If you want to go to film school to learn to direct movies, you might be wondering whether there are scholarships for film directors. Film schools can be quite expensive, and while jobs in film are potentially quite lucrative, the job market is less predictable in the film industry than it is in other professions. Simply put—the less debt you take on, the better. (It would be a shame to have to take a dead-end job just to pay your bills after film school, just because nothing opened up for you right away.)

The short answer to the question is yes—there are scholarships available for film school students, the same as for others. The challenge, of course, is in gaining those scholarships. After all, there is only so much scholarship money to go around, and so many students trying to get a piece of that money.

If you want to look for scholarships for film directors, there are basically two places to look for them:

In-house scholarships in the film school you wish to attend. (Many colleges and universities, especially, have access to scholarship monies to dole out to their students in a number of ways. These won’t usually cover the entire cost of education, but anything helps.)
Private foundations that favor the arts. (You can often find these resources by a simple search on the Internet, or by researching at your local library.)

When applying for these scholarships, there are also three rules of thumb you should follow:

Don’t waste time on scholarships for which you don’t meet the classifications. Every scholarship fund has certain criteria to meet, and if you don’t meet them, don’t waste time trying to get them to make an exception.
Follow the application instructions precisely. Many times applications get tossed because they were not submitted correctly.
The early bird gets the worm. Don’t wait until you actually need the money to apply. Plan ahead, and you might secure scholarship funds as much as 1-2 years before you need them.
Even with scholarships, film school can be quite expensive. You should know there are alternative ways to learn film directing that are affordable enough that you might not even need a scholarship. One such alternative is to enroll in a film school that uses the mentor-extern approach. This kind of school will place you as an extern in a real film production company, where you can learn film directing one-on-one from an actual film director—all for a fraction of what other schools charge. Even in these cases, scholarships may be available, and in some unlikely places. For example, The Connectors, a new reality show, is currently accepting applications for candidates who may receive a full scholarship to attend The Film Connection.

There are, in fact, scholarships for film directors; plan ahead, work smartly, and be willing to explore all options in the process.

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