Question by Liam N: where is the best place to do a post graduate degree in tv and film production? directing and production?
i’m doing my ba hons degree in television production and am looking at potential courses to do for post grad, as well as places. like in england, but would like to go to california.
Answer by joedupontel
I don’t know about schools in England, but maybe I can help you with American schools. First off, there are many film schools in the states. Most are pretty bad. The few famous ones owe their reputation mostly because of the few famous directors who were once students there.
On the West Coast, there is USC and UCLA. I had just graduated from New York University’s Film School (in 1995) and since I was looking for a graduate program in film, I visited both. In terms of tuition, they were both ridiculously expensive then, they are worse now. Now the differences: USC, former home of Spielberg, Lucas… works like this: one student gets to make a film, the rest of the class has to work on it. Since film schools are just as corrupt as Hollywood itself, who knows who will be directing, and who will be carrying equipment… When I found out about that, USC was out of the question. UCLA, former home of Coppola, had just closed their undergraduate film program, but the graduate school was still going. However, I looked at the curriculum, and it was identical to my undergraduate curriculum at NYU,,. So I thought, what’s the point?
So I came back to the East Coast, to my old school NYU (former home of Scorsese, Spike Lee, Stone, Jarmush, and myself :)) and checked out their graduate program. Again, it was the exact same thing as the undergraduate one. What I found out was graduate film schools were basically for students who had studied something else first, like English, History, Philosophy and who wanted to apply their knowledge to film.
The best thing about famous film school for me was not the program, not the teachers, but the students you get to meet. These schools are super selective, so if you can somehow get in, you are going to meet some really cool, talented, and borderline insane students. That created an awesome atmosphere where we all learned from each other, we all shared the same passion (no limits on how long we could talk about movies…), and we all pushed each other to do the best we could.
The bad things: tuition price, having to pay for your films on top of the tuition (a decent thesis is going to cost around $ 20-30,000), corruption within the administration and faculty, pretty low quality of the classes, not very good teachers, 1% chance you’ll be doing what you wanted to do when you graduate, 0.01% chance if what you wanted to do is direct movies.
To sum it up, you have two options:
Option 1: Go to film school, spend 4 x $ 50,000 + $ 25,000 (thesis, if you get picked) = $ 225,000, win a couple festivals, and get your first job as a PA unless your dad is a producer.
If that’s your decision, then what school you want to go to depends on what kind of films you want to make. If you want to work on big Hollywood productions, go to UCLA. If you’re more of a Scorsese type or European filmmaker (and you’d rather go to a school located at the heart of New York City instead of a campus) go to NYU.
Option 2: Don’t go to film school, use the $ 225,000 to make a feature film, and who knows, if it’s good and fairly commercial, you just might get a distributor, and funding for your next feature film.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
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