree was probably a bit more because I traveled a lot more, but I don't owe anything to anyone. I didn't have to return the scholarships even when I didn't finish the PhD, so yeah, APPLY!

  • Donteatacowman
    Donteatacowman 6 months ago

    21:30 hmmmm i think i know... who you mean... now....
    I love that you recorded this for us! Your approach to film is so uniquely well-informed compared to most youtube reviewers I watch and it's so, so refreshing. The work you put in really shows.

  • Michael Tkaczevski
    Michael Tkaczevski 6 months ago +2

    Sounds like vocational schools are one solid step in a sea of uncertainty, whereas academia is jumping into a pit of debt for that one chance you might meet a giant bird on the way down who can fly you to the mystical castle in the sky.

  • Solana
    Solana 6 months ago

    Is there still any plans to do something on this subject regarding Race/Gender? As a transwoman I'm actually pretty interested in that. Didn't comment since it was mentioned as being a potential future thing, but it's been awhile, so - yeah. Just expressing interest.

    • Alice Wang
      Alice Wang 5 months ago

      I don't see Lindsay replying to comments often. Maybe Twitter is a better place to ask about future projects.

  • Sentay0
    Sentay0 6 months ago

    I really and truly despise the education system.

  • mathematics117
    mathematics117 6 months ago

    One important note on grad school that isn't film grad school. don't go somewhere that won't fund you, whether almost guaranteed after the first year or right off the bat. There are places that will do that, be realistic. Go for the program, if they want you they will make sure to keep you around. They are competing for you, not the other way around.

  • mathematics117
    mathematics117 6 months ago

    Love all the TheXvidr comments, also love love love Dan Olson! :3

  • Charlie James
    Charlie James 6 months ago +1

    Eh... Kinda wish I'd have taken more than a day to decide to go to film school. Also, $10k? What the hell?!

  • Game Boiz
    Game Boiz 6 months ago +1

    Short Answer: No
    Long Answer: Fuck No

  • Tomáš Derner
    Tomáš Derner 6 months ago +1

    Oh, the joys of free education.

  • Micheal Cormier
    Micheal Cormier 6 months ago +1

    How big is the New Orleans area for the industry?

  • Annie Fraz
    Annie Fraz 7 months ago +3

    21:30 channel awesome films? 😂😂

  • Nyra Makani
    Nyra Makani 7 months ago +2

    Just.... the concept of Student Debt is so horrifying, coming from Europe...

  • Emily Daenzer
    Emily Daenzer 7 months ago +4

    Watching this after #ChangetheChannel puts the whole "some people don't know how sets work" into perspective

  • Max Ko
    Max Ko 7 months ago +2

    The hell kind of country has a cap on repaying loans?

  • Vivilon Rane
    Vivilon Rane 7 months ago +2

    I'm kinda glad to not live in America so the film school I'll go to (albeit still pricey compared to FREE college in Germany) will not put me in debt. It will only take a heap off my savings, bjt in comparison that seems pretty safe

  • Milhouse Vanhoutan
    Milhouse Vanhoutan 7 months ago +3

    I'm a doctor so the bit about there being a write off cap is felt on a spiritual level. I'm lucky because I was able to get 160K of my 375K discharged by working in a HUSA for four years. But the catch was that I am a specialist.... with a subspecialty. On top of that my particular combination is pretty unique and I only got it because of a very specific combination of events that have happened to very few people. So not only is my particular skill set extremely portable and in demand I have a lot of paid professorial opportunities teaching medicine as a clinical associate professor.
    The upshot of all that is I spent 4 years practicing medicine in an underfunded understaffed ER and while I got to apply my specialty and subspecialty to it I made far, far less money than I do now. I'm thankful for the discharge but make no mistake the state came out on top in terms of value extracted from me vs debt discharged. It was essentially a second somewhat higher paying residency.
    So what I'm saying is on the other side of it all, being debt free probably this year, and actually making more money than I ever even expected: I don't understand how people do graduate programs without some form of discharge. I know people who went to Hopkins who are toughing it out because they won't work in a HUSA for four years and they're insane to me. Graduate programs are too damn expensive.
    Also USC not offering any financial aid is bullshit. Hopkins is the best medical school in the world and they offer financial aid, that one in Cambridge we don't talk about because they're our enemy offers SIGNIFICANT financial aid because they want to attract the best candidates and not be a medical school for the wealthy they would rather produce some of the best clinicians and clinician scientists in the world.

