freelance education

Informal Education vs Traditional Education for Creatives

Credit for featured image goes to  Zach Roszczewski

(Disclaimer: I did two years of schooling in a design related field, before I quit the formal education route and ventured out on my own. Hopefully this is a fair representation of both sides.)

There’s no actual way of knowing for sure whether a formal education is the right path of education for you to pursue. If you do better under constant coaching, enjoy being guided into doing certain projects, and have the money, a formal education might be one to look into. You will learn different aspects of your craft then you would have on your own. You will have a built-in network upon graduation, people to fall back on, and the benefits that being an alumni gives (one person I work with from time to time has a verifiable farm of interns working for him because he maintains an active relationship with the school he graduated from). You will quite possibly also be saddled with student loans for a degree that may get you laughed out of other collegiate circles. The flip side of not pursuing formal education, is what I’m going to go into after the jump.

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Jack of All Trades, Master of None

(Credit for featured image:

I’ve noticed this in most creative industries I’ve been able to poke my head into. The graphic designers are feeling it, and have been for longer than the filmmakers have. Print work is shifting into web work, and suddenly CMYK just isn’t enough. With the democratization of technology comes the the division of labor, which in this case has a trickle down effect in the creative industry. With it also comes a feeling of empowerment, inherent in the awesome knowledge that we have access to amazing tools to create with, which would have been astronomically expensive or simply didn’t exist in most cases just a decade ago. As a result, there has been a shake-up in the industry. Distribution channels are being rethought as new ones appear overnight, and all the while the amount of content being created is increasing almost at the speed it’s being consumed. A viral video is dead within the month, an infograph within a few days, and all of a sudden “everyone knows Photoshop.”

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Stop Buying Cameras, Rent Your Gear

Do you remember the last camera announced at NAB? Hint, it’s from another company that’s never made a camera before. The camera that’s resonated with people the most has been the AJA CION (pictured above). It embraces a lot of things people have been clamoring for, the most apparent being the body shape (finally a camera that looks like a camera!). And it will be released, probably with at least a few hurdles in the production line, and it will face even more as they beta test their product with the general public. Ok, maybe that’s a bit cynical, but after some negative experiences with their Ki Pro line, I’m probably not too far off.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t use that camera, or even the Blackmagic URSA (picture after the jump).  You should absolutely learn how to use it to the best of your ability, and your knowledge in the use of that camera should be used to promote your work and yourself going forward. But you don’t have to buy it. You don’t have to shell out 10 or 15 thousand dollars to be their beta tester, you don’t need it. There are of course a few exceptions, and we will cover those first before we move forward to explain why you should sell most of your gear and just rent everything else when you need it.

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