I thought I'll just post what I've been thinking. I've basically written down some pros and cons of schools that I've been admitted to. Maybe it'll help me/others in some way. Disclaimer - This is just based on my research by speaking to current students and alumni from each schools. But correct me if I'm wrong. Also feel free to add more schools based on your research.
USC MFA in Film/ TV Production
- Really strong alumni network.
- Reputation and Prestige (World renowned).
- Opportunities to pitch to studio executives.
- 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.
UT Austin MFA in Film & Media Production
- Affordable tuition compared to other schools. ~9k for Texas residents and ~18k for out of state, per annum
- Amazing TA opportunities guaranteed to almost every MFA student. Benefits: Resident tuition qualification, Free medical insurance, 6k stipend per semester, $1892 tuition reduction per semester (paying ~6k for 2nd year and ~3k for 3rd year)
- Great faculty, also great for exploring Documentary film making.
- Film funding - 1k for pre-thesis film, 7k for thesis film (Moody Innovation Labs).
- You get a shot at making 2 top tier festival worthy films.
- Austin - home to 3 major film festivals.
- Higher chance of your film getting into SXSW.
- Great program if you also want to settle down as a professor.
- Opportunities for outside fellowships up to 28k.
- Not a lot of opportunities to work in Hollywood.
- Weaker alumni network when compared to the high ranked schools.
- 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). But you can go back without any financial obligations.
- It is not LA.