Directors Who Didn't Go To Film School

Just a snippet I found on David Fincher and other big-shot directors not attending film school. I guess since the intro to the article reads it's about directors, who "didn't spend a single day in film school", they couldn't include another one of my favorites: P. T. Anderson, who dropped out after only a few days.

Check out the list just for fun, while we wait for Fincher to return from his six month post-Benjamin Button narcolepsy.

Make use of the comments section to drop a few other big name directors you can think of, who never went to film school. My gut tells me Christopher Nolan never studied film, didn't he study English Literature?!

Looking forward to your input!
Here's the link:

http://www.agardfilm.com/top%205%20page%202.html

21 comments:

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong... Stanley Kubrick never went to film school either. Tarantino also comes to my mind.

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  2. steven soderbergh, wong kar-wai, roger avary, sam raimi, david mamet, spike jonze, richard linklater, robert rodriguez, frank darabont, j. p. jeunet, aki kaurismaki, todd haynes, harmony korine (one semester)

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  3. Nope, one semester is too much! ;-)

    Great input, George! An amazing list of names to further make the point.

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  4. What's the point to make then? Everyone gains experience his/her way, doesn't matter if they went to film school or not. David Fincher thought about going to UCLA, but didn't go BECAUSE they cost too much and keep the rights to your movies. If he hadn't had a friend at ILM who got him the job, he probably would have gone to another film school. Also, Ridley Scott went to an art school/advertising school where they also taught the medium film. But if you don't want to call that film school, that's your thing. Great directors who went to film school: Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Marc Forster, Zack Snyder, Tarsem Singh, Gore Verbinski (all friends with Fincher), Spike Lee...

    I don't know what the fuck the argument is about.

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  5. wasn't there a great story regarding P.T. Anderson and his loathsome film school experience? where they're like "if you want to make terminator films, you're in the wrong place." LOL

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  6. yeap, sometimes it's the "wrong place" -- alejandro amenabar failed his final exams (screenwriting class) so, technically speaking, he never graduated. not that it makes any difference.

    [anonymous: there's no argument, it's just honest gossip. the school-graduated directors' list is not astronomically impressive, it's simply the whole rest of the bunch]

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  7. i also didn't go to film school.

    maybe when i'm 44, hopefully someone will say something about my background staging plays.

    ; )

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  8. It must be nauseating to be in film school with a bunch of self-important elitist douche-bags who look down on any film that's popular, entertaining, or financially successful. Good luck trying to garner any career traction with your experimental black and white short films that ape the styles of David Lynch and Luis Bunuel with ham-fisted metaphorical heavy-handedness.

    On movie message boards, I immediately stop reading a post by somebody who qualifies their opinion on something with "as a film student...", because these people think interjecting this brings foolproof credibility to whatever they're about to say. "As a film student, I just couldn't countenance the commentary on the human condition that hack wanna-be auteur David Fincher infused in Benjamin Button, which as a film student I can astutely say was a carbon copy ripoff of Forrest Gump - another would-be opus for hayseed blue-state philistines that also bore none of the redeeming artistic value that I hold near and dear to my film student heart"...yech, get overyourself and your stupid matriculation.

    Since this is a field that's virtually impossible to break into, you really should be more concerned with hitting the books and developing your craft instead of boasting on stupid message boards about how your opinions are more valid than everyone else's because you didn't have the industry connections to get in the business without blowing thousands of your parnets' money on a degree that will almost certainly prove to be useless for you.

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  9. oooooooh... black beret has a lot of tense feelings against the stereotypical film student... i wonder why...

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  10. alejandor gonzalez inarritu took film classes, guy ritchie did, so did alfonso cuaron.

    black beret comes off like a jerk.

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  11. DAMN REJECTS!

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  12. If anyone still doesn't know what the term "perseverance" regarding a career as a film director means, here are good examples for that.

    It's assholes like Black Beret telling you you can't do it and you're doing it wrong, and film school won't get you anywhere, and that you're wrong about everything anyway.

    Don't listen to trolls like him. If you're determined to tell your story and film school helps you to learn about your craft, you're gonna succeed. But here's where perseverance comes in. Not listening to jerks like Black Beret and being patient, not giving up if success doesn't come to you right away and people, like Black Beret (I love repeating that useless tit's fake name) telling you you can't do it.

    Guess what, Fincher was repeatedly told he didn't have what it takes (source: DARK EYE book), and that coming from commercials and MTV music videos (you can take that as a metaphor for film school, and Fincher has repeatedly referred to it as his film school as well) won't get him to making films. Se7en was called "just an MTV movie". When Fincher grew up, no one believed he could cross over from being a Production Assistant at ILM (a job that has often been glorified), to directing commercials, to directing films.

    In conclusion: don't listen to assholes like Black Beret and go your own way.

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  13. Maybe mommy and daddy didn't allow black beret to go to film school... :( or he didn't have the money. i guess he's happily typing away in an office cubicle on spread sheets for quarterly balances now.

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  14. As a film student I take deep personal offense to Black Beret's post.

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  15. Important Cinematic ArtistMay 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    As a film student, I know upon graduating that a major motion picture studio will hand me sixty million dollars and complete creative control to direct over the course of eighteen painstaking months a masterpiece that will reinvent the wheel of high art.

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  16. I'm not trolling, I'm stating the obvious. Most film students are snobbish twats who've been coddled into thinking they're entitled to a directorial career in film as some sort of birthright. They think because they put up some cell phone videos on their youtube page they have what it takes to command a film set. They think they have profound artistic sensibilities because they have a cursory knowledge of obscure foreign cinema.

    Consider the enrollment statistics compared to how many of them actually go on to carve out a living behind the lens...the overwhelming majority doesn't make it. I'm not saying don't chase your dream, I'm just saying have a backup plan, like a minor in business perhaps, for when your dream never materializes.

    What separates the masters from the washouts is assertiveness, pragmatism, communicational explicitness, and tangible vision. You either excel in these areas or you don't. A lot of the mentioned big names in filmmaking who either did or didn't enroll are real salt of the earth types with blue collar backgrounds, unlike the new wave of too-cool-for-the-room internet hipsters with silver spoons up their asses who have an expectation of the career being handed to them instead of actually earning it.

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  17. Don't feed the trolls!

    Christopher Nolan indeed studied English literature, but also participated in the University's film society.

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  18. I think Black Beret wasn't breastfed as a child.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. Film student here too. Though not the practical side.. maybe not yet. Respect to BB for the smoothe language. And yeh everyone has their own path

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  21. David Fincher DID go to film school, although it was just a summer camp in Berkley where pulled cable for other film students. It was there that he met a guy who helped him get a job at ILM. Source: Dark Eye - The films of David Fincher. I mean, since we're talking not a SINGLE DAY in film school, we gotta be honest and make the cut.

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