What Am I Doing at Film School?: A Rant in Three Parts

By Benny Fogg

Part One: the Beginning

Why? Why did they tell me to come here? Who was it advised me to submit myself to this? Happily to allow my nascent genius to be squeezed from me like the cheap, vaguely sandy hotel toothpaste that comes in very small tubes. But I will not be constrained. I will struggle. I will brawl. I will defy them; and then, when they understand me, I will tell them about my secret dreams (in which I find that I have been transformed into Jean-Luc Godard and I am eating croissants and practising archery with Geena Davis in Place Pigalle.) Film School will be over soon.

Part Two: the Middle

How blind I was. How foolish to resist. There is more to learn. Yes! I believe in cinema. I believe a film can change lives; change the course of history; change me. Film school will set me free. I understand now that everything up to this point has been a horrible cliché. An ugly mess of anecdotal narcissism. I see that there was no drama. Why does he want the croissant? What prevents him from eating it? Why Geena Davis (for she is no longer a bankable star)? I will strive. I will practise. I swear I will shoot coverage and I will emerge a golden glorious film school oddity. Like Scorsese, but with smaller eyebrows.

Part Three: the End

Everything is up ahead. I am sixteen again. The real world is much bigger than I remember, but I am not afraid. I use the words ‘mise-en-scene’ and I have talented partners. Collaboration means you are not solely to blame; it’s a form of absolution. Perhaps we will win at Cannes and Jean-Luc will invite me out for coffee on a yacht. I doubt he likes archery.

Film school will change you. I learned things, I forgot others. I was a rebel and a stooge and now I’m neither. Was it good for me? It was interesting I think.