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State funded Universities on the West Coast


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#1 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 10:51 PM

Hello, my name is Matthew Greiner.

I have been poking through some of the threads on here and looking at different places to study Cinematography but am not completely satisfied with my findings.

I'm not 100% sure what exact position I'm planning to pursue but a few options I have come up with are as follows; Producer, Camera-Operator, or Film Editor.

I want to attend a four-year University so that I can achieve a Bachelor's degree and have something to fall back on in case working in the film-industry doesn't work out or takes awhile to get into. At the same time, I also think I want to attend a state funded school so that tuition fees aren't through the roof. I know places like UCLA and USC are well known for their film programs but I don't think they're all that realistic.

I live in Washington state but am willing to attend out of state schools in order to get the proper education although if possible I would prefer to reside on the west coast. However, if necessary I am prepared to vacate elsewhere.

In Washington I've basically only found Washington State University that offers a film program and in California I only know of a few branches of California State so far that have film departments.

If anybody has attended or knows of any state funded schools offering film majors that meet the above requirements and could please post them in a reply to my thread it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Matthew
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#2 Alex M. White

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:07 PM

Hey Matthew,

I would recommend you check out Montana State University's School of Film and Photography program in person as soon as possible. The website is rather underwhelming - http://sfp.montana.edu - but I just graduated from the program and I am very happy and thankful for my education. I do not work or represent MSU in any way, I am simply a recent graduate (Class of 2009).

The MSU Film undergraduate program, now in it's 50th year, is extremely competitive: freshmen year there are over 200 students, but since the major is in such a high demand only the top 48 students are allowed through "the gate" to sophomore year. The unique thing about MSU is that you are required to take nine courses your sophomore year in every aspect of production: Producing, Screenwriting, Directing, Acting, Cinematography, Lighting, Production Design, Sound, and Editing. You may never have wanted to take some of the courses, but it makes you a much more well-rounded filmmaker. For example, while I knew I would never wanted to be an actor, taking the Acting course made me a better director of photography because I became more sensitive to the acting process and now I handle myself technically in a better way on set: calling out for lights during the setup for a dramatic scene, announcing to the actor when I am moving in for a close-up that would interfere with their personal space, small little things you would never think of if you hadn't had that experience on the other side of the lens.

Another great thing is that you can define your own focus/concentration as much as you want when making thesis projects. Some people, like myself, know they want to do one specific thing and can hone their skills. Other people maybe want to do both directing and editing, or writing and sound, etc; you aren't locked into a single track or one filmmaking position. You can gain experience doing whatever your passion is. For me, it was cinematography, and I was DP on more than five thesis films and on camera crew/gaffer on dozens of other projects.

The equipment is pretty remarkable for a state university undergraduate program, and one of the best parts is you learn on film. Not to start a film versus digital discussion on this thread, but there is something to be said about the discipline a young filmmaker gains when being taught and learning how to shoot on film. There are Bolexs, Canon Scoopics, Arri S/SB/M, Aatons, ARRI SRI and two great Arri SRII packages; as well as PD-150s, DVXs, and HVX-200s with P2 cards as far as cameras go. There is also tons of lighting + grip kits, sound equipment, camera support + accessories, etc. All of this equipment is available for student projects at no extra charge (besides a lab fee you pay with tuition at the beginning of the semester). There is also a sound stage/studio, sound mixing studio with ADR booth, screening theaters, Final Cut editing lab with over 15 computers with Final Cut Studio 2 + Adobe Creative Suite, as well as two Senior Edit Bays (which have the latest hardware and upgrades for seniors in the film program) as well as an HD Online Bay.

The MSU Film program is unique blend of film theory + a large emphasis of hands-on learning. Most classes are setup where you learn the theory behind a filmmaking aspect in a lecture, and later that week you apply what you've learned in studio. The beginning of your sophomore year, I think about the second week in, you are given a Canon Scoopic and a 100' of 16mm film and you have to shoot a project in just those 100 Feet.

Lectures have about 48 students in them, and labs only have 15 students in them, so with such a small class size you can get a great deal of face time with the professor if you want to. Once you've made it through the gate, it's a very familial program. Everyone has their professor's home/cell phone numbers and calls each other by first name. You bond and become very close with your classmates who more than likely will end up as some of your best friends and best contacts when you graduate.

The school gives you all of the equipment and facilities to make them in, but as far as thesis projects you have to fund them yourself. This made sound like a con, but having recently started making my way into "the real world" and the film industry, it's actually an incredible pro. Other California film schools have student thesis short film budgets of upwards of $40000 to $60000. The average MSU senior thesis film has a budget of anywhere between $500-$7000. What I have come to realize is that during my time in school, we all had to be resourceful and figure out how to have high production value and make a film look great on a small budget, not to mention every film is completely student produced. Other schools hire DPs and entire crews to make their films, but at MSU the entire crew is students. The humbleness and resourcefulness you gain is invaluable once you venture into the real world.

If you did well on the ACT, there is a Western Undergraduate Exchange program (WUE) that you should look into if you come to MSU, which at least for the first year or two you can pay Washington in-state tuition while attending MSU. I really don't know the details, but it's worth looking into for certain. It sounds like MSU might be a great option for you: reasonable tuition (around $20,000 for out-of-state tuition per year), near the West Coast & Washington, a four-year university offering dozens of Bachelors degrees outside of filmmaking (students have been known to double major in Film & something else, although not many do since it is such an intensive program), and a film department that puts out good films and great people: Oscar winners, Emmy winners, Sundance winners, ASC members, and more; and on the other end of the spectrum recent graduates who are trained and experienced enough to get work on a consistent basis, which four years from now when you're looking for work is a huge deal.

