Should I go to "film school" for undergrad or Graduate school?

<p>I'm really leaning towards going to a state school for my undergraduate degree and hopefully going to some place like USC or AFI for film school afterward. Is that actually better than getting a bachelor's in film? I just don't see the point in paying a huge amount of money just for an undergraduate degree.</p>

<p>I forgot to mention, the state university I would be attending does NOT have a film program but they do have a Radio-TV-Film degree. Also, would it be possible to major in something completely different (like Computer Science or Marketing) for undergrad but then turn around and go get an MFA in Film for grad school?</p>

<p>Getting an M.F.A. in film is much more valuable than getting an undergrad degree in it. It's also fine to major in something like computer science and then get an M.F.A. Getting into film school is all about your portfolio. </p>

<p>Btw, what state school are you looking at?</p>

<p>Auburn University</p>

<p>I think you have a good plan in mind. Take some film and english classes, but what you're doing is fine. Just make sure to put a lot of work into your portfolio.</p>

<p>The New York Times recently had an article that film school majors are having an incredibly hard time, even worse than usual. You may want to read that article. Even kids from USC are having hard times breaking in as receptionists.</p>

<p>You don't necessarily need a film school degree to break into Hollywood anyway. If you wanted to become say, a screenwriter, then you might be better off just writing, writing, writing, and then moving to LA once you think you have good enough material. Then you gradually work your way up the ladder, and that could take years. Breaking into Hollywood really is as hard as they say it is, so you have to be extremely confident that you're going to be able to pay off those loans while doing all those smaller, low-paying, jobs.</p>

<p>There's a lot of debate about rather a film school degree is necessary for Hollywood. What's most important is that you have the talent, connections (or ability to network), that you live or can move to somewhere where film and TV is made, and that you have the ambition and dedication to survive possibly decades of people telling you 'no' before you get that one 'yes'.</p>

<p>Well what do you all think would be a good undergrad degree that would either (1) allow me to get an MFA in Film later or (2) allow me to get a job in Cali where I could make some money while writing scripts on the side? </p>

<p>*Thanks for the responses :) They help quite a bit.</p>

<p>Your plan should depend on what you want to do... but the problem is, I don't think you <em>do</em> yet know what you will eventually want to do. Almost everyone enters film school expecting to be a director. In fact, as you make films in college, you should work many jobs and you might be surprised by what you do end up falling in love with. You might enjoy set design and art decoration; you might find a love for the management side and making things run smoothly on set (First Assistant Director), or working with actors (Second AD), or you may be a technical person (you mentioned CompSci) and fall in love with post-production work like editing or visual effects.</p>

<p>Where do you see yourself five years after a film degree? Making independent films? Making money in a Hollywood job? Grinding out documentaries for the Doc channel? Making commercials for TV? Being the camera operator for the local TV news?</p>

<p>I recommend an undergrad film degree with a minor in something else (business?) because it gives you four years to figure out just exactly what you want to do.... and it gives you four years to make films - each year getting better. It also allows you four years to work with upperclassmen who will get to know you and may be your entry to the industry (connections are made while you are still in school).</p>

<p>It <em>is</em> hard to break into the industry, but the more specialized your skill, the easier it might be... but ONLY is you have total drive and passion to make that happen. Film school will NOT hand you a career.</p>

<p>@digmedia I am almost positive I want to direct, it's just I'm completely lost as to whether I should spring for the money to go to undergrad film school (and then start my career) or just get a degree at my state university (which will cost next to nothing once scholarships are added in) and THEN try to pursue my dream of filmmaking.</p>

<p>I think you should do something with your undergrad that will allow to to gain experience as a director. Have you directed any movies on your own, like home movie and independent style movies? You need the experience so you can decide if you think you have enough talent to actually go for it. Programs for wanna-be directors are extremely competitive, and you'll be competing against people who produce and perfect their own projects. </p>

<p>Get an undergrad degree with something that has a film/tv focus but also includes other aspects of the industry- like advertising, journalism, public relations, etc. That way you have a lot of options for jobs. Being a successful director isn't something that just happens over night. You'll need to have a lot more skills that can get you other jobs in the industry along the way.</p>

<p>Have you considered theater? Those programs also tend to give you a lot of experience as a director, and school productions are always looking for help.</p>

<p>I've made a few short films & commercials and also went to a couple film camps, and everything I've made has screened pretty well, so hopefully I'll have the talent to compete.</p>

