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Because Your Future Won't Wait
It’s Friday night, you’re on a date at, where else, the movies. As you sit in your comfy reclining chair you think to yourself, “Hey, I can do this!” Your date laughs at the thought of you being the next great filmmaker, but you’re going to show her.
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So what do you do now? Many filmmakers don’t find out which aspects of film production they love most until they’ve gone through at least a year of film school first. So hold off on declaring yourself a producer, director, cinematographer, etc. just yet. You’ve got researching to do.
As you start your research online the first thing you’ll notice is that most of the best film schools are situated in two very specific regions. That would be the two most populous cities in the US, Los Angeles and New York. But you live in Des Moines!
The three most competitive film schools in the country are coincidentally regarded as the best films schools in the country. (Due to the amount of famous names they have each produced) These would be The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC), and New York University (NYU). These are the most prestigious schools and if accepted you will most likely have little trouble finding employment after graduation.
If, however you are not one of the few hundred of the tens of thousands of applicants accepted fear not! The dream is still alive! There are 75 film schools in the 49 states not called California and 39 in California alone. Also should you wish to study film in another land or are not a native of the United States, there are over 100 film schools internationally.
So you see, your dreams aren’t dashed if one of the big 3 doesn’t accept you. This could be a blessing in disguise; many of the smaller schools have equally impressive facilities without the cut throat nature of the larger schools.
Obviously when speaking of the best film schools, lists tend to be California-centric. Many Angelinos consider Loyola Marymount University and the American Film Institute to be rivals of USC and UCLA. If you want to be a part of the Hollywood scene, but not live in Hollywood, you have a few options: California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Chapman University located in Orange, and Brooks Institute located in Santa Barbara. If setting is your muse, Brooks is an excellent choice.
If you happen to live in the middle of the country, The University of Texas in Austin has an excellent film program. There is a booming film industry in the area which makes it one of the best film schools in the country. The people of Austin generally lead a more laid back lifestyle as opposed to their counterparts in NYC and LA. This may be something to consider depending on personality and ability to tolerate traffic jams.
Other top film schools to consider are: North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, San Francisco State University, and Columbia University in New York City.
Now all you’ve got to do is apply, be accepted, and get that Oscar speech ready.
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