Top Film Schools

Film schools provide aspiring students with a solid understanding of the many facets of the film industry. While graduating from one of the many top film schools or film directing schools does not ensure a film school graduate success in the film industry, it certainly increases the odds in his or her favor. The film industry is becoming much more competitive and graduates of film schools have more doors opened to them because of their diploma or degree. Because graduating from film schools requires lots of time and money, make sure that it is, in fact, the option that will best help you reach your film career goals.

Choosing the Film School Program That Is Right for You

The film industry is a lucrative, multi-faceted one. Depending on what part of film production and movie making you would like to learn, there is a film school for you. Top schools are located all over the United States, and choosing the right one can often prove very difficult to a prospective film student.

Researching Film School and Directing School Options

Due to the increasing demand of film-related jobs, film schools have been increasing in number. However, not all of these schools issue degrees or diplomas that are taken seriously in the film industry. To be sure that you avoid attending one of these schools, make sure you do plenty of research on the film school. Some questions you may want ask yourself are:

  • Has this film school been around for a while?
  • Is this school affiliated with a major university?
  • Does this school have the credentials to back up its program?
  • Have this film school's teachers worked in the industry?

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If the answer to many of these questions is no, you may want to consider another film school. Well established film schools that have been around for a long time are generally taken more seriously in the film industry. The students of schools affiliated with major universities are also more widely accepted. As a prospective film student, you want your teachers to have had experience in the film industry. If not, how can you expect to learn from them how to break into the industry? The school's credentials are very important. Some schools give degrees that are almost worthless in the film industry. Make sure that the film school that you choose is one that is respected in the industry.

Film School Location

Another factor in choosing a film school is location. If you would like to remain closer to home, then check the film schools in your area. Many of the most acclaimed film schools are located in New York and in Los Angeles, as they are the two major film centers in the United States. You may want to choose a school in one of these or another major city, because it will give you a chance to be close to the film industry. This opens up more opportunities for you to get a film-related internship or job.

Film Schools That Meet Your Career Needs

Depending on what branch of film most interests you, you will want to select a school with a degree/program that will aid you in your particular field of interest.

There are three major types of film schools. Industry film schools are film schools that prepare you for a career in Hollywood and teach you how best to go about selling your movie ideas to producers. Independent film school will help you if you want to produce major films outside of the Hollywood system. Experimental film school does not teach the financial and business side of film, but focuses on the artistic side of film.

Film School Degrees vs. Film School Diplomas

Another very important factor when choosing a film school is knowing what the schools offer you upon graduation. Some schools will offer a degree, and some will offer a diploma upon completion of the course, but no degree. That is not to say that the programs are not recognized by the film industry, however. Many of the film degrees available are MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Degrees. To be considered for admission into a film school program of this nature, you must already have an undergraduate degree.

If possible, visit the schools you are seriously considering attending. Make sure that you like the campus, city, and program they have to offer. You are given many options when looking for a film school. Make sure you choose the one that is right for you.

Applying to Film Schools

When applying to film schools, you will be asked to provide them with various items to demonstrate your ability as a film-maker and prospective film school student. You may want to start early accumulating things that will look impressive in order to be admitted to your first choice school.

Preparing Your Film School Resume

The first item you will be asked to submit will be a resume. In addition to the things you would put on any college application, you will want to focus on certain things. Many film schools look for students with advanced writing skills. Taking writing classes will give you an edge. Acting and theater-related classes will also help you, especially if you hope to specialize in directing during. Directing requires you to be able to relate and effectively communicate with the actors you are working with. Also, be sure to include any previous movie production experience you have, if any.

Making an Application Film

The other, equally important thing that a film school will want to see is a sample movie. Film schools want to see you in action. They want to see an example of your film production abilities. If you don't have a video camera yourself, try to borrow one from a friend. The movie should not be very long. It should probably be between 5 and 10 minutes. Make multiple movies. Watch them with others and have them give you feedback. Your films will get progressively better as you gain more experience. With this information in mind, you may want to take different extra-curricular film programs and attend film camps to give yourself an extra edge in the competition for film school admission.

Other Requirements for Film School Applications

Some film schools may ask for other things, including a screenplay, other examples of your writing, an animation storyboard, or photographs. Much of it depends on the individual film schools, and what area of film you want to enter. For example, if you wanted to enter animation, you would most likely need to send your prospective film school drawings. Be sure to check the admission requirements for your specific film school.

How To Best Prepare for Film School

It is important to know how to adequately prepare yourself before applying to film schools. If properly prepared, gaining admission into top film schools or film directing schools will be much easier.

Make your own films: There are some film schools and film directing schools that require applicants to submit a short film that he or she has made. Therefore, it is important that you be prepared and make as many films as possible. Top film schools and film directing schools look for dedication, discipline, and passion.

Take as many writing courses as possible - It is very important to take as many writing courses as possible since many film schools and film directing schools favor applicants who can write proficiently.

Take acting and theater classes and courses - Enroll in as many acting and theater classes as possible since this will provide you with valuable experience and allow you to submit a strong application to film schools and film directing schools.

What You Should Do Once Enrolled

A film school degree will not necessarily secure you a place in the Hollywood film industry. However, an MFA film degree will definitely be able to help you. It, at the very least will give you the credentials necessary to teach. If, however you are a prospective film student who is very motivated to break into the feature film industry, there are certain goals you should attain during your career. During a film school career, the typical successful student that goes on to make feature films accomplishes a few things. A student destined for success will come out of school with a very good short film. The student will generally also have a screen-play for a feature film that they have written and intend to make into a film. This is especially important if you want to direct films.

What Type of Film Classes Should Students Enroll In?

Depending on what film school you go to, most will offer a slightly flexible curriculum. Many schools allow you to specialize, depending upon your career goals. If a student wants to be directing films, producing films, editing films, or working in one of the multitudes of other jobs necessary to putting a film together, there is most likely a class for them. This, however, means that a student will increase his or her chances of success by knowing what type of career he or she wants to pursue after film school. A student should choose film classes based on this goal, because, while all students will be given a general education in the basics, many good film schools will not only allow you to, but encourage you to become more specialized in one area of film studies. Film schools will generally offer classes in many or all of the following categories:

  • Cinematography in Film
  • Producing Films and Film Production
  • Film Directing
  • Film Production Design
  • Set Design
  • Screenwriting for Films
  • Film Editing
  • Working with Actors

Many top schools will offer various levels of all of these courses. Sometimes, you will take the basic film courses in all of these areas. After that, however, a student may often choose what areas of film he or she wishes to continue studying. For example, a student wishing to become a film director may take all of the Film Directing courses offered to him, as well as all of the Working with Actors courses. He may, however, choose to only take only one class of Producing Films. Alternatively, if a student wanted to produce films after graduation, he or she may take all the Producing Films courses, but only one Film Directing course. Remember the importance of deciding on your career goals before enrolling. The options are endless, and you should check the curriculum of the film schools you are considering attending and choose your schedule wisely.