Film Schools In Los Angeles
Film Schools In Los Angeles - Start A Career In Hollywood
I'm Jerry the Prof, the owner of this web site and I get emails constantly asking my advice about film schools in Los Angeles and how to get in to start a career in filmmaking.
I'll give you my opinion of the most highly regarded Los Angeles film schools but you should also be warned. Read this quote from a friend of mine.
"I struggled to get into the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and worked hard to graduate near the top of my class. I was looking forward to a career as a screenplay writer when I discovered the reality of a film school degree.
"No one I interviewed with was the least bit interested in what I had done in school. The best job I was finally able to find in the industry was as a secretary at Fox Television Network. I hoped this would put me on the inside where my scripts would get noticed. Instead I was ignored and I watched as women with nothing more than high-school diplomas were hired into the same secretarial position as me.
"After two years of struggling I quit when one of these secretaries was promoted to be my boss and gave me a bad review. I would never again consider a job in the film industry, I feel I was totally misled as to the value of a film degree by UCLA and I'm still paying off my $50,000 loan."
Jennifer S. - UCLA Film School Grad
I hear this kind of feedback all too often from film school graduates. All the same here are some Los Angeles film school options.
USC School of Cinematic Arts is the oldest film school founded in the 1920s in conjunction with major Hollywood studios to provide a way to train "assembly line workers" for the "film factories" of the day with the cost of training shifted to the students. USC Film school is generally considered one of the three best traditional graduate film schools in the United States if not the world. It is difficult to get accepted and the tuition and other costs are very high. George Lukas is probably the most famous graduate. Steven Spielberg was denied admission. This school has the most impressive list of achievements by its graduates but with the thousands of students that have attended in the last 80 years you would assume there would be some winners.
UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television doesn't have quite the history of the USC school but never the less is very highly regarded and boast an impressive list of alumni. Notable students include Francis Ford Coppola and like USC the school is difficult to get in to and the tuition and other costs are very high.
Besides these giants the Los Angeles area sees a constantly changing offering of schools to satisfy the hunger of students looking for an easy, sure path to Hollywood glamour and success. A "for-profit" university corporation The Art Institutes has put a local branch in nearly every Southern California town it seems. Acceptance is easy, tuition is high and the feedback I've gotten from graduates is rather poor.
Several of the communities in the Los Angeles area offer film courses in local community colleges. You will need to do some research as to the current offerings in your area. These community colleges are often excellent for learning filmmaking basics and the costs are very low. They seem to place as many students in internships and jobs in the industry as the big names schools.
Film Schools In Los Angeles - The High Failure Rate
Despite the glamour and reputation of LA film schools the actual percentage of graduates who achieve success is dismally low. One respected film school educator has estimated that over 90% of top L. A. film school graduates fail to find satisfying work in the industry and will completely leave the field within a few years of graduation. Many in the industry agree with the following list:
- Film schools are extremely expensive for the quality of instruction you get
- Film school degrees don't guarantee a decent job and are even considered a joke by some in the industry
- Even the best film schools don't teach the creativity, entrepreneurship and independence that marks most successful filmmakers
- There are quicker and less expensive ways to learn filmmaking skills
It has been pointed out that a business or law degree is more useful for getting the highest paid executive desk jobs in Hollywood. If you are interested in real hands-on work creating films on a movie set then you might want to consider some of the very low-cost personal study educational options reviewed here before you sign up for a 4 year film school:
Film School Secrets - Why Not Create Your Own?
You may find it hard to believe but the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood are mostly or completely self-taught. They are people who really wanted to tell stories with film and so they found the training they needed as they went along from what ever sources were available.
You can do it too! Especially with the Internet today you are surounded by all the information you need to be a filmmaker. Much of it will cost you little or nothing. Pick a few beginning books or DVDs to master the basic concepts, or find a movie set where you can volunteer as a production assistant, then keep broadening your skills as necessary. Start making the films that interest you in whatever way and with whatever equipment is available to you.
Pros and cons of a DIY film school vs. an organized, expensive film school
- Actually gets you started as a filmmaker rather than learning a lot of theory that is useless in starting a career.
- Following your own interests and actually doing what you are interested in will literally save you years of your life and thousands of dollars getting started as a filmmaker.
- A tiny fraction of the cost
- You will get just the training you need as fast as you need it.
- You won't have someone leading you by the nose to learn every detail about movie making. You will need to continue learning as you continue in your new career.
- You will need a little self-discipline to keep going.
- Your friends and family may not believe you until they see your name in the credits on the big screen
By the time you would have completed the first semester of film school you will already be a filmmaker.
There is no risk. Below are some good resources for taking the first step.
What are you waiting for?
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