Film production acceptance without a portfolio?

  1. Would a drama theater student interested in film production even have a chance without a film portfolio? Attending small high schools along with two years of covid really made an impact on availability.

  2. What schools would she have greater chances?

Just trying to be realistic before navigating down that path…Thank you!

I can’t answer comment on acceptances. But I’d be surprised to see a candidate without one and I think the school will be too. You don’t need a class or a budget or fancy equipment or any training to make films. Kids are interested in film…just make films. My kid just went to a competitive film camp this summer for the first time which required multiple submissions. I think he made his first movie at ten. The camp was just for post-pandemic fun.

If she doesn’t have a portfolio, start creating now.

There are colleges that offer film majors that do not accept by major and therefore don’t require a portfolio. Pitt, for example, has its film major in the School of Arts and Sciences. Anyone in the school can select the major. I’m not very familiar with it but my son looked at it for a bit and I know they have a production track. There’s probably more schools like this out there if you look for them.


It also depends on the college - not all schools with a film program - either production or film studies will require a portfolio especially the liberal arts schools that don’t have you apply by major like: Vassar, Kenyon, Wes, Carleton and others.
Others can correct me, if I am wrong.

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This is not my area of expertise, but I imagine there are schools where you could child could major in film without a film portfolio. This list of schools might interest you and each school’s name links to its film department: Best Colleges for Film

I didn’t look at many programs, but Ithaca doesn’t appear to have special entry requirements for the major. Georgia State has no entry requirements, but to declare a minor or major (or take upper-level classes) need at least a 2.5 GPA from two different film classes. The UNC-Wilmington program requires admission to the major after taking Intro to Film Study, and admission is limited and is based on the grade from that class.

My guess is that most liberal arts colleges will not require a portfolio for entry to the major (probably Carleton, DePauw, Oberlin, etc). The more experience your student has, the likelier a positive result will occur in any prereqs to declaring the major.

There are definitely Film options besides the elite programs. Some of them do not require a portfolio at all. Some admit as pre-Film majors and then require a portfolio by the end of Sophomore year.

Looks like you have suggestions so far in the East and Midwest. If you are looking in the West, do a search under Major/Program on the WUE site. Montana State and University of Utah come to mind for Film. There are also multiple CSU campuses that have Film production programs. Just as one example, SDSU has both a Theater program and a Film program, all within the same College, in case your student wants to participate in both. CSULB and CSUN are also well-known for their Film programs.

ETA: Note that some of the “Best Colleges for Film” programs, like the UC campuses, are study/analysis based, and not hands-on production-based if that is what your student is looking for.

So yah.
I think you get accepted to the university then enroll in the school at some point.

My nephew years ago did this program. They also have minors and certificate in film so you have options.

So… There must be many schools that you can do this at.

There are schools where film portfolios aren’t required for admission. I’m trying to remember S21’s process. I don’t DePaul or Drexel required a portfolio. Probably Penn State too.

For anyone considering applying to the top 20 or so film schools for film production its really important to familiarize yourself with each application because they are all so completely different in their requirements. Most of the tops want to see a film but not all (example: UCLA has a lot of additional writing supplements but no film). But the majority of top film production schools they want to see at least one short film. If it’s good you will also likely be offered merit money. Chapman has a specific prompt to create to, all the others you can create anything but in general most prefer narrative. They want to see you can tell a story.