Over the last 15 years, the growth of film studies in American universities has been exponential. It’s is proving to the subject that everyone wants to study even though it’s highly likely that making a living in the world of film will prove problematic for many graduates. Colleges such as USC and UCLA in Los Angeles, NYU and Columbia University in New York, AFI in North Carolina and Wesleyan University in Connecticut lead the way with cutting edge courses and tuition that is molding the entertainment industry’s next generation of film geniuses. And there is no shortage of potential students waiting to step through their doors. If you have your mind set on attending film school, here are a few things that you need to take into consideration.
We’re all well aware of the costs involved with studying, and with schooling costing anything up to $30,000 per year with some courses costing even more, you need to think about how you’re going to fund your studies. No matter which film school you attend, it’s going to be expensive. You’re likely to be taught by professionals from the industry and have access to thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment including cameras, lights and sound gear, not to mention studios and editing machines. One way to ensure that your tuition fees get paid on time is to take out a private student loan. By choosing your loan carefully based on your circumstances, you’ll have the funding you need for your studies with the reassurance that you’ll be able to manage the repayments when you’ve finally graduated.
There are so many different types of film school out there. For example, while many schools focus on hands-on experience and provide students with access to everything from cameras to editing studios, others such as Wesleyan focus more on the history of film. So, you need to be honest about what you hope to get from your experience.
With so many film schools to choose from, your reason for choosing a particular school usually comes down to the type of course, the reputation of the school and the location. Look for schools in locations that give you plenty of scope for shoots with diverse scenery, a good cultural mix and a lively atmosphere. You may also want to consider the local job market as it will be easier to make vital contacts, find work experience and launch your career once you’ve finished your studies.
Some courses will lure you in with the big-name professionals that can bring real world experience to your program, and there’s no doubt that this input can prove invaluable. However, you need to know that your course is curated by a permanent team who are experienced, have proven credentials and the ability to put together a coherent course. You also need access to professors and mentors who have an open-door policy for students - not just the glamor of having visiting ‘stars’ and media moguls.