Can we talk a little about money?

Finances are an incredibly personal and private thing. I would feel uncomfortable sharing private financial information or planning on a message board. Perhaps this is why financial conversation on a messageboard are usually superficial.
Well, anyone who is posting on these boards with their actual name is not thinking about how even seemingly mundane posts might impact their admission. I was going to say something before in warning, but I'm trying to refrain from adding too much, even if anonymously.

Jake Maturen

New Member
I've been thinking about film school for a really long time. My parents were in the military and I traveled all over the world with them, moving on an average of 3 years. I've been enveloped into so many different cultures, and picked up various life viewpoints along the way. I knew someday I would end up telling their stories to countless of people. I graduated highschool in 2004 and knew there was no realistic way I could afford a college degree. My parents saved up for me to go to school, but due to the skyrocketing costs of college classes, they seriously miscalculated how much to invest when they started the trust fund. I would have had only enough to go to a decent university for about 10 months. That's not bad, but it's definitely not enough. Screw working the midnight shift at a gas station because I need to pay back loans.

So I joined the Air Force and survived 4 years. While in, I took advantage of college classes, CLEP tests, and DANTE's tests as they are completely free to those on active duty. I completed my associates and earned a CCAF degree 2 months before I separated in 2009.

Now out of the military and armed with the GI Bill, I went to one of my state's best universities, Grand Valley State University, and earned my BS in Film and Video Documentary. Unfortunately, almost none of my CCAF credits transferred so I had to start with less than 30 credits to my name. No big deal as the GI Bill covers everything. I graduated from GVSU in 14', moved south to Florida to escape the snow, applied to FSU, and was accepted to their MFA production program.

If you're unfamiliar of the benefits of the GI Bill, it covers the costs of everything (I mean EVERYTHING) and gives you a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). If you're smart with that money you rack up roommates so you can save on living expenses and pocket the rest. However, it only lasts for 36 months (counted by days of attendance).

I only have a year left on my GI Bill and 2 years of school to go. I'm hoping that my with my savings account, filming small business/corporate jobs during school, and earning a small scholarship or two, I can graduate with zero debt. My life up to this point has been incredibly variant and has taken forever to get to a spot in my career and professional life most are at when they are 24. But, I have played my cards right and can walk out of this school with absolutely zero pressure to pay anything back. It's nice.

Long story short: do 4 years in the military so you can enjoy the rest of your life.
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Sadly I am an international student and being a part of the military in my country does not get you the same kind of benefits :(

Jake Maturen

New Member
You can still join the U.S. Military for 4 years and gain the same benefits without giving up your citizenship. Not that I recommend anyone go down this route, just saying it is an available option.


Active Member
This thread is great. It doesn't give a ton of specific details. I suppose maybe that's because most of us don't know. I think it's near impossible to know what job you'll be able to get leaving film school and, for me, is hard to "count" on getting any job that pays more than 30k a year which makes loan payments pretty difficult. The military post gives some good practical advice but more for undergrad.

I really enjoyed reading the ROI article @Chris W shared and am going to look up the books he recommended - just wondering is there one of the three that you think is more relevant today?

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