After studying visual effects at AFDA in Johannesburg, I worked my way up in a post production house called Video Lab as a Visual Effects Artist. As far as studying a field as unorthodox as film making, I had to do some heavy research on many tertiary institutions not only on the standard of their qualifications but also on the product being created by its students. At this point in the industry, it’s all about what you’ve done and not about the abbreviations after your name.
Your show reel and your reputation are what counts. I strove to find the balance between studying film theory and actual hands on experience. It’s been a long and strenuous journey but when something is truly your passion, all you feel are the upsides. The best tools to survive in the industry, even more so than others, are persistence and enthusiasm.
Job hunting is also immensely different than in other fields of work as nobody ever puts an ad in the classifieds, asking for a director, a cinematographer or editor. It’s really all about keeping well informed in the industry, making friends with all the right people and consistently producing top quality products.
For help on what is available in terms of film study, bursaries, funding and current issues regarding the film industry, I went to the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). They were extremely helpful in recommending top notch institutions as well as provided me with a bursary to study.
National Film and Video Foundation SA: http://www.nfvf.co.za