"Film school?! What a waste! Shoulda just made your own film--costs the same and you'd learn more!"
Well, if you could borrow federal financial aid to make a movie, that might be true, but for me and most of my classmates "just doin' it" was never an option. And actually runaway amateur productions can cost a lot more than a good film school, especially considering projects that fail to get proper insurance and lock up in litigation for property damage or on-set injuries. And unless you're already stacked with industry connections, going it alone doesn't give you any particular access to the experience, advice and equipment film schools offer. But on every set I've worked on, there was always at least one meanie eager to knock me down for believing in myself enough to take the leap and the monumental debt of film school.
It's not easy to work without sleep for "copy and credit" (and craft service meals, though they can sometimes be more threat than incentive), harder yet with people lining up to rub it in. But every new business tends to lose money in its fledgling years, right? So really, my 25 year mortgage with no home to show for it is a mark of professionalism. A colorful aside for my 15-year "overnight success" story.
Boy, I'm looking forward to telling that in total!