Question by debo1074: What is the Best Film School?
What is the best film school I should attend if I want to become a director (film, tv, screen, etc.)??? I have heard of LA Film School, and Full Sail, and lots of others. I’d like to hear from people with experience at a certain film school and I’d like to know what they had to offer, and their amount of success upon finishing? Also, was it a degree or a diploma? Please share with me, and I’d love to talk further. I am hoping for a school in the California area.
Answer by bjdzyak
Well, no one can tell you what is best for YOU. The best thing YOU should do is call the film departments at all of those universities and talk with the professors. Ask for curriculum information and find out what those classes will teach you. Most schools have special Alumni Departments. Ask for alumni contact information and talk to those people as well. You’ll have much better luck getting accurate information that way rather than hoping for a good range of answers here.
Remember, going to a school means that you are buying a product… you are purchasing information just as you would buy anything else. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on a hope that your TV will give you what you want… you shouldn’t do that with education either.
With that in mind, think long and hard about what it is you really want to do with your life. Does the school you’re looking at teach you everything you think you should know about that? Do you know what you’re getting yourself into before you invest thousands of dollars into education “theory”? Do you know the various paths that will lead you to a directing career? Are you aware of what your life may be like if you’re successful? And if you’re not?
After that, go back to investigating each school you’re interested in and know that not all schools are created equally. Also know that NO school diploma will get you a job in the entertainment industry, particularly a film degree. The business is based on networking…who you know and who knows you and what you can do. With that in mind, some schools provide access to classmates and alumni (and professors) who ARE professionals in the professional film industry. It can be a crapshoot to some extent, but going to school in the place where the film industry is centered gives you access to working professionals and alumni unlike anywhere else in the world.
So, if California is where you’d like to go, the standout is The University of Southern California (USC). This isn’t to say that other very fine filmschools aren’t out there, but USC still reigns as one of the better choices is you want a decent training in film production as well as proximity to the professional industry. Other choices in the area are UCLA, AFI, and Art Center.
Now this isn’t say that going to a school in Southern California will guarantee you a career in the business. Going to NYU, or North Carolina, or Florida State could be the right choice for you. But know that NO school will guarantee that you’ll find success where you want it. The crazy artistic kid down the street who doesn’t go to school has just as much chance as you do, and maybe more if he goes out and makes some incredible and riveting short film that is a hit at Cannes.
But your goal is to skew the odds in your favor as much as possible. At some level, luck plays just as large a role in success as book learning and networking. Keep all of that in mind when deciding which school to give your money to. Find the school that offers what you feel YOU need, then demand that you get your money’s worth. And if you’re truly serious about creating a viable career in the film industry, go over and above what the school asks you to do. Take it on yourself to learn everything you can about the professional industry and get out there and start meeting real professionals. Volunteer. Look for internships. Just ask to show up for a day to observe. Getting to know people is the best thing you can do in terms of working toward a real career that will pay for your food, shelter, and everything else you want out of life.
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