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UCLA vs. USC


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#1 filmgirl

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:45 PM

Which school would you pick? USC is really $$$, but people say it's the best due to the famous alumni network. But is it just hype? I imagine if someone went to UCLA and was a real mover and shaker, that person could have just as much success as a USC grad. Thoughts?

Kelly B.
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#2 Andriy Pryymachenko

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 03:15 PM

I think, If you have much (too much) money, you should go to USC.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 10:31 AM

Did you actually look at the USC web site? Look under tuition and expenses, do the math, it will cost at least $250,000.00 for a bachelors from USC. Oh and that doesn't include the costs of making films.

If you have won the lottery or have rich parents go there. Otherwise USC is not for the poor or middle class, it is a school for the elite.

Now let's say you do graduate from their film program, that is certainly no guarantee of any success. It's not like you'll be a doctor and have guaranteed job opportunities. Plenty of USC grads end up selling real estate or insurance, a few make it big time.

R,
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 04:24 PM

Hey Filmgirl,
I'm curious to know what you are studying first of all, since the degree doesn't make the filmmaker.

I go to the Academy of Art University and I love it. It's expensive, ofcourse, but it's hand's on learning, with a great faculty. I have friends at both USC and UCLA, and they've asked, and heard about my school, because of the teachers.

Without trying to sound like the typical "which film school is better" conversation; I think you need to realize that what you bring to the school is going to effect where you are after you graduate. You can go to a shitty film school on long island, but if you bring your game, and you are serious, then you can make anything happen.

goodluck.
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 01:00 PM

Which school would you pick? USC is really $$$, but people say it's the best due to the famous alumni network. But is it just hype? I imagine if someone went to UCLA and was a real mover and shaker, that person could have just as much success as a USC grad. Thoughts?

Kelly B.

I wouldn't obsess about this question unless you've actually applied to and been accepted by BOTH film schools. Then yours would be a happy (and rare) dilemna.
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#6 Mark Allen

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 01:43 PM

UCLA is one of the hardest schools to get into in the country. It's a great school and it's really cheap in comparison to everything else (state funded) for residents. If you're not a CA resident.

In the UCLA vs. USC question - If you can get into UCLA, you should go there, then take the 200,000 you'll have saved and make your first feature when you graduate.

Is this for undergrad?

Also of note are AFI and Art Center (Pasedena) - both graduate programs I believe.

Connections are what you make of them.

If you want connections, intern at a production company, an agency, etc. during your education. Some people are good at connections, some people can be in the heart of all connections and make none. It's a learned skill. Learn it and anywhere you are you'll make contacts.

The way things are going in the film industry, I would encourage directors to focus only on "How can I make my feature independetly when I'm ready and have a story to tell."
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#7 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 10:47 PM

Good Call Mike, and without getting into a whole nother topic; my concern for this "film girl", is why go to college when you have an incredible resource of people on the Cinematography forum that are always looking for something to shoot ;).



UCLA is one of the hardest schools to get into in the country. It's a great school and it's really cheap in comparison to everything else (state funded) for residents. If you're not a CA resident.

In the UCLA vs. USC question - If you can get into UCLA, you should go there, then take the 200,000 you'll have saved and make your first feature when you graduate.

Is this for undergrad?

Also of note are AFI and Art Center (Pasedena) - both graduate programs I believe.

Connections are what you make of them.

If you want connections, intern at a production company, an agency, etc. during your education. Some people are good at connections, some people can be in the heart of all connections and make none. It's a learned skill. Learn it and anywhere you are you'll make contacts.

The way things are going in the film industry, I would encourage directors to focus only on "How can I make my feature independetly when I'm ready and have a story to tell."


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#8 Tim van der Linden

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:05 PM

I graduated from USC undergrad and have to admit i'm a bit on the fence about this question. While I was attending I was fairly bitter at USC because you see very little of the boatloads of money you pay. The equipment isn't what you'd expect from such a prestigious program, and they teach you very little technical knowledge. At the time I was disappointed, but now that I've graduated, I feel considerably better about the program.

Their emphasis is more on why you make the creative decisions you do and how they propel the story and contribute to the overall effect of the film. The technical stuff you can learn on your own by working on student films (and later much bigger sets) and by reading a few books. That's how I did it.