I just touched on the program briefly, but if you have any other questions or want details on specific aspects of the MSU School of Film & Photography, please write me back. I'd be happy to answer.

Good luck with your search!
Alex
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#3 Matthew Greiner

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 05:22 PM

Alex, Thank you so very much for your reply. I've bookmarked the school's website and will most likely add it to my list of schools. You put a lot of effort and good information into your post and I greatly appreciate it.



Hey Matthew,

I would recommend you check out Montana State University's School of Film and Photography program in person as soon as possible. The website is rather underwhelming - http://sfp.montana.edu - but I just graduated from the program and I am very happy and thankful for my education. I do not work or represent MSU in any way, I am simply a recent graduate (Class of 2009).

The MSU Film undergraduate program, now in it's 50th year, is extremely competitive: freshmen year there are over 200 students, but since the major is in such a high demand only the top 48 students are allowed through "the gate" to sophomore year. The unique thing about MSU is that you are required to take nine courses your sophomore year in every aspect of production: Producing, Screenwriting, Directing, Acting, Cinematography, Lighting, Production Design, Sound, and Editing. You may never have wanted to take some of the courses, but it makes you a much more well-rounded filmmaker. For example, while I knew I would never wanted to be an actor, taking the Acting course made me a better director of photography because I became more sensitive to the acting process and now I handle myself technically in a better way on set: calling out for lights during the setup for a dramatic scene, announcing to the actor when I am moving in for a close-up that would interfere with their personal space, small little things you would never think of if you hadn't had that experience on the other side of the lens.

Another great thing is that you can define your own focus/concentration as much as you want when making thesis projects. Some people, like myself, know they want to do one specific thing and can hone their skills. Other people maybe want to do both directing and editing, or writing and sound, etc; you aren't locked into a single track or one filmmaking position. You can gain experience doing whatever your passion is. For me, it was cinematography, and I was DP on more than five thesis films and on camera crew/gaffer on dozens of other projects.

The equipment is pretty remarkable for a state university undergraduate program, and one of the best parts is you learn on film. Not to start a film versus digital discussion on this thread, but there is something to be said about the discipline a young filmmaker gains when being taught and learning how to shoot on film. There are Bolexs, Canon Scoopics, Arri S/SB/M, Aatons, ARRI SRI and two great Arri SRII packages; as well as PD-150s, DVXs, and HVX-200s with P2 cards as far as cameras go. There is also tons of lighting + grip kits, sound equipment, camera support + accessories, etc. All of this equipment is available for student projects at no extra charge (besides a lab fee you pay with tuition at the beginning of the semester). There is also a sound stage/studio, sound mixing studio with ADR booth, screening theaters, Final Cut editing lab with over 15 computers with Final Cut Studio 2 + Adobe Creative Suite, as well as two Senior Edit Bays (which have the latest hardware and upgrades for seniors in the film program) as well as an HD Online Bay.

The MSU Film program is unique blend of film theory + a large emphasis of hands-on learning. Most classes are setup where you learn the theory behind a filmmaking aspect in a lecture, and later that week you apply what you've learned in studio. The beginning of your sophomore year, I think about the second week in, you are given a Canon Scoopic and a 100' of 16mm film and you have to shoot a project in just those 100 Feet.

Lectures have about 48 students in them, and labs only have 15 students in them, so with such a small class size you can get a great deal of face time with the professor if you want to. Once you've made it through the gate, it's a very familial program. Everyone has their professor's home/cell phone numbers and calls each other by first name. You bond and become very close with your classmates who more than likely will end up as some of your best friends and best contacts when you graduate.

The school gives you all of the equipment and facilities to make them in, but as far as thesis projects you have to fund them yourself. This made sound like a con, but having recently started making my way into "the real world" and the film industry, it's actually an incredible pro. Other California film schools have student thesis short film budgets of upwards of $40000 to $60000. The average MSU senior thesis film has a budget of anywhere between $500-$7000. What I have come to realize is that during my time in school, we all had to be resourceful and figure out how to have high production value and make a film look great on a small budget, not to mention every film is completely student produced. Other schools hire DPs and entire crews to make their films, but at MSU the entire crew is students. The humbleness and resourcefulness you gain is invaluable once you venture into the real world.

If you did well on the ACT, there is a Western Undergraduate Exchange program (WUE) that you should look into if you come to MSU, which at least for the first year or two you can pay Washington in-state tuition while attending MSU. I really don't know the details, but it's worth looking into for certain. It sounds like MSU might be a great option for you: reasonable tuition (around $20,000 for out-of-state tuition per year), near the West Coast & Washington, a four-year university offering dozens of Bachelors degrees outside of filmmaking (students have been known to double major in Film & something else, although not many do since it is such an intensive program), and a film department that puts out good films and great people: Oscar winners, Emmy winners, Sundance winners, ASC members, and more; and on the other end of the spectrum recent graduates who are trained and experienced enough to get work on a consistent basis, which four years from now when you're looking for work is a huge deal.

I just touched on the program briefly, but if you have any other questions or want details on specific aspects of the MSU School of Film & Photography, please write me back. I'd be happy to answer.

Good luck with your search!
Alex


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Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Visual Products

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies