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Best Affordable Film School...


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#1 Benjamin L

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 10:25 AM

Hello,

I'm currently looking to go into cinematography as a great way to get into the film industry, or at least best fitting for me. There are many film schools that seem good, but very expensive. I don't live in California, so it obviously would cost me a large sum of money to get into many of those film schools.

Are there any really good film schools in California that would be more affordable? (I say California because I have heard that location has best.)

Someone told me that he went to SDSU in California, and it doesn't look to cost nearly as much, but it also looks a little lower in quality, and it would also be better to have other options, as it isn't at all definite that I could get into it. So are there any film schools that will really help me get into the film industry, and also be more affordable?


Thank You,



-Ben
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:19 PM

Who says you need film school? The other option is sink 20K or so into a camera system and some lighting and go out and work. Whether that works for you or not is up to you (personally I worked with my dad as a kid, then went to film school, and only at the very end of film school ever invested in any kit).
There are also very good schools in NY (Columbia, NYU come to mind) , here in Philadelphia I really liked my college, Temple University, and there's Columbia out in Chicago. California has a lot more, probably, but after all it's a big industry out there. There's also SCAD in South Carolina, and tech schools such as Full Sail.
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#3 Rob Vogt

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:51 PM

SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is in Georgia... In North Carolina there is UNC School of the Arts, which is very highly rated amongst undergrad film schools, and not too expensive either.

It would probably help to know where you are, so we can name some schools around you. There's also a member on here who's listed and given links to a fairly large amount of film schools listed by state. I'm sure he'll be responding soon ;)
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 12:55 PM

Woops, I'm bad with acronyms :P it is Savannah (for some reason I kept thinking South Carolina Art and Design, brain death)
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#5 Rob Vogt

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:00 PM

Ha i always used to think the same thing with USC... I mean UNC, USC makes sense???
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:04 PM

My word-disassociation is why i often call for a "whoo-ba-lee-who" on sets... or a "ya know!" Be prepared ;) (P.s. still waiting on more spec for nov, things a bit hectic here with shoots atm, but i'll let you know more as soon as I know more)
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:11 PM

Hello,

I'm currently looking to go into cinematography as a great way to get into the film industry, or at least best fitting for me. There are many film schools that seem good, but very expensive. I don't live in California, so it obviously would cost me a large sum of money to get into many of those film schools.

Are there any really good film schools in California that would be more affordable? (I say California because I have heard that location has best.)

Someone told me that he went to SDSU in California, and it doesn't look to cost nearly as much, but it also looks a little lower in quality, and it would also be better to have other options, as it isn't at all definite that I could get into it. So are there any film schools that will really help me get into the film industry, and also be more affordable?


Thank You,



-Ben


Hi Ben.

First know that no filmschool will really "help" you get into the film industry. While you might learn some theory and get to experiment in controlled situations, the degree won't mean anything when it comes to going out in the real world to build a career and make a living.

The number one thing that will "help" you get into the film industry is to understand exactly how it all works. Learn about all of the departments on set and off, what they really do, what their needs are, and how everyone works together. There are a couple of routes to becoming a DP. One is to start from the "bottom" and work up. Begin as a Loader and over time (years), move up the ranks until MAYBE you will have learned enough and have met the right people who will "let you" be a DP on their movie, TV show, or commercial.

Or, learn enough to get started (about lighting and camera) and just jump in and start shooting free and really low-budget productions. You'll learn as you go, trusting in your crew (Grip, Electric, Camera) until, hopefully, you'll have built up a good enough reputation and body of work that enables someone to trust you enough that they'll pay you to be a DP. This route will be very low income for quite some time as opposed to option one where you can likely start working for real money sooner than later.

This is just brushing the surface of what it will take you to build a career as a DP in the professional industry. I urge you to check out the links below (in my signature) for the book "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood." Read chapters 1-5 first, then skip to the Camera Department section. Then move on to the rest of the chapters for a more complete picture of the industry and what you're getting yourself into.

When thinking about which formal education to get, keep in mind that the degree itself is meaningless for most below-the-line crew, including the DP. It's what you can do and who you know that makes the difference. So choosing a school that WILL teach A LOT about lighting in different situations and can offer bonuses, like Industry Speakers and "Set visits" so you can start seeing the theory being applied in real world situations.

For the most comprehensive list of filmschools available anywhere, visit http://www.realfilmcareer.com and click on the "Filmschools" link at the top.

Good luck!
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:20 PM

The number one thing that will "help" you get into the film industry is to understand exactly how it all works. Learn about all of the departments on set and off, what they really do, what their needs are, and how everyone works together.


