Sunday, February 24, 2013

Which is the Best Film School?

As person who attended two of the most famed film schools, I often get asked which film program is the best. Historically, Nyu and Usc have been known as the 'big two' of film schools with each trading off over the years for bragging possession as to the school with the more prestigious alumni and pedigree. Following up close behind are Ucla as well as Columbia. In truth, while Usc and Nyu claim a long list of flourishing graduates and alumni that have had famed careers after attending them, all these programs are worthwhile depending on what you are trying to get out of them.

Before choosing a film school it is important to understand a few things. First, film is an entrepreneurial business. Nobody is going to hand you a job, you have to generate opportunities for yourself. Your talent and craft can be worked on and honed but at the end of the day your group and networking skills as well as your ingenuity in getting funding or sponsors for your projects are skills that are just as important as the potential of your filmmaking or writing.

With that said, it would make sense that the schools that afford you the most opportunities to network with pro contacts in the manufactures have the most success at their students obtaining work. This is why Usc and Nyu have traditionally had the most numbers of working professionals come out of their schools. Both schools have large programs with alumni in all facets of the business. Both schools also have extensive internship programs as well as active alumni participation.

Other schools such as Ucla and Columbia while having potential programs, don't have the sheer estimate of graduates, although Ucla is close. For this reason, although the yield and historical schooling you will receive at these programs is top notch, there are fewer direct opportunities to network with Alumni and a comparatively smaller network of professionals to approach during and after school.

Another top notch program that one should reconsider is the Afi program. While smaller than some of the other programs it is run by the American Film build with top notch instructors and a very 'hands on' approach. It does not any way have quite the extent of facilities that the Nyu and Usc programs provide.

Another important thing to keep in mind is how the cities where you go to school will influence your work development. New York and Los Angeles have very separate film cultures. While Usc is settled in the heart of the Hollywood film industry, it has close ties to the technical, yield and post yield associates of Los Angeles and an extensive network in the 'studio system' of filmmaking. Nyu, settled in New York, while having a fair share of industrial directors as it's alumni also has stronger 'artistic' or 'independent' film religious doctrine and ties.

During the 70's and 80's a look at the directors that came out of each program showed the incompatibility in styles and filmmaking content. While George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis graduated from Usc, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Oliver Stone attended Nyu. In more modern years however, both schools have had a estimate of flourishing as well as 'independent' filmmakers come out of their programs. From a personal standpoint, in my caress Usc gave greater emphasis on the technical yield skills of filmmaking while Nyu seemed to stress the story and artistic elements more. Both any way offer ample opportunity for a trainee to study both.


Post a Comment