My Advice For College Students

So you want to be a recording engineer/live sound engineer/filmmaker/screenwriter, and you’re going to college to figure out what you want to do. The typical questions you ask someone like me are:

“How did you get started?” “What classes did you take?” “How much does a degree matter?” “What advice to you have for me?”

Well, I’ll answer the last two. At risk of starting a debate, my opinion is that a degree does not matter in these industries. What you DO matters infinitely more than a piece of paper. The degree only symbolizes that you got a 2.0 average or greater after 4+ years of attending some percentage of x number of classes, and I don’t know how many of those classes related to the industry you’re trying to start a career in and how many were social dance classes to meet girls. So, what you DO matters more. This is my answer to the last question. My advice can be summed up in one phrase:

Whatever you want to do when you graduate, do it now. Do it as soon and as frequently as possible.

If you want to be a screenwriter, you will benefit more by taking a month to write a short story than you will spending $800 and 3 months of your time on a college course. Why? Because you will fail. Miserably. If you want to be a filmmaker, you will benefit more by making a short film than taking 3 months to learn about film, again, because you will fail. Miserably. But you will also learn. Just as quickly as you make a mistake – your characters are boring, your film is overexposed, your recording is too quiet – you can learn how to fix it. Watch a video, ask a mentor, do it again. Do it better. Then repeat this processĀ as much and as quickly as you possibly can. This, in my opinion, is the fastest way to learn and grow. School teaches you a lot – how to get along with other people, how to meet deadlines, how to budget your time. It won’t teach you how to DO what you want to DO in these fields as well as JUST DOING IT will teach you.


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