SoCal Community Colleges for Film/Video

<p>Hi There,</p>

<p>So my son has already broken Digmedia's 1st commandment "Do good in school". (digmedia - thanks for all the info you so generously provide and congrats to your son!)</p>

<p>A little background about DS:
He probably will finish his junior year with a 2.7 or so GPA. Fortunately, his HS has a pretty decent Video Production program. He is in his 3rd year of VP, using Final Cut Pro. He is also teaching himself Adobe After Effects. I mention this, because I think digital editing is his strength. He has attended DMA's summer program at UCLA Film School and will enter a film and attend NFFTY in Seattle in April with his VP teacher and a select few students from his HS.</p>

<p>He will probably apply to CSU-Northridge and CSU-Fullerton. He knows he doesn't have the grades for Chapman, LMU, UCLA or USC. Any comments on places like Columbia College Hollywood or Art Institute-type schools would be appreciated. To me, those seem like an expensive choice for credits that probably wouldn't transfer to any university.</p>

<p>I feel the most realistic approach for him is to go the Community College route, makes some student films, do some internships, see where his interests/talents lie, then either transfer to a Uni, or get an Associates degree and try to go to work in the industry. So we are looking for CC's with decent film programs, facilities and equipment. I've looked at the websites of various colleges-some good, some virtually useless. So far our list consists of:</p>

<p>El Camino College (our local CC)
L.A. City College - seems to have good facilities, and the most extensive class list.
Orange Coast College- good website for the film program.</p>

<p>That's about it. Also looked at places like Santa Monica, LA Valley, Glendale CC, Long Beach CC, Pasadena CC and either their websites were uniformative, or their programs did not seem to offer much. I may be wrong, and would love to be corrected.</p>

<p>Any insights on these or any other schools will be greatly appreciated! </p>

<p>Yikes, that was wordier than I intended ... Sorry!</p>

<p>I wouldn't completely rule out the "for profit" schools. It depends on what his ultimate career goal might be. If he really wants to be an editor, a full college experience might not be necessary. And some kids are not cut out for the academics, and in fact don't really enjoy school. To work as an editor requires a very specific set of skills that, I think, CAN be acquired at a trade school without the full academic requirements. If on the other hand he thinks he might want to direct, produce, or be in a management position, a college degree might be beneficial. </p>

<p>The cost of college these days is so high, that it needs to be factored in when making a decision about what to do. An editor might make 25,000 to 50,000 a year. Is it worth spending over 200,000 and taking out a lot of loans to finance this, if your annual income will be in that range? I'm not sure it is.</p>

<p>So... if he really wants to do something in the editing realm... take a second look at those trade schools. (AND... this advice is from someone who is VERY PRO college, if you check my other posts- but not in EVERY case.</p>

<p>IF your S's academic goal is transferring to USoCal or similar, he might want to talk with their admissions counselor about how to proceed so that he has the best chances of transferring into their program (it's of course very competitive to transfer in but actually they accept more from CCs than from CSUs and UCs). They can also steer him toward which courses are most likely to be accepted for transfer credit. (My D attended a HI CC & was accepted as a USC transfer & after 3 tries was admitted into their cinema school. Unfortunately she was only waitlisted for production, since they had no openings both years she tried to transfer in.)</p>


<p>Here are some random thoughts:</p>

<p>1.) There is a new film school that seems to be pretty good and I think it might be an excellent fit for your son - Colorado Film School --> Colorado</a> Film School
I would give this one a long look because it might be just the thing you are looking for.</p>

<p>2.) Regarding SoCal CC's for film: Santa Monica CC is #1 by a large margin. Their program is the oldest and best of all California CC's. I have also heard good things about film at Long Beach CC, Santa Barbara City College, and Moorpark CC.</p>

<p>3.) CC's offer two main paths: a.) a certificate path; or b.) an AA degree / Transfer Agreement path. Certificate students pretty much take classes within a small major and graduate in 2 years with a certificate in that subject. Most of these classes will not transfer to a 4-year school. The certificate is meant to be the terminal degree. I'll get my certificate and jump into the work force. Good stuff.</p>