  • Pat ManDX
    Pat ManDX 7 months ago +3

    Watching Lindsay talk about the film set thing is so wholly different after #changethechannel.

  • Jeffrey Parfitt
    Jeffrey Parfitt 7 months ago

    What's your opinion on Chapman University?

    • Franzeska Dickson
      Franzeska Dickson 6 months ago

      It's an excellent school that has poached plenty of faculty and curriculum ideas from other top schools they mentioned. I've met lots of Chapman grads working steadily in L.A. Their points about student debt still apply.

  • Leslie Fiore
    Leslie Fiore 7 months ago +1

    Sure you should!!! Your special!!! Next George Lucas!!! Take out as many loans as you can!!!! Mom will still do your laundry

  • The Warzone Formerly Known As Sweden

    Here in Sweden it's really just more focused on set and the debt is the same as any other vocation. The difference is how likely you are to get a job.

  • Brandy Loutherback
    Brandy Loutherback 8 months ago

    You did try to save us from Student Loans by making internet vids, so thank you, Lindsay!

  • Rudolf IX
    Rudolf IX 8 months ago +1

    looks like names have been named now lmao

  • kanimo24
    kanimo24 8 months ago +8

    21:17 ...Channel Awesome?

    • Torranski
      Torranski 7 months ago +1

      Craft services. Exactly what Ellis mentioned in the google doc. It has to be about CA

    • Rip Steakface
      Rip Steakface 8 months ago +1

      Yeah, holy shit. It lines up exactly. Guess we know the context now.

  • Katherine Castro
    Katherine Castro 8 months ago

    DIT - Digital Intermediate Technician

  • Cazden Cote
    Cazden Cote 8 months ago

    Wow, thank you for this video! I’m currently taking Film Production at SAIT right now, so these tips have really opened my eyes to a few things!

  • SamWallace Artisan
    SamWallace Artisan 8 months ago +18

    So interesting seeing my two favorite film youtubers hanging out. It's like the world is real or something.

  • TiMonsor
    TiMonsor 8 months ago +2

    so cool seeing u 2 together. thx. like spidey batman crossover, but for film geeks

  • 13Zeroither
    13Zeroither 8 months ago +25

    21:06 - 21:35 Oh man, I guess we now know what that's all about now due to recent events. Yikes.
    Stay strong Lindsay & Dan-O.

  • Douglas Daniel
    Douglas Daniel 8 months ago +1

    Six figure student loan debt? Boy, that makes me glad i'm just a failed writer with a useless social sciences degree....
    Good video, very informative, a real reality check.

  • PieRSquared Media
    PieRSquared Media 8 months ago +1

    University of Spoiled Children
    I caught that.

  • Stephen Gillie
    Stephen Gillie 8 months ago

    TIL DIT is "Film Devops".

  • Christian Moreno
    Christian Moreno 8 months ago +1

    I wish I could marry wealthy :( but for most men that is not an option to fall back on. I have a couple of female friends who actually did it, they even stated this as their goal since high school.

  • DuckyDae X
    DuckyDae X 9 months ago +1

    I turned down my offer to study Film at University, I just felt like theory for four years wasn’t for me. The course was hardcore theory, which I wouldn’t mind to be-honest but I’d rather make the art than analyse it. Like I love talking and discussing film, the entire course was much like your undergrad so I just backed out and decided to just do my HND in college for two years then re-apply to the Royal Conservatoire again when I’m nineteen.

  • Kendall Chaput
    Kendall Chaput 9 months ago +5

    I applied to USC as an undergrad in the hopes of entering their screenwriting program, but after watching this video, I'm kind of glad I wasn't accepted and am now getting an undergrad in English/creative writing and cinema studies. Maybe I'll pursue an MFA later on, but for now I'm happy with where I ended up.

  • Tony Parker
    Tony Parker 9 months ago +1

    Please Lindsay, they get big headed and any school.

  • son0of0the0beast
    son0of0the0beast 10 months ago +1

    Lord have mercy. I'm close to finishing an engineering degree with no scholarships except for two grants, and I'll have no debt. My buddy went to film school for like one semester and owes 20 grand. That's a racket

  • Bodhi
    Bodhi 10 months ago

    3:06 :o

  • Claudia Butters
    Claudia Butters 10 months ago

    lmao this doesnt happen in australia. i learnt very little about the realistic film jobs and i went to top film school in sydney - AFTRS. fortunately i wanted to work in camera and networked with focus pullers a lot, so now im a proud clapper loader. i dont see a huge university culture in our film industry. its very hierarchal - usually creatives have all started out as assistants in x department and worked their way up through networking and experience.

  • Oreste Schiavone
    Oreste Schiavone 10 months ago

    If I were to guess, telling student what to charge would be collusion

  • CatMoca
    CatMoca 10 months ago +1

    SATE?? How come I have never heard of it? It's interest that UBC (which has even been the location for movie production) is not actually pushing out as many artists.

  • eartianwerewolf
    eartianwerewolf 11 months ago +1

    I just finished a masters in painting and while I am glad I did it, I have alot of regrets about how I went about it, including how much debt I have, lmao. .

  • 16CharlyV
    16CharlyV 11 months ago +1

    wooow, two of my favorite youtubers! This is great! It worths the watch even if you are not questioning the entrance to a film school.

  • Skye Troy
    Skye Troy 11 months ago +6

    Holy shit. I’m so sorry about your debt.

  • VayMatt
    VayMatt Year ago +1

    I don't remember there being background music before... Not sure if I like it lol

  • Zades145
    Zades145 Year ago +1

    you two make a great pair, i'd totally dig a podcast with you both

  • Anders Gabrielsson
    Anders Gabrielsson Year ago +1

    My two favorite TheXvid movie people in the same clip! Awesome!

  • KingOogaTonTon
    KingOogaTonTon Year ago +1

    SAIT? I had no idea you guys were Calgarian, that's amazing!

  • ALTP13
    ALTP13 Year ago +1

    As someone from Europe the school fees in America seem ludicrous. Even if we had to straight up pay ourselves (which we don't) it would only cost around 8000 euros to get a degree.

  • Rickest Rick
    Rickest Rick Year ago +1

    No one else find it funny that both hbomberguy AND Armored Sceptic commented on this?

  • Nguyen N.
    Nguyen N. Year ago

    Digital Intermediate Technician?

  • Odist Abettor
    Odist Abettor Year ago +1

    It's interesting how this def applies to other creative production industries in terms of tempering expectations and the diff between tech schools and lib arts. It also differs depending on the industry but still great for anyone thinking about schools.

  • ry wyche
    ry wyche Year ago +1


  • Questman
    Questman Year ago


  • thequixoticman
    thequixoticman Year ago +3

    I would point out that Donal Glover would also qualify as a "the lucky one." He was at NYU in the dramatic writing program. While there, he worked in the Hammerkatz - the campus sketch group. For his internship, he worked on Conan O'Brien's show and wound up being able to get a few on camera roles. Fairly soon after school, I remember Donald getting a job writing for "30 Rock," and now he's... well... he's Donald Glover. Marco Ramirez was at the NYU dramatic writing program at the same time. He went to Columbia for grad soon afterwards, started becoming increasingly successful as a playwright. He moved from that to writing for TV, getting jobs on "Sons of Anarchy," "Orange is the New Black," "Fear the Walking Dead," and finally "Daredevil" where he took over duties as show runner for the second season - leading him to run "The Defenders." One thing I'd point out about both Marco and Donald - but especially Donald - is that their time at NYU was as undergrads. So undergrad may not do you well in some places, but it also depends on the program you're in and what you put into it.

