Everyone knows there are dozens of cinematography schools all around the United States, and then hundreds of other colleges that might teach some courses that are helpful to a filmmaker. Gaining the most experience possible in a highly creative environment is important to help ensure the success of any filmmaker though and it can mean a huge difference when it is time to start looking at which academies you are most interested in attending. If you have any questions about which schools are best for you, you need to look at them objectively to help you narrow down all of the choices.
Your first step should involve looking for a film and theater school that has at least one instructor that you are very interested in working with. Your desire to work with this instructor should have several reasons, not just simply you think they look nice. Instead, there should be a specific project that they have worked on that you admire, a specific film making technique that you respect or even a method of teaching that you feel will blend well with your particular learning style. Remember; avoid picking your academy simply because the teachers look nice.
You should look for a school where the students look like they are actually happy. This might seem strange, but students who are always upset and mad are not going to be fostering the creative atmosphere that you need to succeed. You should look for a place that encourages students to be happy because a school that is trying to pull students down will often stifle creative ideas as well. Filmmaking is a process that relies quite heavily on creative thinking. All movies at some point start out as nothing more than ideas written down on paper, the creative process that each individual involved in the movie brings helps ensure that as it comes to life, it is something truly spectacular.
You need to also look for ample equipment at the school. While you may not have access to all of this equipment making films on your own, it is important to learn how to use everything properly. A course that merely teaches students how to use homemade or alternative equipment is not going to fully prepare you for everything ahead of you. In contrast, you also want to look for classes that will allow you to improvise with equipment at times. It is a good skill that is badly needed for most filmmakers. No matter how much you plan, something will occur where a piece of essential equipment is broken and you need an alternative solution quickly.
A final consideration should be the style of the school. In order to get the best experience possible you should look for an organization that will teach all aspects of filmmaking. For example if you are attending a film academy you need to ensure you are taught about story lines, scripting, working with actors, editing, filming and time management. Each of these areas work together, and you may find yourself working in each of these areas. While you should have a crew to assist in many areas, having the experience to know what needs to be done, and when is something that is extremely valuable and can really set you apart as a filmmaker. This diverse experience will be quite helpful as you set out to create truly spectacular feature films.