DePaul film school?

Does DePaul have a good film program?? I saw it listed in several ‘Top Film Schools’ rankings, but now that I am searching other reviews, I’ve seen a lot of negative points on it. I am considering going there for screenwriting! Please help!

I will jump in here since no one else has…

DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts might be the most underrated film program in the country. The program’s leadership is pretty new, forward thinking and there several interesting developments are in the pipeline. SCA just cut a collaboration deal with Second City to create a new Comedy Filmmaking concentration. The present freshman class is the very first one to come in - between the DePaul and Second City faculties, there are a lot of talented, experienced teachers to work with.

Its Cinespace 35000 square foot production facilities are impressive - significantly better than several higher ranked programs. Plus several network/streaming series are shooting their episodes in Chicago and using Cinespace for standing sets. The program has good Red Epic, Arri and Canon C300 camera packages of various levels that are readily accessible to students qualified to use them. There’s an LA trimester option for those seeking internships and H’wood connections.

The program could put more attention on student communications, social events within the SCA, helping students find opportunities in the Chicago professional tv and theatre scenes. It’s not as lively or connected as it could be. DePaul in general is a university with several first rate programs but it just doesn’t sell itself as cleverly or aggressively as other universities. It may be a Midwestern thing, who knows?

As it is, DePaul’s SCA is in a sweet spot - not crazy difficult to get into, significantly less expensive than some East Coast and California programs and scholarships are available. Good luck!

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A somewhat biased opinion since I am a DePaul grad, but out here in California, the DePaul name has very good name recognition and reputation in the video industries in both the LA area and in Northern Cal.

Hi, my son is applying to DePaul’s school of Cinematic Arts and is debating if he should do a BFA concentration vs a BA. He is interested in several aspects of filmmaking (especially: Editing, screenwriting, directing and visual effects). Do you know if the BA program is a strong program that covers these concentrations in depth? How much does a BFA concentration in Editing for example, touch upon other aspects of filmmaking in the program. Thank you in advance for any advice.

At most schools, a BA will cover more aspects than a BFA. At Depaul, a BFA let’s you choose between different concentrations, as opposed to the BA which covers everything. I’d suggest your son start out with a BA and then transition to a BFA once he figures out the concentration he likes. The main difference between a BA and a BFA is the amount of hands-on learning. A BA is more likely to be more of a “film studies” program and less of a “film production” program.

My daughter is BFA-sound concentration. She has to touch in each major area, with more in sound and editing.

I am wondering what would be best for me. I applied to the program as a BA, although I am thinking of switching to a BFA. I am very interested in production and I feel that a BFA might be more beneficial for gaining experience for an internship and a job after school.

Does DePaul offer any of their film courses online? I was interested in the cinematography or editing as they concentrate on the technical aspect, but I can’t relocate.

@Hammy83 No. Depaul does not offer online film courses, as most film coursework at any school is hands-on.

It seems that DePaul’s film school is decently ranked. Why do you say it’s underrated?

@AlbieVic People overlook Depaul because the overall university doesn’t match up to the caliber of the film school. Depaul may have an amazing film program, but many people pass it up for name-brand schools like NYU, UCLA, or USC which have a better overall reputation.

@izrk02 In our case, with a scholarship grant that halves the total cost of attendance, I am not sure the other schools would be worth the difference - particularly in an industry where talent or the lack thereof trumps the school’s prestige. Granting that NYU, UCLE and USC are more prestigious, it’s not like DePaul is run off the mill; the university is a decent school to say the least. My views would be different if this is law school or b-school. Agreed?

@AlbieVic What I’m saying is that a lot of film students don’t even bother to apply because they THINK it doesn’t have the prestige just because of overall acceptance rate and test score averages.

Yes, fully understood.

From that perspective, do you think it is more prestigious to attend a film or animation program in an art school - even if the SAT scores and GPA averages are around the same if not lower in some of the better known art schools?

@AlbieVic I don’t think attending a film program at an art school is necessarily more prestigious. “Prestige” mostly just refers to acceptance rate and reputation of the school. Hence why NYU’s film program has more “prestige” than a place like Ringling, which is an art school. Because NYU is a household name with a low acceptance rate. Both have amazing film programs, but one has “prestige”. Prestige shouldn’t determine where someone goes to school, because it’s all subjective.

Absolutely. It’s all about branding. Someone recently wrote: “The strongest brand in the world is not Apple or Mercedes-Benz or Coca-Cola. The strongest brands are MIT, Oxford, and Stanford.” But we can’t say there is no value in prestige.