USC Film School

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by JohnMC, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. JohnMC macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Hi I have a question for anyone that knows anything about USC or even UCLA and their film schools. My question is what does it take to get in to one of these universities. My GPA is between 3.8-3.9. What else would I need to get in. Video is the love of my life and I would like to turn it into a career. Thanks for your help, JohnMC.

    BTW, I'm in 10th Grade.
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    well you need to do sat and act. be proactive and talk with the dean of the department you want to get in, get experience in what you want to do and have your essays reflect that experience. those are some things i can think of that would help i would imagine
     
  3. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #3
    There are alot of film schools websites that rank schools and what not. From what I've read and now heard (being out in California for 4 months for film school at Columbia College Hollywood) I have found that most peoples view of USC is its a name not a film school.

    Yes they have a lot of film stuff, and George Lucas did just donate 175 million to build a new film school building, but it sounds like if you don't work outside of class on films then you don't get much experience (if you are trying to be a director). Plus the new film building that George Lucas is building for USC can not have any thing around Film mentioned in the title at all what soever because George lives and dies by digital. So I don't know what that means for USC and if they will get rid of 16 MM classes (if they still have that). I personally would not want to go to any film school that you can't shoot in 16 MM. People will argue but Digital is the future and what all indie films are beginning to be shot on, and thats very true. But if you ever want to make it big they still shoot on 35 MM so being able to still shoot on real film would help you get a good thought of what exactly to be prepared for on the 35 mm cameras.

    I've heard USC only lets 4 USC students each year make their senior project (under USC; Again you could do it as outside work).

    My suggestion is this. If you want a great college with great experience, plus a film school that is ranked 5th or 6th in the nation go to Chapman University. Accepted the movie was shot on Chapman University's campus (the school that kept trying to shut down the main Characters new school; S.H.I.T. I think it was)

    I've heard some great things about the USC summer film class thought. A friend of mine who I work with on films once and awhile went to the USC summer film class before he came to Columbia College Hollywood and he made the summer class seem cool. For 5-6 weeks each week they had to write produce and make a short film (6-12 minutes) had to get actors and everything.

    Again I've heard a lot of things about USC mostly its been you go there for the name not the actual art of learning film (This is from a teacher that works at Columbia College Hollywood; my teacher last semester. And also works at USC teaching film as well.)

    The teacher that works at USC and Columbia College Hollywood said USC makes their film school very competitive and only does 4 senior film projects a year (2 seniors per semester out of 200 or so). He said USC's says the reason they do this is to make it seem like the real world of how films are made.

    Another thing about USC: They own your films. For example at Chapman University or Columbia College Hollywood, you can take your film you shot anywhere and everywhere, any film festival you can get in to or if you want to do a public screening in your town you could do so, but in USC they own the film so you have to get permission from them to do anything for the film. I had a friend of a friend who went to USC and he had to start his own production company, and then never told USC about the films he made; this way he had completely ownership over his creations.

    Well thats my ramble for now. Take it with a grain of Salt. Hopefully some USC film students are on Macrumors to help give you a better insight of what exactly USC Film school is like. Please understand I'm not trying to persuade you from anything what-so-ever, I'm just trying to pass on all the information I've collected from my film school and being out here in California.

    Let us know what your thoughts are and what you plan on doing!
     
  4. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    #4
    The one thing I've heard continuously, is that USC is the school for connections. In the industry, they call it the USC mafia. The industry is mainly about who you know, so knowing a lot people at USC can help your get you foot in the door. That said, you don't necesarily need to go to USC undergrad to get into the M.F.A. program at USC.

    And take this all with a grain of salt, since most of the people I know have only heard about USC mafia experiences from some of their gay mafia friends.
     
  5. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #5
    haha I heard that too
     
  6. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #6
    I have friend that was accepted into the film program at USC. They don't accept many people into the production unit every year, so when you apply make sure your essay is VERY VERY good. Keep your GPA very high and make sure you have extra-carriculars as well. If you're not in any film related clubs at school right now, join one. If there aren't any, make one.

    If you apply to very popular or large film schools though, like the previous poster said, don't expect to get a chance to direct a senior project. Most larger films schools only let a few students actually direct their own film, while the other students get stuck doing something they may not be interested in doing (like somebody that wants to be a cinematographer may end up working on sound).

    Moving on from that subject though, I will put in a plug for Arizona State Universities two year old Film Production program. It is a digital program, and a selective one for being so new (only 20 students accepted every semester). That does mean though that EVERY student will get a chance(s) to make their own films, or take on roles that they want to take on, unlike larger film-only programs like USC or NYU. The senior capstone projects are broken in to groups of 4, and the groups are designed based upon what each student wants to do after they graduate. For example, a student that wants to be an editor after they graduate will be an editor for their senior capstone project, a director hopeful the director, etc...

