Straight Talk About the Best Film Schools
Perhaps you’re dreaming of a career as a film producer, film director or film editor, and you’re wondering what the best film schools are. There are various lists out there on the Internet that rank film schools by various criteria, including student satisfaction, up-to-date equipment and curriculum, etc.
However, you shouldn’t let lists like these interfere with your own common sense. The best film school on a certain list is not necessarily the best film school for you. You should always be sure that a school can actually help propel you toward your ultimate goal: to be a successful filmmaker. Otherwise, you’re throwing away your money, no matter how highly ranked the film school happens to be. That being said—let’s debunk a couple of common misconceptions about film schools in general, and which one(s) are necessarily the best.
THE BEST FILM SCHOOLS AREN’T ALWAYS THE MOST EXPENSIVE.
Some people automatically equate a high school tuition with a high-quality education. However, this simply isn’t the case. The cost of tuition can be affected by a variety of factors, including the school’s own costs based on its educational approach, the cost of real estate, and even the school’s perceived demand. (A school surrounded by hype can charge more because they know people will pay it.) The truth is, it is possible to get an affordable film school education and still be properly prepared for a film career.
THE BEST FILM SCHOOLS AREN’T ALWAYS THE ONES WITH THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE CURRICULUM.
Another common misconception is that the more comprehensive the curriculum, or the longer it takes to complete the course, the better it is. If we were basing this strictly on academic standards, that way of thinking might carry some merit. However, filmmaking is not an academic discipline; it is a skill set, a trade, and an industry. There are things you’ll learn in the real world that you can never learn in a classroom. If the film school has a comprehensive curriculum but can’t give you job connections when you graduate, what purpose does your education serve? Your goal as a filmmaker is to get hired, not to have the greatest amount of academic knowledge about filmmaking.
So, what makes a film school the best one for you? Ultimately, in our view, the best film schools are the ones that can truly get you prepared for a successful career, hopefully in an affordable manner. This means the school should have a balance of technical training, hands-on experience, and industry connections. The mentor-apprentice (extern) educational approach is one that accomplishes all three of these things quite well, and usually quite affordably.
There are many good film schools out there, but don’t base your choice on any particular list. The best film schools are the ones who can get you in the door of the film industry, and on your way to a solid career.