Top Film Schools

What Are the Top Film Schools?Top Film Schools

If you do a google search for top film schools you’re going to find the same BS answers all over the place. But not here. Most people will say that NYU and USC are the top schools followed by UCLA and Columbia, blah blah blah.

The truth is there is no such thing as top film schools. The film industry is a business, and it’s a strange business with quirks you won’t find anywhere else. If you graduate from Harvard Business School chances are you’re going to get a good job in the business world. But graduating from one of the so called top film schools doesn’t mean a thing.

Consider this: more than 90% of working directors never went to film school. The famous ones who did attend top film schools graduated back in the 80s and 90s. Oliver Stone, George Lucas, etc. That’s a handful of guys fueling the dreams of thousands of filmmakers who just don’t get how the business works.

The best way to get into the film industry is to skip any “top film schools” and start getting on film sets. Now. That’s how James Cameron, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, and thousands of other filmmakers did it… you can’t even name me 20 film school grads who have that much notoriety.

Examine this for yourself. Check out AFI’s Alumni Page. It’s filled with very famous names of Directors and Producers; but they all graduated in the 1960s, 1970s, 80s, and 90s. In fact, you should try to find the name of one AFI grad who left school post 2000 who has directed or even produced a feature film. (Hint: there are 3 of them). Makes you wonder what is happening to all the grads from the years 2000-2013.

There’s absolutely no excuse why these top film schools are charging $40,000 a year to attend except for the fact that people are willing to pay it. NYU and USC are laughable. I know, sounds hard to believe. But basically, getting a Bachelor’s Degree in film is worthless. People in the business do not look upon you with respect for your degree; that degree means you wasted 2 years studying more history, statistics, and other nonsense classes rather than getting on a film set.

A BA is a good idea if you want to be an agent (like “Lloyd” in “Entourage”), but that’s all.

It’s 2013; maybe back in the 1960s, when George Lucas went to USC, it was a good idea. Back then you couldn’t buy an HD camera or rent videos on Netflix, or edit them on your home PC. Filmmaking was an expensive and slow moving trade, and schools were a great place to get your hands on expensive equipment for cheap. These days, kids at the Art Institutes are paying $90,000 to use Canon 7D cameras that cost $1,400 to buy. And the lessons?

Consider that you are a Producer; you are looking to hire a director for a feature film, or even a First AD. Would you hire the kid just out of school who has spent 4 years on student films, and just blew $200,000 in tuition plus $55,000 on his short film or someone who has experience on film sets and has a reputation for being a great worker? You’re going to hire the second one.

Full Sail is in Florida. Why would you go to Florida to learn filmmaking? New York Film Academy is a chop shop with lousy instruction and old equipment. Tribeca Flashpoint looks promising but it’s in Chicago. Art Institutes are all over the country but again way overpriced.

You should pay for film training, but not as much as a house!

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