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Film School

Many artistic graduates are interested in going to film school after high school or upon completing an undergraduate degree. Many of these students have a bent for drawing, photography, acting or writing and see film as the best way to use these talents and the most likely way to make a living doing what they love.

Not everyone who graduates from film school earns the kind of income Steven Spielberg enjoys, but many find that their opportunities for success in this field are greatly increased after graduating from a good film school. As with any other arts fields, there is fierce competition between artists, but the best and most skilled filmmakers often succeed in their profession.

Since film school is a significant investment of time and money, it is a good idea to take a few brief film classes to see whether or not film is really right for you before making the plunge into a full time program at film school.

For those applying to film school, the application process varies according to the kind of film school the student wants to attend. Most film schools require their applicants to have a high school diploma or a GED, a sample of work or a portfolio and perhaps an interview. Some film schools require an application fee.

Many students may feel this is unfair, but most film schools are flooded with applications, and many want to keep their application pool down to those prospective students who are quite serious about attending their school.
Although there are many applications to film schools these days, a prospective student who has talent is likely to be accepted to at least one school if he or she has sent out enough applications.

Once a student has been accepted to a film school, he or she should decide on an area of concentration. If the student is unsure, it is possible to take a variety of introduction courses to give one a sampling of what is available at film school. Some of these areas of concentration include:

  • Directing
  • Producing
  • Cinematography
  • Production Design
  • Sound Design
  • Film Editing
  • Screenwriting

Some students have a very clear idea of what area they want to study, whereas others require more investigation. It might be an idea for a student who hasn’t decided on a major to take an internship in a certain area to see if it is appealing.

There are two major approaches to instruction at film schools. Some film schools believe that, on the first day of classes, a small camera should be put in the student’s hands, and he or she should be encouraged to start filming right away.

These are intensive courses, usually a year or so, which focus on the practical aspect of making films. The ethos at these schools is that students learn to make films by making films, and do not spent much time in the class room learning theory (although there are some class requirements).

The student is given feedback from the teacher and students on each film, and is expected to progress based on this feedback.

Other film schools take the more traditional approach, and have the ethos that a student can learn about making films by studying the masters. These film schools focus on film appreciation and learning theory. The course culminates in the student’s film project, which is seen as a completion to the period of study.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and the type of film school to choose depends very much on the student’s personality and his or her reasons for attending film school.

Those who are more academically oriented may enjoy a traditional film school, whereas those who are more “hands-on” may prefer a more practical approach.

 

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