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Chapman MFA cinematography or calarts MFA cinematography


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#1 CINE

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 02:29 AM

Hello,
I have been thinking of applying to these two schools.

I was wondering which cinematography course will be more helpful to me.
I know that chapman cinematography is very good, but calarts has a more prestigious film reputation.
I know that reputation is a second product, however it will be definitely beneficial when opening a gate to the industry.
Please help help!!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:53 AM

CalArts doesn't have a specific cinematography program, only a couple of basic classes to get students shooting in film and video. It has nothing like the facilities of Chapman.
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#3 CINE

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:26 AM

CalArts doesn't have a specific cinematography program, only a couple of basic classes to get students shooting in film and video. It has nothing like the facilities of Chapman.

Thank you so much for the informations David Mullen!!
I recall you graduating from calarts MFA. How was the experience there as a cinematographer?
I am an international, and am planning to go to chapman, but its just that the school name is heard almost to none for internationals.
This worries me a lot as it could block me from many possibilities.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:11 PM

Thank you so much for the informations David Mullen!!
I recall you graduating from calarts MFA. How was the experience there as a cinematographer?
I am an international, and am planning to go to chapman, but its just that the school name is heard almost to none for internationals.
This worries me a lot as it could block me from many possibilities.


CalArts has a very loose program so I was able to shoot a lot of projects for different students, so it was great for me - but I was already more or less self-taught before I got there, which is why I got asked to shoot everyone's projects. A more structured program probably would have restricted me to a couple of projects as the cinematographer.

But they have not invested a lot of money into cameras there, last thing I saw was that they bought some EX3's. It's really more of an experimental art school than a traditional Hollywood-style film school.

In terms of future work, where you went to school doesn't matter much, what matters is your experience and knowledge, so go wherever you can get both.
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#5 Niels Lindelien

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 03:03 PM

I am a senior cinematographer in Chapman's undergraduate program, and it is excellent. There are differences in the graduate program, but all the grad cinematographers I know are very satisfied. Like Mr. Mullen said, it's about knowledge and experience. Chapman does a great job of teaching both. The faculty are excellent teachers, and there are so many projects shooting that you can be on set Thursday - Sunday any week you like. As far as I can tell, the equipment is second to none. Feel free to PM me if you want any questions answered.
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#6 CINE

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 05:33 PM

I am a senior cinematographer in Chapman's undergraduate program, and it is excellent. There are differences in the graduate program, but all the grad cinematographers I know are very satisfied. Like Mr. Mullen said, it's about knowledge and experience. Chapman does a great job of teaching both. The faculty are excellent teachers, and there are so many projects shooting that you can be on set Thursday - Sunday any week you like. As far as I can tell, the equipment is second to none. Feel free to PM me if you want any questions answered.

Thank you so much for the replies. This is helping me more than enough.
I had one question as to the future of chapman.
Did chapman's ranking ever go up after the construction of the studio?
Are there any internationals?
Sorry for several questions.
Thank you~~
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#7 Jonathan Michael Mahoney

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:08 AM

Thank you so much for the replies. This is helping me more than enough.
I had one question as to the future of chapman.
Did chapman's ranking ever go up after the construction of the studio?
Are there any internationals?
Sorry for several questions.
Thank you~~


I am an accepted student into the CALARTS film school starting in September. I too was basically deciding on Chapman a while back. Then I found Columbia, which seemed to be a much cheaper and much more liberal approach to a well rounded art school rather than a film school preparing students for the Hollywood studio system like chapman, in my opinion. I thought If I were to go to Columbia I might have more of a chance to work on more artistically driven projects, rather than the down to earth/easy to follow/ heavy FX narratives that for some reason I started to associate with Chapman after touring the campus.

I was days away from applying to Columbia in Chicago, when my younger brother introduced me to CALARTS. We looked at the acceptance rate and said, "Yeah there is no way we are getting in" but we both decided to apply, still thinking that we stood no chance.

I was accepted but he was not. We had both figured that if one of us was going to get in it would be him, being that we thought he was much more cut out for a Uber-liberal art school with the majority of educational style focusing on the critical and analytical practice and studies of filmmaking rather than the technical conservatory approach which I had already been fundamentally taught from at SCC.

Now I have moved to Valencia (last Sunday) and I am getting prepared to start classes at CALARTS.

I hope to take the same approach to CALARTS as David Mulllen. I was so glad to see this post and read what he said about the school. Because of its very anti Hollywood film school technical style of teaching I am apprehensive about going there, especially when the student body in the film program is sooo small! I was one of the 25 somthing accepted students into the film/video program this year.

But reading Mullen’s words have helped me to-- at least for the moment-- realize that it’s probably a perfect place for me to go while I attempt to shoot everyone’s projects. Also, by going to CALARTS rather than Chapman I feel that I have a better chance of winding up shooting something like the next Pans Labyrinth or Moulin Rouge with a cal arts education and resulting experience rather than the next Mean Girls or Knocked Up with a Chapman education. (Forgive the crude analogy, that most likely is unfair, wrong, and makes no real sense—but that’s how I feel.)

I guess in the end its just as David Mullen said, “In terms of future work, where you went to school doesn't matter much, what matters is your experience and knowledge, so go wherever you can get both.”
Hopefully I’m going to one of those places. 
-jon

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#8 Shaan Aslam

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 12:14 AM

CALARTS, at least from what I've seen and heard, would be more likely to produce the next Bill Viola. Chapman is, as stated above, is more slated to the "Hollywood" style, (and I use that term loosely). I was really into CALARTS when I was searching for colleges, but that was before I had the privilege of talking with a cinematographer in person. Just go where you'll get the most experience. I know a guy who goes to San Jose State University and started off the summer as a camera assistant for Water for Elephants, under Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC. Just as M. David Mullen, ASC said, EXPERIENCE is first and foremost.
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