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Old Oct 19, 2012, 09:13 AM   #1
zyr123
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best colleges and routes to a good successful career

I am in the process of applying to colleges. My gpa is good and my sats suck, so UCLA, USC, and nyu tisch are out of the question. I live in 15 minutes from manhattan.

So far i am applying to drexel and hofstra. What other colleges should i apply to?

thank you for the help,
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 10:12 AM   #2
daybreak
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Tell me what has that got to do with Digital Video?.
I'm not really interested what career move you wish to make. In a nutshell i think you are in the wrong forum.
But good luck regards your decision.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 11:28 AM   #3
LethalWolfe
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Tell me what has that got to do with Digital Video?.
I'm not really interested what career move you wish to make. In a nutshell i think you are in the wrong forum.
But good luck regards your decision.
I'll go out on a limb and say the OP wants to get into production professionally and is looking for schools that have good video/film departments which is why the OP is posting here.

Working under that assumption I'll say that your best education if you want into be in this industry is actually working in this industry. I'd look for a school that has good relationships with area post/production companies, TV stations, etc., so you can get a parttime job/internship working for these places while you are taking classes. I don't see a reason to spend major $$$ on a famous film school. I know plenty of USC and AFI grads that can't get traction and plenty of people that went to state schools in Wisconsin or Montana that gainfully employed out here in LaLaLand.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 04:52 PM   #4
zyr123
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[QUOTE=LethalWolfe;16076938]I'll go out on a limb and say the OP wants to get into production professionally and is looking for schools that have good video/film departments which is why the OP is posting here.

yes this is true.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Don't worry so much about SATs; they only matter in the absence of other things that make you interesting. Athletes are given a pass on SATs, as are people with exceptionally interesting lives, as are really good writers, musicians, or artists when applying to conservatories. So work hard on improving your SATs (two or three days of half a practice test per day boosted my GREs up like 300 points to 99%; if I had spent more time I'm sure I'd have done better, so just suck it up and study!) but work much harder on your writing and visual portions of your application. That's what really matters, and the further into life you get the more you'll realize how meaningless GPA and SATs are beyond getting you into undergrad (which is also usually totally meaningless, but that's another story).

Just living in NYC is a start. There are tons of ways to network there without even going to school. I have met grips and camera ops who took one class at a camera rental place, worked a few unpaid gigs on craigslist, and are now beginning to actually make a living. I met more people who did go to school, though, admittedly, while on set. NYU is great but insanely expensive and the NYU students I met for whom money was an issue uniformly said that the education isn't worth the insane expense, but it is really exceptional otherwise. Columbia is good, too, but it's not technical, and it might be MFA-only. SVA is very technical and people seem to like it. There are tons of others, some affordable state programs that are well-regarded included. Ask your guidance counselor. There are good schools across the country (I lived in Boston: Emerson and BU are not bad at all), but where you go to school determines where you'll work to a greater extent with the film industry than with other industries so if you like NYC stick with it exclusively or if you're dead set on LA go to school in LA (only if you can afford it!). I think I heard Ithaca had a decent program, too. I forget...

Unfortunately, each program has its different strengths and weaknesses and you won't know what really interests you until you're most of the way through, but intuition will get you far in choosing. A lot of people will argue that you should get a liberal arts degree rather than a more professional degree, but I'm not sure. Most BFAs offer a bit of both. I get mixed reviews on NYFA/Full Sail, which are exclusively professional, but most people seem really bullish/enthusiastic about them who've attended, which runs counter to the arguments I read that they're overpriced for-profit degree farms. But I'd try to go for a well-established university with a bit of a traditional as well technical education, even though the technical education is all that matters on the job and a lot of people working in film will tell you school is worthless. And a lot of people with no formal training will get jobs off spec work (youtube videos with high view counts even, now) that USC grads would just salivate over.

Also, writing/directing and working in film are two entirely different things. If you want to write and direct, live an interesting life and network and read. Storytellers need stories. If you want to make money, go to school for post (editing/vfx/etc.).

