You may be considering a career as a film editor and wondering if you should go to college and get a film editing degree. Editing is a technical and creative one; while having a keen eye for the right footage to tell the story of the director, you need to posses the patience to weed through hours of unusable footage.

Do film editors need a degree?

In short, you don’t need a degree to become a film editor. In fact, many colleges and trade schools have excellent editing courses. But when you are actually a film editor, you get more than what a college program can offer you.

Editors, who are considered ‘A’ team in this industry, have many years of work experience and industry contacts. They are the ones who have proves what they can do. Being connected with the industry has gotten them farther than to their college degree.

From the point of view of the film industry, the degree of film editing has no great meaning. This degree doesn’t reveal how good you’re at your job, how well you can work with a director, or whether your work is financially valuable.

This is why film degrees in this industry are virtually meaningless. You need to stay connected to this environment, and gain people’s trust as a film editor. No film school can do these things for you.

So what would the alternative be?

Many film professionals say that learning from the inside of the film industry is the best way. To get your foot in the door of a real film production company. They think this is a good way for you to grow further. Many people do this through internships, but interns don’t get the attention they need to grow into a real job. So the best way to do this is to switch to external.

The best way to learn more and more about your skills is to go under a working good film editor, doing so helps you learn the technical and creative skills you need – this is where learning in the ‘real world’ enables you to make all the important industry connections.

If you don’t know the way to land an externship yourself, the best way to do it is to mentor – that is, enroll in a film school that uses an external approach.

The main point of this is that although you definitely need an education, a film editing degree alone will not help you get where you want to go. Apprenticeship can be a great alternative.

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