My mom supports me leaving UBC - I'd expected her to strongly encourage me to finish here first, but she didn't even suggest it, other than to say a degree might be important as I make my way into various fields. (I love my mom - she also said things like "As usual, you have a real good sense of how to pay attention to important things" " I know it feels weighty, but I think you need to follow your gut feeling." and "I'm happy you're getting to know yourself with enough confidence to make decisions that are not automatic." - which has indeed been tough). She suggested I take a year off and work in San Fran and take that time to make sure that SFSDF is the best place for me compared to anywhere else, and in the meantime see what work I can get on local productions. This is a good suggestion, though I don't know if I'd need the entire year.
I called SFSDF and asked when the admissions deadline is for the fall and she said something about "at least a day or two before classes start". I reworded my question because I couldn't believe the application process didnt take longer than that, and she said oh yeah, she was thinking of enrollment, and I should actually apply as soon as possible. I asked if she thought it'd be okay if I applied in June and she said that would definitely be fine.
So my plan as of now is this: The rest of my time in Vancouver will be spent researching as much as I can about SFSDF and other possible schools to make sure, like I said, that that's the best place. When I get to SF, take a tour of the place and work on my application letter, send it in June/July and start in September.
I say I'm going to continue looking at other schools, but I'm almost positive SFSDF is where I'll be. It seems to combine the hands-on, real world experience that you'd get by actually trying to find a job right away, with the instruction and tutelage that you get from a school. I can't see how someone else could do it better, but I'll keep my eyes open just in case.
I've been looking at message boards with advice from the pros and see a lot of this kinda thing:
"It may help to go to a film school, mainly to meet people who may hook you up with contacts and jobs after graduation, but whether it helps enough to be worth the investment in time and money is questionable."
"I went to Film School, but I'm not sure that I learnt anything there that I couldn't have learnt on set, or for myself."
"It's not for everybody but it's a good start for a lot of people. At the very least, you'll be meeting likeminded people you may work with someday."
As well as:
"I think school can accelerate many things that would otherwise take longer on your own."
Which encourages me not to feel compelled to need to go to somewhere incredibly prestigious like the American Film Institute or UCLA. SFSDF's site says:
"The three most important elements for any aspiring filmmaker are the following: a demo reel of their work, credit on a film, and contacts within the industry. Successful graduates of our Digital Filmmaking Program will possess all three of these valuable commodities"
...which are indeed the three things I need right now.
With all those in mind, that leads me to SFSDF. It's just one year, and will get me right into the professional industry. It almost seems too good to be true, but I'm hoping that old saying ("then it probably is") isn't right this time. It seems like I'm just taking the easy road, but I think it's more that I'm taking the best road. I just need do to this. I have known, my whole life, that this is for me, but my problem has been how to get there, and this looks like the solution.