The problem isn't' you. Yes, you do have a problem, but for a person that needs a system such as a school, you're not totally at fault. Yes, you should be responsible for what you can control and that's what I'm going to discuss. Being in art school is hard in itself, because your parents and peers aren't going to fully understand why art is important to you. The art community can easily be exploited and taken for granted. I can't think of how many times I have had conversations that go something like this " Gardner you do know that you're not going to make money making art? so why go to art school ?" then I tell them " it's so funny you say that because the magazines, movies, comic books, clothes, video games, books, interior design, photography that surrounds you is something you pay for! "An artist makes this!" For some reason, It's so hard for people to conceptualize that. People beg for photographers, painters, and videographers, but hesitate to pay us then tell us we will be the struggling ones. Interesting. Don't get me started on the thousands of unpaid internships only aimed for students that can afford to not get paid, but don't worry your experience is going to directly pay for your student loans just keep trying to convince your parents that it's going to work out. It's been working for me, it's like student loan deferment with no money involved and more talking. It's called lying.
You are an art student attending college. I'm not surprised all of the thousands of dollars are going feel you might as well put them a shredder. You could. I mean, you'll be doing yourself a favor. What most schools fail to do is give students more than what's presented to them. College is a business. Most businesses will appeal to the status quo. Appealing to the white majority of classist students from the suburbs that won't shut the fuck up about Stanley Kubrick and how they can afford to use Adobe premiere pro. Just kidding, but most classes are pretty cool in its variants so theres so much to learn. I just wish Hollywood wasn't shoved in my face all the fucking time. I don't care for it and to be honest streaming platforms are killing game right now. Just saying.
Yes, I'will address film school and if you're not a film student this still pertains to you.
In your mind, you will think about appealing to the present circumstances of the film industry. It's not like there aren't jobs in your field. It's that your school probably made you feel as though you need to go the traditional route like everyone else. So many students I know wan tot make it in big industry and thats fine, thats where the money is but not everyone wants to do that or can afford to. Seriously, nobody took the time to tell you there are so many positions that your skills could actually be of use too. It's not that you aren't skilled, it's that your school only gives you what it wants you to see or what it only knows. Nobody takes the time to address the many ways you can use your degree. Do you know how sad it is for a student that studies directing gets out of college and never goes to Hollywood? Or directs anything? Instead, your school probably is trying to suck up to the status quo. I'll leave that up to you to who the status quo is.
Art school by Matthew Monteith
Your teachers and staff probably asked you what's your favorite film? I tell them with a straight "I don't have one". They look at me like I'm sick and try to prescribe my black-ass some foreign film noir from 1932 or a white romantic comedy about capitalism that I don't care about or appreciate. That's right I said it. The hundreds of thousands of people trying to be the next Christopher Nolan never think about how they can use their film skills for art therapy, arts administration, being chairman of film festivals, raise awareness of cultural issues and social uproars, and for film/photojournalism and ect. Instead, most of our freshmen go the traditional route or should I say desire of "I want to be in Hollywood!" "I want to P.A for this big production company!" I'm not saying this isn't attainable, I'm not saying wanting to be part of a big production is bad, but what am saying is just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. Pay attention to your wallet and at least your parents' wallets and of course your classes.
I remember Freshmen year, most of all the classes pretty much teach you the same shit. It preps you about Hollywood filmmaking, set work, camera work, directing, writing, and a bunch of useless shit that doesn't even pertain to what is realistic for me. So, what did I do? I went to my advisor and she told me "what do you want to do? "I looked at her and I gave her the fakest look of confidence and said, "I don't know." She looked at me like I'm sick and gave me a lecture on how if I don't get my shit together I'll end up like the people she ignores on the street near your local 7-Eleven.
Such fun times. However, with all my seriousness I personally have nothing against people wanting to be part of the status quo. I just have an issue with the overall classist school system, and how it never addresses not all students can afford the luxury of positions brought to them. This thought process starts to take notice once they leave or when they currently attending school. Yes, a school should have diversity, but diversity comes with acknowledging different avenues economically. Now is this the school responsibility? Is the school responsible for letting students know what they can do with their degree? To an extent. We need to address the overall curriculum and the classes being brought to us and give students the agency to see past the brochures and what faculty talk about. Most people in the film department did film I mean of course....they worked on some sets... got fat... and teach go figure. There is so much you can do with your degree. Don't limit yourself. If you're a freshman in college my advice is this don't follow your friends and stop focusing on what is brought to you, yes, your passion is important but so is your wallet and if I were you I would definitely look into what you can do for your community instead of big industry. Please don't go chasing big places as soon as you leave. Yes, strive further but be realistic with yourself.