We all know there are a huge number of film schools located all over the country. There are also several colleges all over that have a film making program or teach some of the courses that are necessary to any budding filmmaker. It is important to get the most experience in this field to be successful. Choosing the right school to provide the film student’s education is key to the success of that student. If you are interested in learning film making, you should spend some time looking at film schools and with a certain set of criteria in mind to find the best school for your career.
The first thing that you should look for in your film school is the faculty. Find out who the instructors are and their background. Most film schools put up information about their instructors on their websites. It would even be better if there is an instructor in the school that you have an interest in working with, you know their work and admire their work. Maybe you know their teaching technique and would like to work under them as a student. Whatever the reason there should be some mentor personality at the school that makes the school the ideal choice for you.
When you visit the school, look to see if the students seem happy. While this may seem like a trivial point it is actually very important. A creative atmosphere is full of enthusiastic happy people. You will thrive in an environment like this and the creativity will flow freely from you. This is most important in a creative field like film making. Films are products of creativity and nothing more. The idea for a film comes from the act of creating.
Check out the kind of equipment the school has at its disposal. This may not be something that you can check into easily, but it is a good question to ask when you are taking a tour of the school. You need to learn how to use the right film making equipment that you would probably be working with when you pursue your film making career.
Further to knowing what sort of equipment the school has, it is important that the school gives you a lot of hands on training. These opportunities at working with different types of gear for different aspects of film making will give you significant experience to help your film making abilities. The school should encourage the creative use of their equipment to all students. The staff should be well versed in how to implement alternatives in the event of an equipment failure. This can happen frequently on a film set and the film making student who learns these lessons is a valuable resource on any film.
Lastly, find out if the school teaches all aspects of film making. They should teach scripts, storylines, how to work with actors, filming, editing and effective use of time. These are all areas that are valuable in the film industry. A well-rounded student will have learned all of these areas of film making. Most of the time there will be a crew on the film to handle most of the areas of film making, but there will be times when these skills will come in handy.
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Question by firefly: Help with choosing film college or film school, any info?
Currently Senior in high school. I would like to major in filmmaking. Would a college be better than a film school? Could you suggest a few? Any info, tips, pros, cons, or personal advice you have would be appreciated.
Application deadlines are not that far off, and I don’t really have a list of schools I’m going to apply to.
I don’t know if it helps any, but I would like to direct music videos and write screenplays.
Answer by Amaretta
Think long and hard about film as a career. Much of the work is freelance — no health insurance, income can be erratic — so you’re always looking for the next job. Unless you’re very successful, it doesn’t pay particularly well. Most of the work is in NYC or L.A., so you have to be willing to relocate to one of two very expensive cities. The areas you are interested in are very creative ones, so you have to bring your own creativity to the process. They can’t teach you how to write a successful screenplay or direct a dynamic video because there is no magic formula for those things. Your ability to get work will depend on who you know and your connection with successful projects, so getting that first step in the door is really important. It’s helpful to go to a school that will help set up internships for you because that will help you make connections that might land you that first job.
Some schools to look at that have film programs — USC, UCLA, Northwestern, NYU, Ohio University, Wright State U. (Ohio), Central Florida U., and Ithaca College. There are several additional programs in California — I think Cal State Long Beach has one and there’s one in San Francisco. Columbia College in Chicago and Full Sail U. in Florida also offer courses in photography and film camera work, but their programs may be more technical training (I’m just not sure).
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