Which Film School to Choose?
We live in a time of plenty, and that includes plenty of film festivals. But just as political candidates need to differentiate themselves from the pack and the Land Rover has to separate itself from the Jeep Cherokee and the Rolex
Once you have decided that film school is the way to go, one of the main questions you have to answer is where to go? With so many to choose from, what criteria should you use?
Do you want to obtain a degree (two- or four-year) or do a more intensive, one-year program?
With film schools all over the world and some even offering film programs online, you can choose any destination you want. The location is important, but your decision should be based on what you want to gain and the direction you wish to follow. Does your interest lie in writing, producing, editing or any of the other careers? Do you want to become part of the Hollywood industry or would you rather spend more time on the art of filmmaking?
Knowing what career in filming interests you most, will make it easier to find the right film school. Some film schools offer courses in most specialties, while others might focus on a specific career or direction. Attending the school that will push you and your career in the right direction will get you off to a good start. Animator: Creates animated movies, TV shows etc. Art Director: Responsible for creating the correct mood Camera Operator: Operates cameras during filming Cinematographer: Composes the shots Director: Involved in every aspect of production from casting to final product. Film/Video Editor: Responsible for putting everything together to capture the best shots. production. Producer: Manages the business and financial side of productions. Screen Writer: The screenwriter either writes a script from scratch or adapts other works into a script. Set Designer: Designs and oversees set construction. Sound Engineer: Records all sound during filming. Special Effects Director: Mainly uses computer to create attention-grabbing effects. Once you know your direction, a good starting point is to make a list of what you require and then start looking at the different film schools.
What are the school's strengths? Do they specialize in the career you are interested in? Who is on the faculty? What experience do the faculty members have? Are they currently involved with the industry? How is time divided between theoretical and practical training Do they offer a career placement service or internship opportunities? Do they offer students the opportunity to build a portfolio?
Before you jump in and apply, make sure the institution has accredited status. This means that their programs have been examined and approved by professionals in the film making industry. Studying at an accredited institution will also make it easier to obtain financial aid.
NASAD (The National Association of Schools of Art and Design) is in charge of establishing guidelines and standards that film schools should adhere to. They are also responsible for the accreditation of visual arts programs.
There are many opportunities for adult student to continue their education at film schools. Universities and colleges also offer classes to part-time students over weekends and on weeknights.
With techniques and technology always developing, continuing education seems to be necessary. Not only does it allow professionals to stay up to date with the latest developments, but also to learn new skills.
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