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Industry Pros The Compass Approach

There was one day at the beginning of my program that I will never, ever forget. I came into the program thinking that I knew more than the average person about filming and working with high end equipment. I took it upon myself to set up some of the lights for a little project that we were doing. Stepping back from my work and appreciating how good it looks, Fessor walked up to me and pointed out that I had put up a couple of the pieces together backwards 🤦‍♂️.

That's one of the exciting aspects about film school - the equipment.  You finally get your hands on that camera or light you saw in a behind the scenes video or picture.  One problem, you’ve never used anything this powerful (or expensive) before. And that's why we're here.

How do you turn it on?  What’s the best framerate?  Is this the right light for the kind of scene I’m filming? 

All these questions hit your enthusiasm head on and can be overwhelming.  Fear not because the Compass approach will lead you into this world of wonderful creative toys.

The 60/40 approach

The 60/40 is unique to Compass.  We believe that students learn best by doing.  Plus no one wants to sit in a classroom all day and then not run out to experiment with the gear they just learned about.  That is why we use this hands-on approach.

  • 60%: This time is spent in the classroom learning the skills and theories needed to be a successful film and media professional.
  • 40%: This is lab time where you actually work with the equipment, sets, and scenarios to build those skills and theories into the way you work.

the 40 % breakdown

The 40% is a crucial component into forging you into a skilled storyteller.

  1. 1000 Hours: No that’s not a typo.  From the moment you start classes we are getting you on set in labs and shoots to take the theory you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it.  At the end of your senior year you will have over 1000 hours experience working on sets.  This builds a confidence to walk onto any kind of set and stand out.
  2. Try Positions: With so many on set opportunities we encourage our students to try different positions.  The role you enter school wanting may not be the one you fall in love with doing.  Having options and mastering new skills makes you a more rounded filmmaker.
  3. Specialize: Come your junior year you naturally start to specialize in a few positions.  Our classes and on set projects narrow the focus to help you master these positions to prepare you to pursue a career in that field.
  4. Work Ethic: Talk to any industry professional and they’ll tell you they notice work ethic.  Who’s early?  Who stays late?  Who goes above and beyond what’s asked of them?  Your time on set is not only good for trying new positions, but also practicing how you carry yourself on a set.  Figure out what kind of attitude you’re going to have, and how to do little extra things that get you noticed,

The Right Balance

This approach gives students who fully apply themselves the skills, experience, and knowledge to be an impactful crew member on any kind of set and stand out.  Compass believes our approach balances the classroom learning with real hands on experience that makes you a multi skilled storyteller with the drive to succeed.  If you want to give yourself the best chance at a career in film and media arts, then we are the place for you.

Pros in Video

  • Eric Johnson and Eric Machiela: Owners, GORILLA
  • David Weiss: Writer, Shrek 2, Smurfs
  • Korey Pollard: 1st Assistant Director, The Orville, 9-1-1, Nashville
  • Rik Schwartzwelder: Director/Writer, Old Fashioned
  • Mark Clayman: Producer, The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Ralph Winter: Producer, X-Men Trilogy, Fantastic Four 1 & 2, Adrift
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