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How time-consuming is the film production major? (double-majoring)

myusername4menowmyusername4menow 26 replies2 threads New Member
How time-consuming would you say the film production major is?

I am asking because I am thinking of double-majoring in production and one of the sciences (biochem/biophysics), but realize that the science classes have time-consuming labs and was wondering if I would still have time to do well in both majors, work on films outside of class, be involved in clubs, have time to hang out with friends/sleep, and still keep my sanity?

Thanks
edited June 2013
16 replies
Post edited by myusername4menow on
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Replies to: How time-consuming is the film production major? (double-majoring)

  • 4orce4orce 115 replies12 threads Junior Member
    What is your intended career path?
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  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Film production is now a BFA program. BFA's are intense as it is, but to really get the most out of attending SCA a student should keep making her/his own films, finding outside film/tv/web series projects, apply for all internships, and most importantly--work on other students' films. It's a program that most students are passionate about and they throw themselves into it fully. There is less time for a double major in Production, so if you are hoping to do a lab science (heavy workload) too, you should look into the Critical Studies major in SCA. Less units required. Less production courses (big time commitment). Yet you still can take many/most of the production courses that interest you, too.

    These sorts of double majors are still time-intensive and which career path are you leaning towards? If pre-med, you'll be looking for a very different summer internship than if you are really aiming at a film industry career (and internships). But you can join clubs and have friends. Sleep? I wouldn't count on it too much. ;)
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  • USCAlum05USCAlum05 338 replies4 threads Member
    First of all, if you're admitted to production I would NEVER switch to critical studies, unless that's your genuine interest. Frankly, the vast majority of critical studies students are wannabe production and writing majors, although a good number of them genuinely are budding film critics, studio executives, etc. It's just that those kids suffer from the second class citizen label ascribed to critical studies in general.

    Secondly, USC is definitely the right school to do a double major in film production and the sciences. You may not necessarily want to do a double major, but you can at LEAST do a minor. The university encourages students to study two different, disparate fields because it gives you multiple perspectives from which to approach your professional work. But to start out, you might just want to do some introductory courses and go from there. Odds are good that you'll be doing 18 units a semester (maximum amount for flat rate tuition) and like many USC students, you'll be very busy and working hard but also enjoying it.

    Good luck!
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  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    I am usually in big agreement with USCAlum05. And I do agree that USC is one of the best schools for mixing interesting and disparate majors or major/minors.

    However, I would not dismiss the CS majors since many have gone on to have incredible careers in Hollywood. Including Bryan Singer, to name just one. But since the OP is asking about Bio, I suggest it's likely to be more compatible with a less strenuous SCA major. But what do I know? Best to ask an advisor.

    However, to be clear: the program in Production is changing for this next incoming Class of 2017 and there is no longer a BA degree offered. The units required for the newly introduced BFA are much higher:

    *old BA film production: 18 lower-division units and 26 upper-division units = 40 units in Cinematic Arts

    *new BFA in film producing: 64 units in Cinematic Arts, many of which are taken in a sequential order.

    *BA in Critical studies: 28 lower-division and 24 upper-division units in cinematic arts = 52 units

    To graduate: 128 total units, including about 28 - 34 units in GEs/ req writing courses

    a BFA in Production leaves about 30 units free for other classes, while the BA CS leaves 42 and a major in Biological Sciences is about 40 units.

    But I also think it's possible to do. The question is: will you have enough time and energy and focus to do your very best work? If yes, go for it!
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  • myusername4menowmyusername4menow 26 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you all for your advice.

    To clarify, I fully intend to pursue production. There is no way in the world I would switch out of the production major, I realize what a great and rare opportunity this is. Because of this, my summer work/internships would be geared more towards the film industry.

    The science is just another major I would like to pursue as a back-up in case 10 years down the road I for some reason no longer feel like doing film, and I also like and am good at science.

    Another point: I am willing to stay 5 years to complete two majors, and I also have a handful of AP credits going in which I hope can knock out at least 2-3 courses, making it a bit easier to manage two disparate majors.
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  • War ChantWar Chant 2322 replies19 threads Senior Member
    You'll still be busy but its very doable in 5 years with some early planning. The earlier you can plan it out, the easier it will be to accomplish as most BISC dept classes are only offered once per year (in addition to some PHYS/CHEM classes) and if you miss out then you may have to wait another year to fulfill a prereq for another class that you may have to wait ANOTHER year for.
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  • ArtsandLettersArtsandLetters 501 replies4 threads Member
    Thanks Madbean for weighing in. I have a child starting CS in the fall and it's been very hard reading multiple threads in which someone makes patronizing statements about the CS students and program in general. My own child is entering with production experience and so, it appears, are many of the other freshman based on their discussion and chats over the summer. I'm kind of grateful that USC helped them make those connections before move-in day.

    I think it's important for people to understand that for the most part, everyone going to SCA has had to demonstrate some sort of passion for film but not everyone wants the same "path" to the industry. And CS certainly doesn't appear to have room for slackers.

    Still, I really appreciated having another parent weigh in. I asked some of the staff while on campus in the spring and most said a lot of what is posted on CC about them is inaccurate and to take it with a grain of salt. This seems to be a good example.

    Thank you for being the voice of reason.
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  • LenciasLencias 190 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Bear in mind, since production is a BFA now, production majors pursuing a second major that's a BA/BS not a BFA (i.e. most majors) won't actually be double-majoring but will be pursuing a 'dual degree', IIRC. This necessitates a minimum of 32 units beyond the first degree (128 + 32 = 160). I'm fairly certain of this, can anyone else confirm? I remember looking into this because I wanted to double major in Interactive (BA) and Music Industry (BS) but was told similar. The only documentation I can find online is this, see Double Major vs Second Bachelor's Degree: http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/cat2011/schools/college/undergraduate.html . I recommend contacting your advisor to confirm/discuss this.