Visit everywhere you're considering going to and look at what connections you get after the fact. Look at the gear you have access to, the work the students are doing, and most importantly the network that you'll be launched into (internships matter, too). The community (students and professional network) matters most. And you don't have to go to school to work in film (it probably hurts more than helps in some ways), but if you don't know exactly what you want to do (edit, shoot, gaff, produce, act, write, etc.) you should give it all a try.

Also, don't expect to work as a writer or director, but you will get opportunities to direct in school. Take this with a grain of salt, btw, I am in the same camp you are...just much, much older, and by now probably much poorer, too.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 06:24 PM   #6
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Take some business classes. The vast majority of work in this industry is either as a freelancer or as an independent contractor so you need to know at least the basics of business because you'll need to know more about your financies that someone that works as a staff employee.
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University...great production program located 30 minutes south of Nashville!
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 01:39 PM   #8
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If you want "hands on" classes and industry connections then look at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Check out altnews at SIU. Five time national student EMMY winners against UCLA, USC, NYU and others for a lot less $$$. A lot of working Hollywood and New York alums with a great networking system. (I'm not a graduate just taught there for years) Middle TN State University-Mufreesboro also has a very good program as well. Great facilities.

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Old Oct 25, 2012, 03:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zyr123 View Post
So far i am applying to drexel and hofstra. What other colleges should i apply to?
Drexel's program has come a long way since I went there (it was in its infancy at the time). I taught a class for their digital media program this past Spring and I was pretty impressed with how much the department and the university as a whole has grown.

As others have said, it all comes down to the experience you have. Film school can offer a lot, but it's not for everyone. There are obviously plenty of different avenues into this industry. However, if you do study film in college take advantage of every opportunity it offers. Network, take some business classes, take advantage of the facilities.

The LA and NYC schools do have their perks of being located in the "hubs" of the business. Drexel's co-op program is definitely nice. It essentially forces you to work in the business before you graduate.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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I've heard real good things about Columbia College Chicago. I've heard its very hands on..that said I have some doubts about film school regardless...I think a good reel is important and I think film schools don't teach allot of simple but important stuff....The fourth meal story by Mac'N'Cheese is very classic of what allot of what I've heard from others and my initial thoughts were "Ok so how do I do that". Luck. But pursue your dream in multiple ways, go to school, get an education, DO take business classes because those will help you in allot of areas but in the film world all the degrees in the world will never make you a real director if you don't have a solid reel...its like going to school and learning about the history of Airplanes and then expecting to become a pilot....oh and really get to know people so you can network...and network and network! You know how much points you get for just knowing someone? The first time you go to a job interview and you say you know so and so and you see the persons face light up and say "Very cool! You'll do fine here" is great...even if its a little job its great and if you do good with say a small job you can milk some connections and start building your reel.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 07:40 PM   #11
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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Detroit has woken up! We have a real pitching battle tonight through 5 and it will probably end this way and be the theme of these two pitching teams.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 10:30 PM   #13
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Honestly, while some instruction is necessary, in videography experience trumps everything. It's not a massively lucrative career by any means and you will likely incur a lot of equipment costs, insurance, computers, software, etc, so exiting school with a minimum amount of debt is very important. You may want to concentrate on an associates degree rather than a bachelor's -- it's two years instead of four, likely less expensive for each year and likely highly focused, with little to no requirements outside your field of interest. A two year degree can be basically converted into a four year degree if you want, maybe with some catch up credits, and if you do really well can result in scholarships, internships, etc.

Whatever you do, take some small business courses (giving you the option to competently start your own studio if nobody's hiring), learn to fix the equipment when it breaks, volunteer to help others with their projects, film events, whatever. Heck, try to exit school with some IMDB credits, fan films, whatever. Get as much experience as you can behind the lens, because while college on a resume will get you interviews, competence at that interview is what gets you the job. And nobody takes a guy with a 4 year degree and a 4.0 if he can't frame a shot, edit in several styles and get the project built in a short amount of time.
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