5 Ways to Make and Save Money in Film School

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

If you want to be a filmmaker, then going to film school can be the easiest way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the field. Unfortunately, education is becoming more and more expensive every year, and many film students struggle to pay back large student loans once they’ve graduated. With that said, determination and willpower can go a long way.

You can find ways to achieve your dream of advanced education in filmmaking. It just takes discipline, persistence, planning and maybe a little bit of creativity. Not sure how you’re going to make ends meet while learning to make films? Use these tips to save money while in school so you can reduce the debt you’ll have to pay back later.

Method One: Take on More Responsibility

Getting through film school is only the first challenge. Once you graduate, you’ll need to show employers why you’re more qualified than all the other new graduates out there. Leadership skills are becoming increasingly important in many positions and it’s not easy to develop these qualities unless you make an effort to do so. Not convinced that taking on more responsibility than the bare minimum is necessary? Just know that 61% of employers feel that the skills they need from employees have evolved—and will continue to evolve.

One great way to take on more responsibility and develop workplace skills in school is to take on a part-time job. While it can be difficult to add on even more stress while attending school, that work experience will help you save money and prepare for the future.

Method Two: Apply for Scholarships

You might not realize it, but there are tons of super-specialized scholarships out there for film students, female students, and lots of other categories. It can be a lot of work to apply for scholarships, but the fact is that they can be a great way to save money in school because they don’t need to be paid back. It’s worth applying for just about any scholarship you’re eligible for! Do your research and explore any possible scholarships that could help you pay for film school.

Method Three: Leverage Financial Tools

Although it’s not a good idea to put your money into the stock market while you’re in school, there are still ways to get your money to work for you while you’re on your educational journey. Use financial tools like a high-interest savings account that will add a little bit to your account every month. Many banks and financial institutions also offer student rates and special student accounts that can help you save.

Method Four: Choose Your Housing Wisely

Although you might have only considered moving into on-campus housing, it’s important to understand that there are alternatives to the dorms that are often (but not always) much cheaper. Exploring off-campus apartments or even living at home with your parents if they live close to your university might be your best options.

Besides saving money on the basic cost of the dorms, off-campus housing might allow you to have your own room and save on food and other expenses. Dining hall plans are usually very expensive and not usually the best option for your health. Renting an apartment or house means you’ll have a full kitchen and more privacy. Don’t worry—you can still be part of the social life on campus!

Method Five: Stay on Top of Your Finances

When you’re anxious about your finances, like when you’re focusing on your education, it can be easy to just ignore your bank account as much as you can, as counterintuitive as that seems. However, it’s extremely important to stay on top of your finances and manage your money wisely.

According to one recent survey, most college students aren’t saving or properly planning for the future, with 58% not saving money each month. Since many students are already borrowing money for school, it can be all too easy to rely on credit cards with the idea that you’ll pay it off when you have a job. Don’t fall into this trap—you don’t want to graduate with any more debt than you absolutely have to.

Graduate with Confidence

Saving money while going to film school can pay off immensely in the long run. You might have to make some small sacrifices, but ultimately, keeping your debt load as low as possible is one of the smartest things you can do. There’s less stress and less pressure so you can focus on what’s important—becoming a filmmaker!

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About the Author

Ryan Ayers
Ryan Ayers
Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of Fortune 500 companies within multiple industries including information technology and big data. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers also began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a keen focus on data collection and analysis.

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