One has to seriously question these film schools and their ability to help students in any way. I base this on the high number of posters we get on this board who start a thread some thing like this:

"I just graduated from film school, what do I do now? How do I get work....."

You would think this would be covered for at least five minutes at a "film school."

R,
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:25 PM

They're often too busy making one watch The Odessa Steps Sequence. Also, I don't think any of 'em have the magic formula for getting work :/
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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:30 PM

They're often too busy making one watch The Odessa Steps Sequence.


That's actually very funny! I can't count how many times I watched the damn thing.

Also, I don't think any of 'em have the magic formula for getting work :/


True enough, if there was a formula we'd all use it. But.......they could at least spend a week or two on this and hand out some practical real world advice. What am I saying? a university education is the opposite of "practical real world advice" never mind :blink:

R,
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:33 PM

You and me both. Odessa and Meshes of the Afternoon. To my school's benefit, they did try to teach you and really pushed you out there to get an internship, and a few of my classmates have gone on to work steadily (mostly in post) and a few others notably went on to shoot some pretty fantastic stuff. Then there's me who; well I just shoot and make pictures as best I can.
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#12 Rob Vogt

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:42 PM

It have been nice if they offered career services with people who knew the film industry more. When I went in there and said I wanted to work at a rental house, they said ooh that's a new one does ABC have a rental house? Then I mentioned Panavision, to which they replied, what's Panavision...

I'm not trying to knock people for not knowing these things. I've been immersed in this for a long time that I don't know what is common knowledge and what is industry specific, it would be nice to see administrators who have had industry knowledge and not just the professors per say.
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 01:47 PM

Bottom line is that the film industry can in no way absorb all of the new film school grads produced every year. I would be surprised if even 5% made it into the "industry" out of school each year. For every position there are 200 qualified applicants and this makes it so tough for new grads trying to get a foot hold.

From an investment point of view film school is a terrible idea. What you get in return for your time and money is usually very very little.

I can't believe how many dozens of resumes I have on file that list a four year film school. Followed by: Current Employer, Star Bucks.

I mean did this person really need a four year university degree to work at Star Bucks? Kind of silly isn't it?

Now of course this also happens to other majors as well, psych, English, history, etc, all have notorious reputations. I know a guy who's psych degree qualified him to work along side high school students filling popcorn and drink orders at the multi-plex.

Oh well, it's tough all around :lol:

R,
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 02:45 PM

As I write this, sitting in a Starbucks, I am at once thrilled and let down that a lot of "art" people work in 'em. On the one hand, they normally don't charge me for my coffee, on the other hand, as I often meet with people at this particular starbucks to talk 'bout shoots (it's actually a rather nice starbucks big comfy leather chairs, not too loud and just neighborhood people here; and the only thing open late at night aside from a pub) I can't help but notice how "evesdropped" on I am :/
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#15 Benjamin L

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:03 PM

Thanks Everybody. ^_^

I'm just wondering, if I don't go to film school, are you suggesting that I work my way into the industry right after graduating high school?

I mean, now a days so many people have a college education that it may actually seem very below average to just have a high school diploma. Now sure, I didn't expect film school to help me learn all too much helpful info. I also didn't expect it to be able to show off to producers...

I'm just saying, how do I start moving up that ladder with just a high school diploma?

Also, who here is in the proffessional industry? I won't look down on anyone who isn't, I would just feel more comfortable knowing where all of this is coming from.

Thanks to all of you. :)



-Ben
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:06 PM

Also, who here is in the proffessional industry?


Every one is.

I won't look down on anyone who isn't, I would just feel more comfortable knowing where all of this is coming from.


But we won't look down on you. Even though we are professionals and you are not.

R,
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#17 Benjamin L

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:13 PM

Every one is.



But we won't look down on you. Even though we are professionals and you are not.

R,



I'm sorry, I should have worded that differently.

What I meant to say was, I won't take your advice as less valuable.

I hope it didn't come across the wrong way.

Thank You, you have all been very helpful. :D



-Ben
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#18 Benjamin L

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:18 PM

Also,

If I don't go to Film School, how do I make connections?

Thanks,

-Ben
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#19 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:35 PM

Also,

If I don't go to Film School, how do I make connections?

Thanks,

-Ben

Get an intern job sweeping floors, anything at a grip, electric or camera rental facility.
Be humble, efficient, personable, observant, patient and intelligent.
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#20 Ryan Thomas

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:43 PM

I went to a school in San Francisco called the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. It was only a year long and pretty hands on, also by the end of it the school put all the students on a feature with a bunch of people who work in the bay area. It was sorta pricey, but you'll definitely come out of it with some real world experience. Worth a look...

Edited by Ryan Thomas, 13 September 2009 - 03:43 PM.

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Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

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Opal

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Tai Audio