• Expand Digital Academy

Why Film Training Matters

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Breaking into your local film industry is no easy task. Many successful filmmakers will tell you that starting at the very bottom and working your way to the top is what it’s all about. No matter what film school you attend and graduate from, a production company will never hire you in a senior role if you’ve never earned that seniority on a professional set.

We recently spoke with a successful filmmaker, Katherine de Klerk who graduated from a well-known film school in South Africa. Despite her degree, she had to start at the bottom.

Katherine offered up some great advice about starting at the bottom.


Basic film set training is crucially important if you want the opportunity to work in the film industry. Why? Because a film set is bursting with rules and regulations and if you don’t know these rules, you will make huge mistakes that will end up costing the production company a lot of money (and cause you to be fired on the spot!) You don’t need to get a film degree to work on a film set, as Katherine rightfully mentions in her podcast interview. But you do need to know what’s what.

We highly recommend some practical film training with a reputable college offering short courses. In a Covid-19 world attending live courses is not always possible. Doing an online course is the next best thing.

Understanding how a film set works and how the hierarchy is set up will give you a “bird’s eye” view of the film industry landscape. This will help you to see the bigger picture and decide which department you can focus on as a beginner. Without this valuable knowledge you are a bit blind going in, and can therefore not really gauge where you need to be.

A good film course will offer you the following basics:

A good explanation of the film industry landscape

All the various jobs you can do in the film industry and what kind of income to expect

Film Set Protocol

How to apply for a job in the industry

What to expect as a beginner

Learning how to shoot and edit a film is great, but all you will be equipped with is the basic knowledge of how to shoot something. And that alone isn’t very helpful when you are actually wanting to work and make a living in the film industry. Sure, you could shoot weddings and funerals for a living, or make some short film projects for fun with your friends, but

that might not be what you are looking for. What you ideally want is to learn how to shoot and edit PLUS how to find work in the industry so you can actually become a professional filmmaker.

A word of caution: there are tons of fly-by-night film schools out there promising you the earth. Ask them what their claim-to-fame is. Have any of their graduates won awards? Or become successful filmmakers? How long have the trainers been in the industry? Have they actually worked on any professional film sets themselves? Do your homework and check them out properly before you hand over your hard-earned cash.

We hope this information helped you.

Check out our film-related online courses, compiled by award-winning professional filmmakers:


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