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If you don’t get a scholarship to attend USC I would advise against going. It’s too much money to throw away for a school with so many problems. The first year is remedial film. If you’ve ever taken film before, it’s useless. 6 units are devoted to critical studies, which at the time of writing is 12k. Do yourself a favor and save for a house.
The so called network only helps a certain few. The fact that you’re in college helps more, so I would choose a cheaper school.
Students are among the most motivated and productive
Atmosphere of collaboration emphasized both in student populations and in curriculum
Professors who would be consider diamonds in the rough are more common here
More opportunities to be on set or to work on a film than you know what to do with
Editing facilities are top notch
This is small and ultimately not very important, but I was surprised about the kind of clout going to SCA gave me within the school. There is a sense of pride that goes along with it.
Self motivated and disciplined students never fail to find a plethora of opportunities
Sound and Producing department faculty are among the best in the nation
Students are selected by less tangible standards than necessarily the commercial quality of their work, their resume or their film literacy. The gap in initial competency among students can cause some friction.
For a school that claims to focus on industry practice, the opportunity to work on anything even approaching industry scale work is few and far between. Even advanced classes can sometimes have a more Guerilla feel.
Since films are thought of mainly as a form of practice, not enough time or emphasis is given for the preproduction phase
Sound and Production Design are disciplines get little emphasis.
One can spin their wheels and go unnoticed if they don't self promote
Ultimately the school lives up to its ranking. It's not a conservatory. Perhaps it should be, but beyond that claim it shouldn't be judged against other conservatories.
Furthermore, the student network is among the most ambitious and collaborative. The attitude among the student population is the reason I decided to go to this school and I haven't regretted it.
If you aren't disciplined and self motivated you can end up getting a little overlooked at the school but with a 3 year program, there is plenty of time to self correct.
Job opportunities/internships other than DP or directing in Hollywood.
Surrounded by faculty who currently work in Hollywood.
Student assistantships with hourly pay with sign on bonus of up to 5k.
Scholarship opportunities for students who get their 1st or 2nd year films into good film festivals.
Tuition fee: ~40k/annum ( total cost for 3 years might extend up to 200k because of self-funded films).
Self-funded films except for 546 course (top 10 students of 60). Thesis is also self-funded.
Can make only one top tier film festival worth movie in 546 course as a director (Unless you self-fund the films you make in intermediate directing, directing techniques, advanced directing or making media for social change courses).
International students should be prepared to go back if they do not get their movies into top tier film festivals (which makes you eligible for O1 visa : click here for more details).
No high end equipment for directing courses other than thesis or a 546.
Bottom line: Tons of opportunities to work in Hollywood but may be not as a DP or a Director (Unless you're a Ryan Coogler ).
Amazing faculty, equipment, infrastructure and amazing classmates aka future collaborators.
Plus being a part of USC, there is just a ton of advantages in itself.
Even the campus is breathtaking, which means you got a ton of shooting spots!
Not everything will be given to you, some expect that, but do know that you need to put in some effort too.
I have finished my first semester and it has lived up to my great expectations. The semester just blew past me. There was so much to do and so much to learn! I just can't wait for the next semester to begin.
USC School of Cinematic Arts IS definitely the best film school.
I just went to their graduate admitted students day, and needless to say, it's pretty understandable why they continuously rank top 3 on every Best Film School list. Friendly and knowledgeable faculty, committed students, and they had pulled a nice, diverse group together for this coming year which is very important to me as a filmmaker. Not sure where I'm going yet, but definitely impressed!