Film School ConfidentialGet in. Make it out alive. Tom Edgar & Karin Kelly 2007
Introduction to the Second Edition • 1st edition was already ten years ago! • During the course of ten years…. • The emerging of digital video as an accepted medium • The growth of Internet & Cellphone culture • MFA in film may be what the MBA was not long ago • Revolution of Documentary
Film Schools and Hollywood : A Brief History • Film schools were campus jokes. • Hollywood’s best and most influential films were rooted in existential despair..(Think Bergman, Polanski, Kurosawa) • In 1980 a pack of graduates from Southern California Film Schools got the chance to make movies. (Speilberg, Lucas) • Their films became a hit, and so did the school • The next megahit V.S. the low budget • In general, you don’t get to make a big movie until you’ve made a small one.
Why go to film school ? • Time • Structure • Freedom • Guidance • Contacts • Insurance • Teaching Credentials • Community
What about undergraduate film school ? • It’s great if you’re going to college anyway • But you may not be ready to make a film the time you get the opportunity • Suggestion : don’t get both BFA & MFA in film.
What about the film schools that advertise in the back of magazines ? • “New York Film Academy” “Los Angeles Film School” • Just a short course about how to use a camera • Best as a prerequisite
What about skipping film school entirely ? • If you want to be a technician, move to Hollywood! • If you want to be a director, go to Film School or make your first outstanding feature yourself, by.. • Take some classes to write & direct SHORT films • Take some acting classes • Direct a one-act play for the stage • Watch as many great movies as you can • Hire experienced crew & be willing to accept their advice
Why are there so many film schools anyway ? • Personal computer has made it much easier to be creative • During the gold rush, few of the gold miners struck it rich, but the businessman did very well. • Schools that do not offer classes in filmmaking are at a disadvantage in attracting new students
Four kinds of film school • Industry • Independent • Experimental • Documentary
University of Southern California (USC) ($209,508 ext. total cost - Industry / Documentary) • 4 years curriculum in directing, 2 years curriculum in screenwriting, producing, or production • Oldest & Most famous film school in the U.S. • Technically flawless, a bit soulless • Best things : the name, the technical training, better facilities, top-notch documentary program, well-prep. for Hollywood • Worst things : it’s a program about the technology and business of film; any art that happens is usually incidental.
New York University (most expensive - Independent) • 4 years curriculum, est. total cost $216,740 • Very demanding, very concerned with storytelling • Best things : embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking, best facilities*, graduate employable students with marketable skills, very prestigious, and living in NY can be a life-altering experience. • Worst things : The bill and the stress. *24 Arriflex SRs, 1 Arriflex 35 mm, 8 Panasonic DVX100s, 4 Sony PD150s, 6 Avid Media Composers, ADR Foley & Mixing stage, large soundstage, recording studios, two large state-of-the-art theaters
California Institute of Arts (CalArts) (most expensive - focused on experimental film & animation) • 3 years curriculum, est. total cost $165,370 • An Art School for creative, motivated individuals with a strong personal vision, techno-cool • Best things : small size & funky attitude, great atmosphere to be creative, strong programs in dance / design / computer animation, connection with Pixars • Worst things : depressing town, too much freedom
Florida State University (least expensive - Industry) • 2 years curriculum, est. total cost $89,316 • More about learning through hands-on experience & collaboration • Best things : Students get a lot for their money, graduate employment rate is very high, plentiful equipment, extremely active & supportive network • Worst things : exhausting, no guarantee to direct a thesis film, a little bit too supportive for the real world
University of New Orleans(least expensive - Independent) • 2 years curriculum, est. total cost $53,720 • Very strong connection with drama program, not nearly demanding or fast-paced, • Best things : The price, The equipment* is available when needed, Students could make a lot of film under a tight budget • Worst things : Hurricane Katrina has complicated things, and the faculty is not always around to help *few CP-16 , Arri SR, 6 Panasonic DVX100s, plentiful light & sound packages, 2 nice-sized soundstage, 7 Avid stations, Audio finishing Suite, Whisper room for Voice & ADR
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