<p>If I were you I would study things like English, History, Religion, Philosophy, etc., stuff that will help you develop your voice, and give you something to tell with your films. With that said, I know lots of people who have majored in the sciences and have gotten into schools like USC and NYU.</p>

<p>Your point about spending a lot of money on an undergrad degree is right on point. Most people will NOT make the big salaries in the film industry. Having said that, many of those that do go on to be successful directors NEVER went to film school, or only went to an undergraduate program. I think you answer depends upon how much school you want to attend. If you plan both undergrad and grad, the state school for undergrad makes a lot of sense. If you want to do film and go to one of the top undergrad film schools, you will spend 4 years doing that and will have as good a shot at a career as many grad students do. Most undergrad film majors do not go on for graduate school. Most grad school people came from other majors as undergrads.</p>

<p>Would it hurt to just get a job at a studio and work my way up? Or by doing that, am I just asking to be an assistant or crew member the rest of my career? Because I think I'm a pretty smart guy who could excel in a number of different things, and even though I KNOW I want to direct movies, I just don't want to waste my "potential" on being a crew member the rest of my life when I could be either (A) doing what I love and directing, or (B) making good money in another field. </p>

<p>*I'm really not trying to sound cocky, I'm just afraid to go out on a limb with pursuing my passion.</p>

<p>If you're unsure about which path to take, I would also suggest you to major in film and minor in another area, or perhaps do a double major. The most valuable undergrad degree is a well-rounded education regardless of major. If you have a solid foundation in the liberal arts, you'll be fine. This is why the core curriculum is so important. If your interest is in film, once you have an undergrad degree in film, you won't need an MFA unless you plan to teach, or do research, or go into another field.</p>

<p>yeah and make sure to choose A or at least B rated schools, never D or F because you won'd be well rounded if you go to such schools.
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<p>-sorry couldn't have helped.</p>

<p>It might work just as well to skip the college thing and start at the bottom in the industry, but there is a good chance in a few years of crewing, trying to work your way up, that you will decide you want something else. You have been told that most MFA's in film won't become directors. Most 2nd assistant AC's don't either. Not having a college education limits your job options and has been shown to be a terrible drag on income. It's much easier to go to college now than as an adult with greater responsibilities, family?,etc. Those scholarships you mentioned probably won't be there, either. How's Auburn's film program? What year in school are you, and how are your stats? It wouldn't hurt to look at other schools with stronger programs in film, they all aren't as outrageously expensive or exclusive as USC. Nothing wrong with all these people's ideas of the route to go, but don't skip the part about getting the college degree.<br>
Good news, Auburn gets a B.</p>

<p>I recently met some people working on the crew of a major motion picture. Many of them were planning to go back to school to get better credentials to try to advance. Many of those in the assistant positions: PA, AD, etc... wanted better paying jobs. Others wanted more creative control over the final product. Often the jobs on a film are referred to as "above the line" and "below the line" jobs. The above the line jobs are the highest paying: director, director of photography, producers, talent (or actors) etc... these people get negotiated salaries, share of profit or whatever the deal is. They are the most highly compensated positions, and the most coveted. They have a say in the creative endeavor. The "below the line jobs" are the people doing the jobs during and post production. These people have no influence on the creative direction of the film, but have set salaries (union wages, or negotiated). You can end up being either above the line or below the line with or without a formal education. However, I've heard many of the "below the line" folks go back and try to advance their credentials hoping to move up to more creative positions. It seems that some formal training might help you to get a better position.</p>

<p>And to B&D: I'm don't really agree with the 7 categories listed by your site: composition, literature, foreign language, US Gov or History, Economics, Math, Natural or Physical Science as the measure of a well rounded education. I think there are many kids who took 4 years of a language in high school, and maybe don't want or need more. Or a kid who had lots of US history, and wants to study another culture, or a kid who went through calculus in high school, but didn't love math and plans to be a writer.... Does this person really need another math class? What is served by making them take an advanced math? Kids come into college with all sorts of backgrounds. To require these and only these 7 things to be well rounded, well, isn't a well rounded idea. To require a general education beyond the major, or to require students to get some education in disciplines outside of their own, is OK, but NOT a requirement for everyone. Columbia University which requires all students to take two years of core courses only gets a B on this site because they chose courses other than the ones listed as this sites "core" requirements to be well rounded. There is a bit of inflexibility in their definition of a broad education. I believe to get a well rounded education you need to study some things you don't already know. Each students knowledge base coming into college will be different, so what that individual needs to be well rounded will differ from the next kid. This needs to be taken into account both by the student and the college (in my humble opinion).</p>