  • Robert Peters
    Robert Peters Year ago +1

    Ok...I'm NOT a film guy. I'm not even particularly sophisticated in my movie watching (it tends to be background noise for me) but In the last year I discovered Folding Ideas and Lindsay Ellis....and then found them in a video ...together. SQUEEEE. Please do more :-)

  • Fred Glander
    Fred Glander Year ago +1

    What is this, a crossover episode?

  • Paulius Valinskas
    Paulius Valinskas Year ago +1

    DIT is Digital Imaging Technician.

  • christopher hisey
    christopher hisey Year ago +1

    This is a really informative video, thanks.

  • John Spencer Post

    So if I have a B.A. in Film Production does that basically mean I have a B.A. in nothing? Existential crisis coming in.

  • MM 1992
    MM 1992 Year ago +1

    I'm doing a BA(Hons) in film and television (with a few culture and media modules) in England. It is ABSOLUTELY theoretical and research-based, It's mostly about writing and assignments and there is no practical work at all. I feel like dropping out in my second year and doing some 6-month professional course later. Should I drop out and save my 2-year tuition fees and go for short courses in the US?

  • Cathy Finn-Derecki
    Cathy Finn-Derecki Year ago +1

    Oh my god this is insufferably white privilege garbage. The condescension is just dripping from the screen. There is some good information here, but, as filmmakers, perhaps you could have edited out the self-serving parts that make getting to that information just painful.

  • James Hedin
    James Hedin Year ago +1

    wooo SAIT

  • Zoch Buppet
    Zoch Buppet Year ago

    NYU film School is FILM SCHOOL. A 2 year Community College program is not in television, media related stuff or film is not "Film School".
    This guy HAS NO CLUE what he's talking about when it comes to real film education programs!!! No one in the rest of Canada knows what SAIT is much less if it has a film production courses.
    Very few schools in Canada classify as what we use to call "film School". The only BIG one I really think of is Ryerson University, and maybe York university now. Ryerson was/is definitely a "film school" in the american UNIVERSITY sense of the word, like NYU, just not the prestige.
    Film Schools in Canada
    1. Ryerson University (used to be a polytechnic university, which meshes well with PRODUCTION
    2.York University
    Concordia University as part of the Fin Arts Department has a film program.
    Not University of Toronto. All they have is Film Criticism and Writing, almost none or no production work at all.
    On another note. The people who I REALLY ENVY are the people who dropped out of my 4 year program (which wasn't a full "film" program because it included other media...thank god) by 2nd year. So I never ever say I went to "Film School".
    Do not attend a 4 year film/ media /communication / or any other kind of media and visuals arts program if you are looking for a job in the industry as a end goal....unless it has DESIGN in the name. (Interior design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Environmental Design) BECAUSE you wont be able of find a job.
    INSTEAD GO TO A COMMUNITY COLLEGE for a 2 YEAR PROGRAM, if you are in the United States or Canada.
    MOST University graduates dont find jobs in film, and they quickly move into other areas, or related side areas.
    All most of the film programs at the University level do is set people up to write essays and go to graduate school, even the 4 year schools that have good film craft courses and workshops built in.
    People in community colleges get jobs, People from 4 year degree programs do not. I know this from experience, AND THIS IS NOT JUST IN FILM AND MEDIA, .....IN MANY OTHER SUBJECT AREAS, WHY? more practical and hands.
    Also, so much cheap ONLINE courses available now. ALSO cheap camera and editing software. Totally different from when I went to school.
    AND FOR GODS SAKE DO NOT THROW AWAY MONEY, AT A MASTERS PROGRAM IN FILM, unless you are rich or plan on being an Academic/ Professor, or unless the program is extremely specialized and is in LA, like the ones she mentioned

  • Mathy Don
    Mathy Don Year ago


  • Drewwy
    Drewwy Year ago

    Fuck I'm gonna study film production for undergraduate shiiiiit

  • niryaad oblum
    niryaad oblum Year ago

    I love her character