    So, there are trade-offs to going to an all digital programs rather than 35mm programs. Digital equipment gives every student a chance to make a film, whereas 35mm or 16mm programs may not give that experience to every student. What's nice about ASU though is that we still learn how to operate and use 35mm equipment so we aren't completely clueless when we get jobs in the industry, we just use digital for all of our projects.

    What you should do is to write to a lot of film schools for information on their programs and move on from there. I'd always wanted to go to NYU, but I am VERY happy here at ASU. I know it isn't going to give me the same name recognition if I had gone to an established mafia-type film school, but going to ASU gives me the opportunity to actually make films and be a part of the experience, rather than watching the 4 suck-ups make their films.
     
  7. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

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    #7
    I can't say much about USC because I went there, hated what I saw, and therefore didn't apply, but I suggest you also open your options a little and take a look at Chapman. I've been there for a semester and it's great. The new facility is amazing, teachers are knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and there are plenty of films shot throughout the year if you want to be productive.

    As for USC, it seems you've kept your GPA high enough - don't let it dip lower.
    In terms of application, if it's anything like that of Chapman's, you have to know how to write well. From what I've heard most schools don't actually want you to send in actual videos, and tend to select students using written stories and résumés (in terms of what you have done in the past artistically).

    Hope that helps.



    irmongoose
     
  8. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #8
    I'd also like to make a plug because this post reminded me: 1) Columbia College Hollywood, if you are looking for experience, is a great place. I have worked on 3 short films last semester, I have a feature in pre-production now and should be shot next semester, and will be working on at least 2 senior projects (which tend to run 15-30 minutes).

    It also teaches you how to edit and how to shoot in 16 mm. So real film is basically accomplished as a whole if you truly want to, though you have the option to be all digitial. Columbia college hollywood has a lot of short comings, but in the end its what you make of it no matter where you go.

    Honestly I'd say Chapman was the best overall place to be. I can't write so I did not get in. Will I apply again. I don't know. The progress I'm making and the experience I am getting at Columbia College Hollywood is well very satisfying, but I was once in love with that school.

    The just built a 25 million film school building so if you got in fall of 2007 you'd be the second year class to be in that building. Another cool thing is that they offer a TV class where you do a TV show called Night Clap every other Saturday. It is a Jay Leno/David Letterman style TV show, and is aired through PBS. Pretty cool since you basically are doing a real TV show on real television.

    From what I've heard if you apply in to Chapman not as a film major its simple to get in to, but going in as a film major it is really difficult to get in to. I think they said it was something like 2000 apply and only 200 get in. Not saying don't apply as a film major for a way around it. I was just trying to show you that its a hard school to get into in terms of film.
     
  9. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Start taking Advanced Placement class if your school offers them, and get As in them. I know alot of kids who didnt get into either school with GPAs above 4.0 (they were also in a UC program that gauranteed them admittance into atleast 1 UC school, and guaranteed a 50% admittance chance at every school). Also, study for your SAT: do practice tests, get a tutor, whatever you can afford, study for the SAT IIs as well, the UC schools require 2 of them from what I remember(I dont know USCs requirement). Your SAT score will play a big role in whether or not your even considered to be admitted, look at scoring around 2000 out of 2400m if not higher. As said earlier, extracuriculars are huge, join clubs at school, volunteer ALOT, etc. You have to differentiate yourself from the thousands, if not tens of thousands or more, of applications these schools get, but the good news is since your in 10th grade its not too late to start. Work on that admissions essay as well, start it as soon as you can get it from the schools website, and send in your application as early as you can. There are of course exceptions to this rule, every athlete I know that goes to UCLA had a lower GPA and SAT score than they normally accept (they weren't low by any means, just not as high as normal) but its much better to work hard and be safe. This is all of course just for regular admission and my experiences with it, I know little about admissions to the film schools, but from what I have heard they are just as hard or harder than admissions to the regular school.
     
  10. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    #10
    Actually, I'm about to go to USC School of Cinematic Arts. :D

    You're going to need either the bomb grades and SAT score and a pile of money, or you need to do what most people do, which is to get an AA at a local college before applying.

    To get in I did almost 80 units :eek: (60 is normal), including five honors classes, did 4 semesters in the Radio/ Tv program, only got 2 B's in 22 classes and have been doing production since I was 13 years old. I graduated with honors and received an AA in liberal arts.

