Posted 04 June 2009 - 12:02 AM
You don't necessarily need a degree in film in order to get a job in film. It's a matter of working your way up either way, and I've pretty much never heard of anyone being asked about their degree. What film school can potentially get you is experience, contacts, and maybe a reel. I went to film school, and it's worked out fairly well for me, but I also had a very specific focus, and I spent all of my personal time outside of school learning it. Film school got me access to equipment, experience working with people and making films, a fairly decent reel, and it let me meet people who would go to bat for me. If you've got the drive and determination, you're able to honestly evaluate yourself and think that you're competant, and you think that you'll be able to impress the hell out of enough people so that you'll stand out ahead of all your peers, then film school may be for you.
It is absolutely not a guarantee that anyone will ever want to hire you once you graduate. Many, many film students (in fact probably the majority) never get anywhere in the industry. It's a really big gamble. I guess I'd say that most of the time, film school kids who do well in the industry are those who would be successful even without having gone to film school- for them, school is an alternate route. The scary thing (or at least what was scary for me) is that pretty much everyone thinks that they're really good and will be successful, because most people are pretty poor at evaluating themselves.
I don't know anything about either of the schools you mentioned, so I can't comment directly about them other than the fact that NYFA is incredibly expensive, holy crap. That's over twice what I paid for my incredibly expensive private film school. If you're going to do either of them, I really would recommend that you either do all of your gen-ed classes at a community college or somewhere cheap, or, even better, that you get an undergrad degree in something else first, before you go to film school. You really do need the background in other subjects even if all you want to do is film, and film schools tend to be a really expensive place to take really crappy gen-ed classes.
If you don't really know what you want to do, it would worry me a bit. A lot of people come to film school because they like movies and like the idea of making films themselves, but end up finding out that the reality is much different than what they imagine, and end up changing their minds. At my school, it seemed that most of the successful students were those who had transferred in from elsewhere; those who had done other things before deciding that they wanted to dedicate themselves to filmmaking. Many of the students who came in straight from high school ended up switching schools or switching majors because they found that it was different than they had envisioned it, or because they just weren't prepared for it.
Hopefully some of this helps.