Jump to content


Photo

Columbia College Chicago


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 02 October 2006 - 09:27 PM

Currently, columbia is high up on my list for college. From what I've seen, they offer great courses at a little bit cheaper prices. I just want to know more info.


Post, please, if you know anything about this college, and I mean ANYTHING! Good, bad, admissions, scholarships, finances, room and board, etc!


Thank you for your time,
Michael
  • 0

#2 Jayson Crothers

Jayson Crothers
  • Sustaining Members
  • 351 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 08 October 2006 - 12:52 PM

I did my undergraduate studies there and felt it was, and still is, an amazing film school.

There is a massive amount of equipment; the advantage to this is that you'll practically always have access to equipment for your shoots.

For Cinematography, there are practically more classes than you'll probably be able to take - lighting I, II, II, Special Studies I, II, Camera Seminar I, II, Lab Sciences, Telecine, VFX, etc. You get access to many different aspects of Cinematography, and you're constantly surrounded by students and teachers, so it becomes a way of life in a manner of speaking.

There's also the mere fact that with SO many students in the film program, you'll never have any difficulty finding sets to work on; I left with Columbia having shot 50+ shorts of varying sizes and I worked as crew on at least as many - mind you, I finished my undergrad degree at Columbia, so I was only there for about 2 years.

The disadvantage to Columbia (and mind you, it's been a few years, so this may have changed) - they are a VERY technical school, but there is little attention paid to WHY you do something. What I mean is, you'll walk out knowing the ins and outs of how a silver retention process works, but nobody will ever ask you WHY you want to do it. I found that this lead to a lot of short films that looked "cool" and were very well shot, but they generally all had a similar look and feel. Additionally, nobody teaches management to the Cinematography students, so the importance of Scheduling, Budget, Equipment Orders (outside of school when every item is costing someone money), Set Ettiquette, etc. is never touched upon except by happenstance.

I think Chicago is a fantastic city, and Columbia is an amazing place to learn. If you go, say hello to Ninoos Bethishou for me!
  • 0

#3 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 08 October 2006 - 01:16 PM

Thank you very much for the helpful reply! I'm still a few years away from attending college, but I figured I should get some ideas set.


And again, I really appreciate the offer for camera PA, I just can't do it. If I could, I would do it in a HEARTBEAT!


If you are working on anything during the summer, I would love to help. By then I will have my license and not have to worry about school getting in the way.
  • 0

#4 Scott Fritzshall

Scott Fritzshall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 08 October 2006 - 01:57 PM

Columbia is a great place to be if you are very very sure of what you want to do. If you are absolutely certain that you want to be in film, and you are very self-motivated, Columbia can be a great facilitator for you to get a lot of good knowledge and experience.

Intro production classes have you shoot 16mm on Bolexes, which is awesome in this age of "shoot a zillion takes on miniDV" because it helps teach you discipline and the importance of planning. At first you'll only have access to old, crappy equipment, but your access expands as you take classes. They've got a bunch of really nice 16, Super16, and 35mm cameras.

Columbia's film department has a really terrible retention rate. This is partially due to the fact that they've got an open admissions policy. Pretty much anyone can get into the school, but the film department uses the intro classes as a weeding-out process. Production 1 and 2 are really stressful, fast-paced classes, and those who can't handle it go elsewhere. Not too many students who enter as freshmen end up staying, most of them decide that they don't really want to do film, and so they go somewhere else. For that reason, a huge percentage of the film department's students are transfer students. They've already had a few years at college, have had a fair amount of experiences, and have decided that they are ready to really commit themselves to filmmaking.

Transferring to Columbia isn't a bad idea. Columbia's gen-ed classes aren't that great, and it's a somewhat expensive place to be taking mediocre classes. Lots of people get their gen-eds done at a community college or something like that to save money, and then transfer in.

The school is also horribly disorganized. There are courses with undocumented requirements. Advisors are notorious for being untrustworthy- I know a guy who had to graduate a semester late because his advisor apparently mis-advised him. The IT department is a mess. There is no collaboration between departments- you'd figure it would be beneficial for the film department to work closely with the theater department, and fashion design departments, but it never happens. You're pretty much on your own when it comes to finding internships. All of these things can be huge annoyances, but if you're the type of person who uses them as encouragement to get things done on your own, then you'll do well here.

On-campus housing is nice but incredibly expensive- you'll be paying nearly $1000/month. They've got really stupid rules about drinking- you're not allowed to have alcohol in your room even if you're over 21. It's not a bad idea to live there your first year, so you can meet people, but after that, you'll probably want to live off-campus. The school provides no help with this either.

Columbia never feels like a real college experience. There's no real campus, and there's not really anywhere you can go to hang out with other students. I love living in Chicago, but I'm also glad that I went to UW-Madison for a few years prior to coming here, because I was able to have the experience of living on a real college campus. It's something to consider.

A really nice thing is that a lot of the classes are taught by people who have actually worked in the industry, or still work in the industry. They've got a lot of real-world experience, and frequently they've got connections they can help you out with. Sometimes they can help you get internships or employment, which is really cool.

If you're a self-motivated person, and really serious about what you do, Columbia can help you get experience and connections. They've got a focus on teaching you what you need to know to get you employed in the real world.

I've been going to Columbia for 2 years, and I'll be graduating in May. If you've got more specific questions, I'll be glad to answer them.
  • 0

#5 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 08 October 2006 - 04:56 PM

Thank you so much for that. It's good to get some insider info on the good/bad.


I'm good with High stress environments, and I work well under them. And the housing situation just stinks. If I go there, I will stay in the housing for the first year probably and move out... It's just SO expensive for a mediocore living environment. (or so I hear)

I plan on reading some books on Cinematography and doing some other stuff to see if I really want to do this as my career. I'd rather buy some expensive books than spend all that money on Columbia (or another film school) and later drop-out.
  • 0

#6 Scott Fritzshall

Scott Fritzshall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 October 2006 - 01:22 AM

Thank you so much for that. It's good to get some insider info on the good/bad.
I'm good with High stress environments, and I work well under them. And the housing situation just stinks. If I go there, I will stay in the housing for the first year probably and move out... It's just SO expensive for a mediocore living environment. (or so I hear)

I plan on reading some books on Cinematography and doing some other stuff to see if I really want to do this as my career. I'd rather buy some expensive books than spend all that money on Columbia (or another film school) and later drop-out.

Good training, if you've got access to a video camera, is to make your own movies for practice, but impose crazy handicaps on yourself. Give yourself 2 weeks to plan and shoot a 2 minute silent film [absolutely no use of sound, and don't use title cards either except for opening and closing], shoot no more than 5 minutes worth of takes. You can only actually use the camera for 2 days. Then another week to edit it, no digital alteration, and no transitions; only straight cuts. No compromises, no excuses. If you can do this successfully, you'll be prepared for the early production courses. They may change it all around by the time you get there, though; I don't know.
  • 0

#7 Michael Kernan

Michael Kernan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

Posted 09 October 2006 - 07:28 AM

Roger that. :)


If I go to Columbia I will go for the more technical side. Quite frankly, I want to be a camera man, not a writer and not really a director. I think that is going to be a handicap in upon itself, because I will have to be on the lookout for good scripts. I'm gonna get a group of my friends to help me with a few films and see how they go.
  • 0


Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Abel Cine

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

CineTape

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

CineLab