USC, UCLA and NYU remain at the top of the film school food chain, but even they are changing as other schools like the New York Film Academy or Full Sail have arrived and gained traction. What’s happening?
We wrote a while back about der Film Akademie Baden-Württemberg, a German film school where the tuition was zero and the relationship with industry established from the very beginning.
This is a very different model from U.S. programs: der Film Akademie is essentially a vocational school.
You could argue that Full Sail is the same thing (except Full Sail charges infinitely more, and their relationship to industry is far less clear).
What IS clear is that the film school business in the U.S. is changing because it has to: the economics and relevancy of it have turned upside down. With extraordinary advances in filmmaking technology and price points unthinkable just a few years ago, suddenly it’s dramatically easier and cheaper to get first-hand experience on one’s own with the purchase of a laptop and a DSLR than going into debt to attend film school.
Still, there is no easy substitute for the friendships and connections one can make at the big three.
What do you think, dear readers? How important is film school today? How important has film school been to you personally? Knowing what you do now, what would you have done differently if you'd had the chance?
Film School, for Profit or Not
Via NY Times:
For a university dedicated to flashy disciplines like film and music recording, Full Sail at first glance has a rather unflashy campus. To find it, you drive north from the Orlando airport to Winter Park on one of those tedious Florida streets lined with telephone poles, drainage ditches and chain restaurants. Eventually you reach a Wendy’s and a Ker’s WingHouse. Behind them sits Full Sail.
Yes, that crescent-shaped structure is a defunct mini-mall. Full Sail expanded into it, gutting the inside. Outside, it still looks like, well, a defunct mini-mall, but its technological facilities would make many traditional film schools drool.
And then there’s The Truck, an 18-wheeler tricked out with brushed stainless steel, purple mood lighting and interactive exhibits — a “mobile experience” lab that travels to and recruits from military bases and high schools. Inside the semitrailer, which is painted to resemble a galaxy of stars (the space kind, not the people kind), potential pupils can play student-made video games, watch student film clips and even give audio engineering a whirl.
“People always react like that,” said a grinning Jacob Abercrombie, a Full Sail events manager, as a visitor stood blinking, unable to absorb the setup in a single scan.
Full Sail is a for-profit vocational school, but entertainment-focused institutions of all kinds are increasingly relying on assertive sales pitches and ever-more-elaborate facilities as they compete for a generation reared on YouTube and GoPro cameras.
Read full article at NY Times “Film School, for Profit or Not”
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(cover photo credit: snap from NY Times)
And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
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