    160 units may sound like a lot, but it's doable. I came in with 12 units and will be graduating with 160 units in a span of 4 years, 128 for my BA (major and minor), 32 for my PDP. That said, it may mean you won't be pursuing as many 'outside'/non-academic projects as you'd like, unless you have godlike time management skills.
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  • GiveMeReasonGiveMeReason 272 replies37 threads Member
    Bear in mind though that a BFA program is much more structured than a BA program, so some majors will be hard to do simply because you cannot fit it into schedule. I had trepidation about doing production because it would be hard to double major without a fifth year. I decided instead to do Crit Studies specifically so I can double major, since crit studies is not structured at all. Also, 20 credits a semester is allowed for those who maintain at least a 3.5 GPA
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  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Actually, GMR, students who maintain a 3.75 GPA are offered 2 extra free units (getting up to 20)/semester if they are pursuing double major or dual degree. Otherwise, taking 2 units above the 18-limit will cost about $3000 extra each semester. And that is, of course, assuming that the courses needed (in sequence) are offered in the semester. In college, a GPA of 3.5 is quite high (counts all GEs, etc) so 3.75 is far from an easy thing to achieve, but certainly possible for the right students.

    Since the new shift at SCA which makes the Production major a BFA, there will be a lot of information I hope we'll hear in the coming months and years as to the ability to combine it with other majors/degrees. In the School of Dramatic Arts, for example, which has offered both a BFA and a BA for acting undergrads, the School flatly says it is not possible to get a second major (or dual degree) and even minors are discouraged for BFAs. That means a student who wants to take the musical theatre minor (through Thornton) will have to get the BA in SDA. Likewise, many acting students arrive with professional backgrounds and some already have agents, and they are told that those who want to pursue the BFA degree at SDA may not take outside acting gigs during the school year. BAs, however, can. For these reasons, some of the most talented/experienced acting students are taking the BA option. I bring this up because I suspect there may--down the road--be similar decisions made by film students who want a double major, or minor(s), or who want to have more flexibility in scheduling their classes.

    Thanks for your kind words, A&L. I have seen many Critical Studies majors whose student films made at USC are amazing and who go on, after graduation, with no distinguishable difference in outcomes from those who have majored in production. This is not meant to ding production students, but since CS students can take most production courses offered, the choices of how deeply to delve into film production at USC is not a function of the name of the sub-major. Like real life (!), how one takes advantage of what is offered at SCA is in the hands of the individual. I mentioned that Bryan Singer was a CS major (and his name is now on that major!) but as one more example of a non-production student who is well known, Judd Apatow was a screenwriting major. I think if you google USC's most successful grads in film & tv, you will be hard pressed to discover which major at USC they actually had. Their bios often simply say they graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts.

    So congratulations to those very very few who were admitted to the film school.
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  • victoriaheidivictoriaheidi 642 replies27 threads Member
    Wait, madbean, isn't production still going to be a BA for junior-level transfers? The website makes it sound that way.
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  • LenciasLencias 190 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Yeah, vic, that's what it looks like according to the site, but I think we're all assuming OP is an incoming freshman? Or are we wrong?..
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  • dreamupsided0wndreamupsided0wn 1419 replies86 threads Senior Member
    God, people get so caught up in what division they're in within SCA and they think that it determines the rest of their life path! I'm a Critical Studies major and not only has that given me the opportunity to declare a minor I'm passionate about, but it's also given me the opportunity to study abroad in both London and Tokyo where I took classes that had nothing to do with film.

    Also, I interned for my favorite director of all time and made some of the most useful contacts I'll ever make through my "second class" major. Not to mention that I have more time to pursue film independently than most of my Production major friends and I've worked on so many sets I've lost count.

    Your major has very little to do with what you're going to do for the rest of your life and that kind of attitude is poisonous.
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  • myusername4menowmyusername4menow 26 replies2 threads New Member
    @Lencias - Yes, I am an incoming freshman.

    @dreamupsidedown - I realize that there are many paths to end up in production in the future, but personally, I would rather have more of my classes focus on the production aspects of film instead of the critical studies aspects....I realize I will still be taking some critical studies classes in the production major, but i'm assuming it won't be as many as there are in the actual CS major
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  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    It's interesting to look at the required courses and sequence for the new BFA in Production. From my quick look, it seems there is room for 32 elective units, and if you bring in the right APs (Euro or Art History + Bio or Chem or Phys) you'd have room for 8 more units. However, if one wants to get a dual degree (BA) for their second major, they would also need to add language (or place out) which could add 12 units more.

    It's also interesting to note that the new BFA requires 64 units, including 4 courses (16 units out of total 64 units for the major) of Critical Studies courses. http://cinema.usc.edu/production/sample_four_year_plan_bfa_production.pdf

    Just for comparison, the BA in Critical Studies requires 52 units, including the same 4 CS courses as the Production BFA. Again, just 16 units. http://cinema.usc.edu/criticalstudies/undergradrequirements.cfm

    For anyone who is applying to USC SCA, you should look closely at the required courses for each major as they are very very similar. The extra BFA units appear to be in additional production practicums and similar.
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  • ArtsandLettersArtsandLetters 501 replies4 threads Member
    @dreamupsided0wn,

    Applauding you for that note of encouragement to all who consider Critical Studies to be "second class". It bears repeating over and over and over again:
    Your major has very little to do with what you're going to do for the rest of your life and that kind of attitude is poisonous.

    You and Madbean should be declared USC "Treasures!"
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