<p>The AA/Transfer is a little trickier. CC adcoms will tell you things like "oh we have kids transferring to UCLA and USC all the time... and they do, but from my point of view, it's not that easy. In fact, using their own numbers, it's long odds at best. Look at this Moorpark CC student guide (<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;). On page 6 they tell us that on average they have about 16,000 students and about 1,600 transfer to a 4-year school. So only 10%-ish do well enough to move on. I feel this is very important in terms of setting your expectation level. The Moorpark CC numbers are about the same for all California CC's.</p>

<p>This also points to a hidden problem with the CC route: if you want to transfer into a 4-year film program they want you to complete most of the GE requirements before you get there. So that means most of your son's time will be spent on English, Math, Science, Foreign Language, etc. In short, all the stuff he probably doesn't like in HS. Which means his grades will be about the same as they are now because his motivation level will be the same.</p>

<p>Your son would rather be taking all film classes (and getting good grades because he's now motivated) but most of those won't transfer AND he won't complete his GE requirements so his application will get passed over.</p>

<p>Big sigh. This is why the transfer rate to 4-year schools is so low. Catch 22.</p>

<p>4.) Columbia College Hollywood (really Tarzana) etc.
These aren't terrible but I think they would be somewhere down the list of options for your son.</p>

<p>5.) If a degree is optional to your son then how about AFI's Certificate Program?
AFI</a> Conservatory: Admissions
AFI is a non-academic film school mostly for grad students BUT if you read the above link you will see that you can apply without a BA/BFA and at graduation you will get a certificate instead of a degree. AFI is an excellent film school and this option has a low chance of success but still worth driving down the 101 and asking a few questions!</p>

<p>6.) Other states that don't touch an ocean. It can often times be easier to get into colleges that aren't East or West Coast. And many of these inland colleges have good film or film studies majors.</p>

<p>I would strongly recommend checking out Colorado Film School and AFI first to see what your chances would be. If we strike out there then we still have options (CC's, CSU's, maybe UC Merced?, other states, etc.).</p>

<p>Best of Luck,

<p>There is also a U in NM that has a pretty good film program. It's a public but the name escapes me. We have a friend whose S is graduating from it this spring. I don't think academic entrance requirements are that strict and believe it is quite inexpensive & cost of living there is pretty low as well.</p>

<p>the old poster kmazza recently guided me through the process of doing the CC to UCLA route in California. Marica...if you want, I could send you his guidelines by email. Just PM with your email address. In a nutshell he recommends taking all of the GE requirements at a decent CC and then transferring to De Anza in northern California for film and production classes at the Associates level. He addressed the issues that Wheaty brings up and made VERY specific recommendations as to which courses to take where and which ones will get you credit when transferring into a 4 year program. I am pretty sure he speaks from hard won experience in the California community college system.</p>

<p>But Wheaty has a good point when he says that if your son is simply not into the academics it may not be worth it to go that route.</p>

<p>Happy to forward you the info if you want it.</p>

<p>I agree with looking at Colorado Film School. They have a great program for a small cost and your son can get in. They do not have dorms, but try to facilitate housing arrangements.</p>

<p>Drea and Marcia,</p>

<p>Kmazza's knowledge on film programs in the Cal CC system is about 10x of my knowledge on the subject. If that's the path chosen then I would follow Kmazza's guidance as well. I wish he would drop in to comment on topics like this from time to time.</p>



<p>What do you think the GPA requirement might be at Ohio U (non-honors)? I hear that's where they make double nominees for Academy Awards. :)</p>


<p>Wow! Thanks so much for your detailed and thoughtful responses. A couple of random thoughts of my own:</p>

