12) How to Choose a Film Program to Study

Aspiring filmmakers who want to make it big in the industry, basically need three things: drive, talent and a solid knowledge of how filmmaking works. Filmmakers are either born with or acquire drive and talent. Knowledge however has to come from experience and education – this is where film school comes in.

Experience is gained from long hours of working on film sets picking up skills not learned at most film schools (hint: make sure you are making films at film school, not just watching them). Education on the other hand is of crucial importance in the filmmaking industry. The name and the reputation of the school may not matter as much. Nevertheless, it does give an aspiring filmmaker edge over the competition.

Choosing the right film degree and the right film school is important. It could help make a director’s or a producer’s career. The best schools are those that teach their students everything they need to become professional filmmakers. Students also have to know that when it comes to film schools, not every school is created equal.

Some film schools are so obscure and unheard off or have such a bad reputation that heads of the film industry pass over applicants that come from them. It doesn’t matter if that applicant has the talent to become the next great director.

As long as they come from a non-credible film school, they may have to work twice as hard just to get noticed.

In choosing the right film school, the student must consider how long the school has been in operation and has anybody heard of it. It is also important for that school to be associated with a major university. Choosing a school with the right credentials that can back-up its program is important too. Film students must also look at the quality and experience of the instructors. Good film schools hire instructors that have had actual experience in the industry.

Location is also important. Schools located in filmmaking centers such as Los Angeles, New York, Bombay, London, etc. have a better chance of giving students good exposure compared to those in remote locations.

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(c) 2009