Overall I feel pretty good about my education. It put me in the right mindset for what I am doing and has helped me progress enormously as an artist. I still question whether the money was worth it but I never for a second question whether or not I should have gone to college. If you just want to be a juicer or some other purely technical job, you don't need college, but if you want to make creative decisions there is no replacement for the education you get (imho). Hope that helps you a bit.
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#9 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 01:33 AM

Tim - And you are good example of a man inlove with film...nice to hear such encouraging words.

Some people don't have food to eat ( a bit extreme), and we get picky over which film school to go to?


Make yourself, don't let the filmschool make you.
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#10 John Schlater II

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:55 AM

Wow...I never knew those schools were so expensive.

Personally...I think knowing the gear is way more importent than an expensive school. I don't really think it is worth that kind of money unless of course you got a scholarship or rich parents that are going to float the bill.

I think if you are a good learner you can learn gear all by yourself but you would have to be very lucky to run into someone with expensive gear that is willing to teach you everything a school can teach you.

I personally think you can learn to have a creative eye by reading up on style and creative outlook. There are a ton of books that target specific directors and thier style.

I think the biggest thing is networking with fellow students. Lifetime friendships can be made in school.

I think knowing the gear is key because if you know the gear...you can do what ever your little heart desires with it.

School+Lots of Friends+Gear+Know How=a lot better chance than not going to school...

LOL...Good luck.
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#11 Jon-Hebert Barto

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 12:13 AM

Go to Texas. I knew A LOT of grads and under grads there. All of them were idiots. ;) Oh, yeah...they have that whole "third coast" thing going there as well. You could either stand out among the rest or join the dogmatic sheep. Wherever you go, go to learn the technical aspects of film making and for god sake learn film history. Just don't let the teachers push you into stuff. Sometimes taking a film course is like taking a Poly-Sci course in the way (some) prof's have a dogmatic view philisophically. I don't think it really matters where you go as long as it offers good tech courses. Remeber that line in "Good Will Hunting". The one about learning as much for $1.50 in late fees at the library...? :D
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#12 Ryan Bajornas

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 02:04 AM

if you're really serious about going to film school, check out ohio university. not only will you learn everything you need to know about filmmaking, but you'll save, and even earn some money along the way. no other school compares.
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#13 Ian Wilson

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 04:30 PM

Everybody talks about USC, UCLA, NYU, AFI, you should check out Florida State University Their school is one of the top school in the coountry. Alot cheaper, and they are the only school that covers the cost of the films you make. So unlike USC where you have to put up the money , the school pays for you.
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#14 rufian84

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 03:05 AM

Did you actually look at the USC web site? Look under tuition and expenses, do the math, it will cost at least $250,000.00 for a bachelors from USC. Oh and that doesn't include the costs of making films.

If you have won the lottery or have rich parents go there. Otherwise USC is not for the poor or middle class, it is a school for the elite.

Now let's say you do graduate from their film program, that is certainly no guarantee of any success. It's not like you'll be a doctor and have guaranteed job opportunities. Plenty of USC grads end up selling real estate or insurance, a few make it big time.

R,


Richard,

If I'm not mistaken, the way USC works is that just a few faculty selected students get to direct and the rest of the class specializes in other areas to form a whole crew. Those chosen students will have their projects paid by USC and they can only submit the films to festivals because USC owns the rights.

I heard that from someone that went to school there and I decided to not bother applying.
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#15 rufian84

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 03:19 AM

Hello Filmgirl,

It looks like the consensus here is on where you see yourself as a filmmaker regardless of the school. I can tell you that film school is a great experience and that there is where you will meet most of the people with whom you'll work with your whole career. I can also tell you that is your character what will determine how good a filmmaker you are, not the school.

If you want it bad enough you'll make it at USC, UCLA or at your local community college.
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#16 ben jones

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 04:41 AM

Hey every one. I graduated from the surry institute of art and design in the south of england in the summer. I speciallised in cinematography there. The are only around 4 film schools in england that allow us to learn 16/35mm practice and thats why I chose to go to surrey. It's a tiny art college really in the middle of the countryside, and I think thats why the people who go there push themselves so hard and gain success. Its all about being resourceful and making the best of things. Infact, we beat the national film and television school (the best in the country) many times in festivals, and I think this is down to creativity rather than big budgets.