    Your essay has to be the personal insight of Jesus H. Christo. Serious. It's like, half of why you get in. :eek:

    You also need some awesome letters of recommendation from two people that aren't teachers (need work experience), one of mine was from the local performing arts theatre director/ manager.

    USC is the place to be. They have the best alumni and internships. You want an internship. Don't plan on working through film school. There won't be time. You also might want your own cam and comp so you can work alot after class.

    Other peeps that talk smack about USC and film school in general are usually poor, naw I shouldn't say that, they are usually not dedicated. They don't want to put in the time and money to start at a crappy job and work their way up. They want to go all Rodriguez and spend $15,000 for a million dollar return. Propelling them into infamy and fame for life.:rolleyes:

    They also don't seem to understand that USC is the school where every senior that wants to can make their own senior film. All film schools want you to do the standard projects with digital, because its faster, cheaper and easier for all. But USC lets every senior that wants to make a film, on film. People like Ron Howard often show up during senior screenings to snatch away the cream of the crop.;)

    Good choice. You're only in 10th grade, so I won't see you there, but I wish you the best.
    Remember USC is a PRIVATE school, not a UC like UCLA. Sat's and such don't matter to them.
     
  11. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #11
    This is a trolling post. Some of it is useful other wise its a lot of flaming school pride crap.

    Keep in mind. In California when you ask people about USC they say. University of Spoiled Children.

    It has nothing to with dedication at all!!! Thats bull. If my daddy was on the alumni I would have been able to be in. USC NYU UCLA are the three tops, they are gonna be hard to get in period. Most people find ways to get in to USC if they want to go; even if money is a problem.

    I never said any senior couldn't make there project. If you read my post. The Senior projects that are done for the class as the final class senior project only 4 peoples projects are chosen each year. How do I know this. My teacher works there as well as my school.

    Robert Rodriguez did it for 7.5-8 depending on what you read. Not 15. It's fine if you want to share your pride. It's crap though it you are just saying crap that is skewed just because you go there.

    Well I tried helping but I'm jumping of this thread before I get banned like the times before. This is what I get for trying to give a kid the honest truth and help out in his future.
     
  12. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    SAT's don't matter? Thats a load of crap, the only time they don't matter at USC is if you donate a building or your grandfather helped found or deaned or something spectacular at the school. SAT's matter to almost every school. I know briliant kids who didn't get into USC for SAT reasons. Schools will throw your application in the trash without reading the rest of it if your SAT score isn't in the range they want. Telling a kid that SAT's and such don't matter is complete BS. The only time USC, UCLA, or other schools don't look at SAT scores is for transfer students and thats because those students have already had "college" experience.
     
  13. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    #13
    Ha.


    You think that my useful info was trolling.:rolleyes:

    I've lived in So. Cali all my life, but that didn't make me choose USC.

    The fact that USC School of Cinematic Arts is the best in the world made me want to go there.

    Everything I said was true to my knowledge. If R.R. did El Mariachi for 8 then, whatever. I heard 15. So shoot me.
     
  14. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    #14
    Well, if you read their website here then you will see that if you did 30 units or less at a local college they will base their decision primarily on high school and SAT scores. If you talk to a counselor and have an AA, they will tell you the decision will not include high school transcripts. I didn't even take the SAT. I didn't want to go to film school 'till I was 25.
     
  15. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

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    #15
    USC is my dream school...I'm too dumb, too poor, and my parents don't want me to move out.

    Ok that was a little too harsh. But honestly if you can make it into USC's film school, you are among directors like Robert Zemeckis and MANY MANY MANY MANY more successful film makers of the like. Makes me want to cry just thinking about the opportunity to go to that school.

    Everybody wants to go the Robert Rodriguez route and I can understand why, but he really has some talent and he was just lucky in my opinion. It's a once in a lifetime kind of deal.

    I got about 6 months left of high school and I hope to attend Columbia College in Chicago in the fall of 07 and major in film/editing film.
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #16
    As a Chapman Allum I couldn't say better things about their programs and especially their film program. I was not a film major, however Chapman is being slated as the USC of Orange County but with better curriculum. They're also saying that Chapman will give you connections much like USC, but most people see USC on the resume and immediately think you're hot ****. That's not always the case. I know three graduates from film school, one from USC and two from Chapman. All three toured USC and Chapman and two ended up at Chapman turning down USC supposedly because Chapman was a better guarantee to work their senior project. As a former Architectural Drafting major I was looking at USC, UCLA, and Hawaii. I was not accepted at USC, but I was accepted to Hawaii and turned it down...I couldn't move. Bottom line, I would go the Chapman route before I'd go USC, but I am bias. But seriously USC on that resume is sexy...no doubt.
     
  17. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

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    #17
    Film schools like USC are just really expensive rental programs for camera gear if you don't use the school, the contacts, and other resources to your advantage. I've heard horror stories from USC faculty I know about film students sabotaging other students' films, among other things. Unless you're truly a prodigy filmmaker already, I'd say take the $150k+ you'd spend there and actually make a movie. You'll learn more in the process of budgeting, writing, casting, shooting, editing, marketing, and distributing that film than any film school will teach you.

    I applied to USC and got in, but ultimately decided (read: parents wouldn't pay for) to go to a smaller school for journalism and documentary where there wasn't fierce competition. I stood out much more than at a film school, learned everything friends of mine who DID go to film school learned, and got a solid job before I ever left school. Now, less than a year out of school, I'm already in casting for my first major feature I'm producing. I've edited others, but this is a totally different beast. It's amazing how much you can learn about the filmmaking process by just doing it. USC looks good on a resumé, but ultimately, that'll just get you a gopher job unless you have a solid film or script to show, or you really made an impression on enough instructors for them to get you a gig.
     
  18. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

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    #18
    You're more than welcome at our school (CCC). Unfortunately, the pretention doesn't stop at USC.
     
  19. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #19
    Actually this is another great point. You WILL stand out more at a smaller school if you're any good. I have to say though if USC is a choice of yours you may want to get on the ball soon. In 10th grade I venture to guess most people going to USC Film School were making movies and participating in some sort of activity dealing with film since long before high school.
     
  20. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #20
    USC I think closes the doors for applications by the end of November right? You better be on the Ball ASAP. You have basically less than a year to completely polish and make your look amazing.

    Well again I hope everything turns out great for you. If USC is your choice then that is great and I hope everything turns out amazingly! If USC doesn't work out for some reason remember its really not the school you went to but the dedication you did in the art of film. There are so many people who got degrees in such crazy things and then ended up becoming an amazing film maker.

    Good luck. And for anyone that ever ends up at Columbia College Hollywood. Drop me a line
     
  21. JohnMC thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Thanks for all the replies guys (or gals, if there are any). I should have made it more clear what my hopes and plans are. I'm in 10th grade as I said before, next fall I plan to attend a local college as a PSEO student. I will stay there until I complete my AA. After that I would love to go to film school.

    I have been doing media/video production since I was 13. I started by being a grip for a local freelancer. Since then I've been an editor, camera man, and producer.

    My original plan was to become a civil engineer but in the last year film has really grown on me (he has also played a major role in pushing me into film school).

    So thanks again for all the replies, I would still like to get into USC or UCLA but I will definitely look into Chapman University and Columbia College Hollywood.

    JohnMC
     
  22. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

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    #22
    As a fellow aspiring filmmaker, I wish the very best of luck, wherever you choose to further your studies at. :)



    irmongoose
     
  23. Film Divine macrumors newbie

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    Jan 2, 2007
    #23
    I second this as well. It would be great if you went to USC, but any of the school's mentioned are good. It's not only who you know, but how much you put into it. For example, the last film I worked on the producer studied psychology at a midwestern university. He graduated, moves to L.A. with just the clothes on his back and within a few months of hard work was a First A.D. This is not normal, mind you, but it can be done.:)
     
  24. poppe macrumors 68020

    poppe

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    #24
    The one big downside to Columbia College Hollywood is that it is a film school and nothing else. Chapman USC and UCLA you have to take some other classes as well. Since I came in to Columbia College Hollywood with 35 credit hours (44 to them since there crediting is slightly different) I only had to take on general education class.

    So the downside to Columbia College Hollywood is that yes you get to do film, but you don't really get to study life and isn't that what film? Life told through stories. So I try to do a lot of outside research and read a lot in hopes that my experiences and my studies (other than film) can broaden my view of the world and be able to tell and more detailed and complex story.

    Columbia College Hollywood is growing that is for sure and in about 5 years they might actually be a little better at stuff like this, but right now they are still trying to escape the technical school it once used to be (well like a technical school. never was).
     
  25. benjo112591 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 29, 2008
    #25
    Hey I know I'm a good three years late on this thread but I'm just now applying to film schools and the google machine turned this up. If I did my math right you're a freshman this year, correct? Did you get into USC film? If so, do you like it? If not, where did you decide on? I've applied to USC, Chapman, NYU, and UCLA and I'm trying to gauge my chances. Thanks!
     

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