Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Confusion and Dejection Abound (Proceed With Caution)

So, I'm going to get around to breaking the news to all you people out there, but I didn't want to go and whine about this right away. These kinds of things deserve reflection and such. The bad news: I got rejected by McGill!

Of course, I was pretty damn shaken by this. I had had my heart set on doing graduate school work there in the fall, and thought I had a shot. Sure my grads weren't in the very highest percentile (they are still solid A/A- marks, except those pesky marks from back in Commerce that are dragging me down, but doesn't my consistant three-year trend into higher and higher grades mean anything?), but I thought I had a good package to offer them, including good references, a solid proposal for a graduate thesis, and of course, enthusiasm for the subject. I suppose that doesn't translate well in paper. I really don't know right now. My enthusiasm levels for graduate work anywhere have suddenly taken a huge plummet.

That's not to say graduate work is out of the question. Victoria got back to me and basically told me they now need my final grades for this year. So that's a possibility. I talked briefly with Cooley this morning, and he put in perspective that when you get your heart set on a couple options and they don't work out, sometimes it feels like you're being rejected by all of academia (bringing to mind my bitter mood last night when I chatted with some), but this isn't the case. It might just be that those places are really, really popular (which McGill is; over 200 applications a year for GS). Still, if they really wanted me, wouldn't they have picked me? Grrrr.

Oh, and McGill sent this rejection in an email. Classy. I would still like a letter to confirm this decision.

Anyway, the weirdly coincedental thing and the thing that has got me confused right now is that almost immediately after the McGill email was read, I got a call from the Vancouver Film School and the Admissions Advisor there wanted to talk to me about going their in the fall. I was a little bit surprised at first. I mean, I had handed in an application last spring, but I never really thought they took it seriously. He said that I had a good resume (being a university graduate with an honours degree doesn't hurt), and that he encouraged me to think about what I'm going to do now. Of course, he's a advisor for VFS, so he wants me to go their, but nonetheless, it got me thinking. He asked me if film was still where I wanted to be. And I said yes. And he said, ok, then you have to make the decision to either do it or not.

So, the question is: Do I want to be a filmmaker? Or do I want to be an academic? It's a hard question. The academic life looks nice. It's comfortable. It's familiar (remember, my dad is a prof, so it's a job I have a first hand look at). But film is still my passion. I still want to make movies. I get excited at the opportunity to have my projects come to life in a more professional environment. In a place where I don't have to worry about figuring out technical things, because it's being taught to me. That's the appeal of film school. On the other hand, my apprehension at film school is being enslaved to the studio system. I gravitate toward the maverick filmmakers (Rodriguez, Lucas) who don't have any limits on them. Those who I've talked to about this know what I mean.

Well, my dad comes home tonight at 11:30, and then we can sit down and have a long talk this weekend. I'm looking forward to the Easter break. A time for reflection on both personal and spiritual goals. Hopefully this year I can actually make it that.

16 Comments:

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Luke said...

From where i sit, this is what i think you should do. Film is your passion. You have the Knowledge,story telling ability, and right mind set. I wouldn't worry about being a slave to any studio system, your just going to school. You'll learn the systems and it's rules, and then see how you can use them to your advatage, and how you can deviate from them.

You can do no wrong by going their, it's only 10 months right? thats no time at all. The only hurt will be the pocket book. So you just gotta decide if you can take the financial hit or not.

would I go in your situation...yes! why am I not going now? Well I don't feel I have a good story telling ability yet or the perfectly tuned critaly thinking mind. Plus I'd like to stay at home for awhile and use the advatages that come from it.

it will be an awsome experience if you go,and it will be fun times here if you end up staying. Also Film will always be their, and some time in the near future i plan to go to the New York Film acadamy for one of their summer sessions, it would be great to have someone else to go with me. Best of luck in the with the decsision. Oh and don'r forget i want you to make with this film with me in the spring/summer, so do go away to quickly.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger cait said...

dude, I told you: sign from God. He's trying to force you out of the safe academic path that you intended to take and make you step out.

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Kevin Ziegler said...

my sister went through that program about 3 or 4 years ago, so if you got any specific questions you'd like answered I could ask her for you, get a bit of the insider's perspective.

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

School sucks!

Buy a guitar!

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

Comfortable....?.....COMFORTABLE...?????!!!....think about how you are describing your future (should you choose to pursue academia)....do you want to be comfortable...?...or are you going to demand something more from life than that?....(not saying you wont find passion in academia...but seriously if all it holds for you is comfort...think twice...which is i guess what you are doing so never mind)
okay im done now...

 
At 8:26 PM, Blogger cait said...

No! don't buy a guitar! Take up drums. Then you can join my band (though apparently, we have a lead on a drummer; but he's a professional, and it makes me nervous)

 
At 1:13 AM, Blogger i_rabies said...

yeah school does suck...start a hunting lodge...

 
At 1:53 AM, Blogger Johannes de Silentio said...

Do it man. It's what you want to do. You love movies and you want to be a part of them; this is your chance, and I'm not so sure Cailtlin's all that far off the mark, either. Also, I know a guy that went through 'a' film program in Vancouver. I could talk to him for you too. He's been entering films in the san fran festival and such, so he's been using his education. Good luck!

 
At 2:46 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Man, I think you DEFINATELY need to go into film...however, VFS is pretty dodgy...I've heard a lot of bad things...and SOO expensive for just 1 year. I really think its what you should do, I mean write a thesis...write a script and shoot a movie...what sounds better haha

Definitely consider though if the $32,000 (plus like living in Van etc) is worth it for what you come out with (a certificate not a degree).

But yeah I’m kinda in a mix, cause I want to see you do this!

 
At 2:47 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

You also got me nervous about my Ryerson application...I wanna get in so bad, I don't know what I’ll do if I get rejected!

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Anders said...

Yeah, I need to look at other film schools as well. Anton suggests USC.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

Here's my more serious comment:

Try the film stuff man. Do what you can, find out how you make it in the business, who you need to talk to, what shitty job you need to start with, whatever. You've had your comforts of home and you've got a degree, now go and take some risks, stir some shit up, you never know! You always got a loving family, a degree and a sharp mind to fall back on.

and Ryan: i certainly want you to get in buddy, but if you dont? you're in a rocking band mofo!

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger cait said...

Hmm . . . Swambo and I have been looking at the London Film School recently--there's a lot of good people who've come out of there (Iain Smith, Roger Pratt, Michael Mann), and the tuition is actually lower than a lot of American and Canadian schools. Just a thought.

 
At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

Hey, you don't know me. Well, I met you once last year, but you probably don't remember me. ANYWAY, I don't have any advice, but let me offer something a professor told me once when he was talking about U of T: "everyone who gets in deserves to be there, but not everyone who deserves to be there gets in." It's what helped me stay (mostly) sane while applying to grad school.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger s i s k a said...

I too will stick in my 2 cents...

Being one who always plays it safe, I encourage you to not do so. I'm on a path to hopefully do something more profound with my life. If film is what you love, then do it. If it doesn't work out, you'll have gained much knowledge to help you in the academic field.

And what is money anyways.

E-wok is right: buy a guitar. I just bought another one.

Take it easy all.

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Anders, I just discovered your blog! Sorry about McGill. And I don't know what to say about VFS. But if you ever do come to Vancouver, drop me a line!

 

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