Where you go makes little difference If you dont take anything too it. Be bold!
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#17 Roberflowers

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 12:59 PM

hey film girl,
I've been going to film school at Chapman University in Orange County for the past 2 and half years in their graduate program, which is now becoiming a top school in the country. I have name professors who work in the industry, are ASC members and have oscars to their credit among other things. We have a brand new state of the art building being outfitted by mole richardson. Our program is modeled after AFI ( several of our faculty are from there)

We have a lot of toys, several super 16mm cameras. 2 arri BL4 35mm cameras. 2 D-5 decks for HD finishing and the adrenaline system. And supposedly we'll have telecine on site as well. We have a showcase at Cannes, we compete in the coca cola refreshing filmmakers competition, etc ,etc..

Now all that being said, and I'm sure similar things could be said about the other schools previously mentioned. I think you should figure out what it is you want to do. Because to me that is the biggest question.

Also I think if you decide to go to film school, I say go after you already have an undergrad degree. That way you will be more focused, plus in grad school it's all you do, there aren't any general ed courses or stuff like that. It's all film, all the time. In fact it really becomes your life, 7 days a week, when you aren't in class discussing it, you are making films, and when you aren't doing that, you're probably watching them.

Not only that, but go out and live life. I worked on a feature with an AFI alum and his advice for me was to go out and fall in love, which I thought was interesting advice...

there is so much happening out there. Part of being a filmmaker is being able to connect with people. And I think the only way to do that is through life experience. But I think it all depends on what you want to do.

For some people in my class, they didn't know what they wanted to do and film school was an excellent place to figure that out for themselves.

I'm graduating soon, so I think I have some perspective on the film school experience. You spend a lot of money, and sometimes you question if it is worth it. I agree with tim, you wonder where it all goes. It almost seems absurd. Sure I'll have a MFA, but what does that really mean?

That piece of paper doesn't mean as much as the people you learn with and grow with, because you learn as much from them, if not more, than you do in class. And you learn a lot, not just about film, but about yourself.

It's a great experience and one hell of a ride, and if you can afford it, by either taking a lot of student loans or having your parents help you (I have both, which helps a lot, too bad I have to pay back all those loans).



then go for it. But I must also make this point, film sets are where you learn how, the classroom is where you learn why. I worked a USC graduate Thesis film and being from a different film school, I was nervous about how I would be recieved, but it was cool, and everyone was real cool. And it was a great learning experience, because they complained about the same things at their school, that I do at mine, and have the same issues that we do. I got to talking with one of them about school, and he said that in the end they all teach the same things.

The experience is what you make it...hope some my rambling helps
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#18 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 10:13 PM

It all really depends on what you are looking for. Every school seems to have their advantages and disadvantages. I am currently attending Chapman University as well and the program is rapidly expanding this year. While it may not yet have the name of some of the other schools, it will offer the latest in technology and equipment and a brand new studio fully outfitted with all the equipment.

However, USC does have the reputation that everyone seems to go for, but I don't know much about the program. The two students that I did speak with though seemed disapointed at what they got for the amount they ended up spending.

UCLA seems to have the benefits of the name reputation and the lower cost, but again I know little about the program.

It all depends on you really. I went around and spent a day at each of the schools before making my decision. Chapman just felt right. I would recomend looking around at each one and see what works for you.
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#19 jdtranetzki

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 07:06 AM

B)-->
QUOTE(major B @ Mar 16 2006, 02:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hey every one. I graduated from the surry institute of art and design in the south of england in the summer. I speciallised in cinematography there. The are only around 4 film schools in england that allow us to learn 16/35mm practice and thats why I chose to go to surrey. It's a tiny art college really in the middle of the countryside, and I think thats why the people who go there push themselves so hard and gain success. Its all about being resourceful and making the best of things. Infact, we beat the national film and television school (the best in the country) many times in festivals, and I think this is down to creativity rather than big budgets.

Where you go makes little difference If you dont take anything too it. Be bold!
[/quote]


hey, this is my first post. just thought i'd share. i just went through the finalist interviews at UCLA and was turned down. And now I regret how i had listened to others who talked down about UCLA, because had i been accepted under better circumstances, i have to say, UCLA is probably the best you can get for the money. Hands down, a remarkable school.

Coincidentally, for a very long time, since high school, i had looked at Chapman. its good to hear it is coming along so well. as for USC, i know quite a few that have gone through the program and are currently in it. From what i gather, and many posts above illuminate the fact much better, it is good for undergrad if you have the money, but has more appeal because of its ties to the industry.

i for one, now wishing i had the choice again, would choose UCLA. so wish i had the oppurtunity back...
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