Considering going to film school? Looking for a list of the best film schools? Consider this, going to a film school is a great way to build your network! In an industry all about connections and who you know, an education in film is an ideal way to meet fellow aspiring filmmakers as well as people already in the industry.
How To Get In
Before you can think about the pros and cons of film school, you should ask how to get into film school? Like other colleges, film schools require applications, sometimes test scores and essays.
Film schools can also require a portfolio. Usually, they want to see the work you’ve made before, in a high school film class perhaps, or in your own time. But not always, you absolutely can go to film school with no experience.
Maybe you’ve found yourself googling ‘do you need a portfolio for film school?’ The answer is- it depends. At undergraduate programs like Univerity of Southern California and NYU portfolios are required, most of the big schools that are known for their film programs have requirements.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t find a GREAT film program that doesn’t require a portfolio. American University, Full Sail University, and Ithaca College all have recognizable and acclaimed programs that don’t require a portfolio upon application. A comprehensive list of film programs can be found here on the Princeton Review.
Another important aspect when considering film school is cost. ‘how much does film school cost’ is a good question to be asking. Again it varies by University and program.
When deciding ‘which film school should I go to?’ It’s important to consider tuition costs and how much access you’re getting for your money. It’s important to find out which schools have access to equipment provided to students or if the students must source it themselves.
It’s also important to ask about creative ownership. At some schools, what you make in your time there belongs to the school. You can look up each school’s policy on students’ work on their websites, you can view NYU’s policy here.
Another important question to consider is ‘how long is film school?’ Most undergraduate programs are four-year programs, it is possible to complete degrees early, that possibility varies by program. The answer also depends on how much higher education you want to complete. There are masters programs in film studies like an MFA in Film from Columbia film school within the Columbia School of the Arts which is a three-year program.
If you’re seeking higher education degrees in film, you don’t even have to go to film school for undergrad. ‘Can I go to film school after college?’ is another important question. Yes. Graduate film programs accept undergrads from all disciplines.
Why Film School is Worth It
Now that you’ve considered how to get in and which schools are cost-effective, it’s time to think about why film school is worth it. Film school is the best way to build your network. Firstly, every day in film school you are surrounded by fellow aspiring filmmakers and artists. When you finish school, your graduating class is your built-in network, a collection of people you’ve worked with before and can trust to make it together.
Not only do you know other filmmakers but you can meet other artists and musicians who can become vital parts of your production team, like the art department and the composer for your projects after graduation. If you’re thinking about how to get a producer for a short film, look no further than your classmates.
Film school is also worth it for so many more reasons. It provides a safe and academic space to experiment, work, fail, and ultimately learn. Film school will teach you the basics like what a 3 point lighting setup is and how to make a film budget example. It will give you hands-on experience with an average budget for a short film.
The Short Film
Film school will also teach you everything else about short film production. From short film structure, short film budget, and short film topics. Many film production programs focus on the specific and unique production of a short film.
It will also give you the opportunity to learn a full film crew list of skills and try out all film crew positions. In no other place will you be able to try something like being a key grip or a 1st AC without the pressure of failing or being fired. It will help you increase your production value within the safety of a classroom.
Not only are the other students a great resource for building your network, but the faculty and alumni that come with going to film school are unmatched resources for building your network. It gives the best chance at meeting industry professionals and connecting with them before you even enter the industry yourself.
When starting out in the film business you could be looking for a producer. You might be asking yourself about how to become a film producer or how to get a producer for your film. The faculty and alumni of your film school are great resources! Alumni are often looking to hire people from their alma mater because they know that you’ll have the skills.
People ask ‘why is film school a waste of time?’ It’s not, it is probably the BEST way to grow your network! Instead, think about why film school is important. Film school can help grow your network, give you an environment to learn freely, and make mistakes, and it will give you the opportunities to work on various sets and productions which helps you gain invaluable experience you can bring into the industry.