Dallas Film Schools by Felicia Hodges
Dilm schools, Dallas, cinematography, directing, editing, producing
Is critiquing camera angles and dialogue on YouTube videos is your favorite past time? If you’ve ever gotten as much enjoyment from watching the credits roll than from the movie itself, perhaps a career in filmmaking is something you’ve thought about. The good news is that learning the ins and outs of the industry doesn’t necessarily mean you have to relocate to Hollywood or New York City. Yes, Virginia, there are film schools in the Dallas area.
Before you race out for editing equipment and film, it’s important to know what aspect of filmmaking you’d like to get into. Is leading the cast and crew your thing or are you interested in operating the camera and composing the shot? Does writing the script hold the majority of the appeal for you or is putting the final movie together more your thing? Maybe making the special effects sing, blending the sound or making the set “pop” are more your cup of tea. Dallas-area film schools offer at least some introduction to all of the above, even if every school doesn’t have everything.
For example, the Art Institute of Dallas (www.artinstitutes.edu/dallas/) offers a bachelor’s degree program in Digital Film and Video Production designed specifically to help film students develop, design and deliver digitally-drafted video and audio graphics – necessary skills for anyone looking to become a video or film editor, digital videographer or film producer. Also available is an associate’s degree program in Video Production, which offers courses in electronic field production, lighting, video/film theory, video engineering, design and the financial/business end of production.
If a four- or two-year commitment isn’t what you had in mind, MediaTech Institute (www.mediatechinstitute.com) offers a 44-week Digital Film & Video Arts program to help students develop what they’ll need for careers in commercial, music video, documentary, television and feature film production. Their hands-on approach encourages soup-to-nuts involvement – from story idea development, script writing and editing to directing and producing. The Irvington-based school also offers online classes.
Quitting your day job to attend classes full-time not an option? Non-degree film making courses may be more your speed. The Dallas-based USA Film School (usafilmschool.com) offers a bevy of six, 10, 20 hour tutorial and 40+ hour film workshop “crash courses” that cover everything from technical theory, location scouting, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing and budgeting. For the beginner, intermediate or advanced student, classes are typically held Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm and all day on Saturday.
The Film Connection Film Institute (filmconnection.com/index.html) offers yet another option – courses for directors, producers and technicians that pairs students with industry mentors for six months. The campus is actually area television, video or movie sets. With a close to 30 television stations in the area and a host of movies and projects being shot in Dallas every year, lots of opportunities to learn from the pros exist.
The only way to know if going to a film school is right for you is to explore your options and research what interests you. Nothing beats a failure but a try.