<li><p>Many of you have discerned that DS would be miserable in even a moderate "academic" environment, and you are correct. That really is the dilemma. He can spend all-nighters editing a piece, but forget asking him to spend an extra 10 minutes reviewing for an academic exam. I also had a discussion with a Mom whose son transferred out of a prestigious university film program after a year and a half because "the academics were killing him and sucking the time away from his filmmaking". He actually transferred to one of the "trade" schools. </p></li>
<li><p>The "Trade Schools", as I see them, are not such an inexpensive option. My research shows that they range from around $18k - $43k per year, excluding housing. I looked at Columbia College, Art Institutes, LA Film School and NY Film Academy. If there are others I should consider, please let me know. </p></li>
<li><p>Can you elaborate on why Santa Monica College is considered the best CC? Looking at the course catalogs, there seem to be a lot of digital animation/gaming courses, but actual production courses (vs. Cinema Studies) seem to be scant. Please let me know what I am missing.</p></li>
<li><p>Colorado Film School seems to be a perfect fit. I spent a good part of the morning clicking around the website. If we could get the WUE tuition, it would make it even more financially attractive than a Cal State (and I may never have to hear the word "impacted" again.) I'm excited to show DS the information.</p></li>
<li><p>I was originally only thinking of Southern Cal schools, since there are so many industry opportunities based here and we have a few contacts for potential internships, but my mind has been opened. Thanks for that! </p></li>

<p>Thanks again for all of the insight!</p>


<p>When maddenmd and I were doing research for our book, I spent some time on the phone with several of the CFS people and came away impressed. If you don't want an 4-year degree, they have several other options open to students. I think you could get the skills you would need in a short time.</p>

<p>In the film industry, it seems like you need talent (demonstrated by a demo reel) and ways to get that reel in front of eyes. And of course, that require contacts already in the industry. I'm not sure how CFS stacks up in that area since it is relatively new.</p>

<p>I also think that job opportunities are good for those with technical skills vs writing, directing, or producing. But it will take drive to pursue that. Maybe take some of the tuition savings you'd have vs a four-year program and use it to support him for 6 months or so living in the LA area as he takes the low-paying or no-paying jobs on craigslist to get experience and make contacts.</p>

<p>I'm curious about the WUE. We looked into that early on when my son was looking at schools, but it seemed like it was only for certain schools and certain majors within those schools. On the CFS website, it implies that if you live in CA, you qualify for WUE (very inexpensive compared with out-of-state tuition). But I would double-check that.</p>

<p>Just looked at the WUE website, and it looks like the CFS film program (officially offered through the Community College of Aurora) does qualify for WUE rates. Sweet!</p>

<p>One more reminder of Hollywood Reporter's list of the top 25 film schools in the world:</p>

<li>American Film Institute</li>
<li>University of Southern California</li>
<li>Beijing Film Academy (China)</li>
<li>New York University Tisch School of the Arts</li>
<li>University of California Los Angeles</li>
<li>California Institute of the Arts</li>
<li>The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Czech Republic)</li>
<li>Columbia University School of the Arts</li>
<li>Wesleyan University</li>
<li>The National Film and Television School (UK)</li>
<li>La Femis (France)</li>
<li>University of North Carolina School of the Arts</li>
<li>University of Texas at Austin</li>
<li>The Polish National Film, Television and Theater School (Poland)</li>
<li>Syracuse University</li>
<li>Stanford University</li>
<li>Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts</li>
<li>Emerson Visual and Media Arts School</li>
<li>Loyola Marymount University</li>
<li>University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee</li>
<li>Rhode Island School of Design</li>
<li>Chapman University Dodge College of Film & Media Arts</li>
<li>Ringling College of Art and Design</li>
<li>Northwestern University</li>
<li>Colorado Film School</li>

<p>I don't agree with this, because not all of these schools are equivalent in terms of degrees and emphasis on production. But it is a starting point for discussion.</p>

<p>Colorado film school just might be the best WUE option for production students in the western US. WUE is as good as it gets for out of state students, but most WUE schools don't have film as a significant program. Montana State you can start as a WUE, but lose it when you declare film as a sophomore. Anyone know of a another good WUE film program?</p>

<p>Thanks again for all of the responses. Lots of great insight here.</p>

<p>I think a trip to Denver is in our future. We also plan to check out the facilities & programs at some of the local CC's. I hope I can pay it forward with what we learn in the process.</p>

<p>@marica - Make sure you report back on any visits to schools that you make.</p>