Every year, MovieMaker asks a range of successful indie filmmakers to reflect on their time in and after film school for our Summer issue. We’re featuring some of our favorites from this year’s participants on moviemaker.com.
This summer we dove deep into the biggest decision each film student has to make: Which school should you go to? We asked a few working moviemakers and alumni to make the case for their alma maters. This week, Kyle Mooney (USC School of Cinematic Arts, Critical Studies program) shares his experience. Brigsby Bear, the comedy writer and actor’s first feature (with director Dave McCary) opened in theaters on July 28.
1. What did you like most about your program?
Kyle Mooney (KM): Our division was focused on theory, criticism and general film studies, so it was less about making movies and more about watching a ton of them, and writing about them. I was exposed to different types of films and filmmakers that I wouldn’t have had a chance to learn about, and that helped shape my taste and sensibility. The kids in the Production track always seemed super busy and stressed, but I had a little more free time, and used that time to get into comedy stuff on campus.
2. What should aspiring filmmakers consider when picking a school?
KM: Any school has the potential of being great, as long as you do the work and can meet likeminded people. The coolest stuff I did was with friends outside of class. That’s where most of the learning took place. Being close to Los Angeles was a good thing too. It made the transition to working in the industry easier.
3. What is the best advice you wish someone had given you when you were a film student?
KM: Don’t skip the screenings in the lecture hall just because the movies are on DVD, and try not to fall asleep. One day you’re gonna regret not seeing all of those movies on the big screen, and you’re just gonna have to rewatch Rules of the Game again in 10 years because you were snoozing the whole time. MM
Brigsby Bear opened in theaters July 28, 2017, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.