Decision Time Columbia or Chapman

Fernando González Ortiz

Member
Supporting Member
Hi everyone, so the time has come. To be honest I already have a pretty hefty spreadsheet with overall costs and overall scholarships. Also, I'm just finishing my very personal Pros/Cons list.

So I got accepted at Chapman for the MBA/MFA and at Columbia for Creative Producing. Now I need to decide between two very different programs, two opposite cities and two different everythings.

Some background: I'm from Mexico and applied as an international student(obviously). I majored in Communications and minored in filmmaking, for my minor I produced a short film that got into may film festivals. Since graduating I have freelanced, done directing, editing, DPing, PA, runner, shopper and so much more. Currently, I have a content manager role in a tech company to pay the bills.

I want to be a producer, the ideal dream is to come back to Mexico and create a content production company. I want to foster ideas from many Mexican creatives and find them a home, I also want to write and produce some of my ideas.

Some of my current Pros/Cons
Chapman
Pros
Dual degree, the MBA could give the tools to actually create a company in Mexico
Better facilities and equipment overall (I know equipment isn't everything, just saying)
Good Hollywood networking

Cons
Seems like an up and coming program(this makes me uncertain)
The Hollywood/Studio System may not be replicable in Mexico
Focused mainly in production

Columbia
Pros
NY independent films are similar to Mexico's films
Very prestigious school
Storytelling focused, more writing and being creative in different fields
It has a Digital Lab were lots of new ideas are being experimented

Cons
Less equipment and older facilities (couldn't find much online, this may be rumors)
More focused in personal dramas
Not much Business classes/training


All of this is my personal view of it, you are welcome to debunk and debate it. At the end, I will have to follow my heart and listen to my gut while doing some fact-checking in my spreadsheet. Nonetheless, I love what this community has done to the forums, so I really appreciate your thoughts.

tl;dr this is like Sophie's choice
 

Yuk

Member
Supporting Member
Hey, I also had to make a decision bewteen Chapman (producing program) and Columbia because my deposit for Chapman was due very soon.
I ended up declining admittance from Chapman. My ultimate career goal is also starting my own company and although this is strictly my personal view, I made my decision based on the reasons below:
  • chapman's producing program being relatively new : I feel like they would probably still be changing things and constantly restructuring the program. And a new program means a small alumni network.
  • I also want some insight on the business side. In Columbia's online information session, one of the professors mentioned that students may take classes from different majors. Some CP students have taken business classes in the past. Although you won't be able to take as many classes as an MBA due to your schedule you'll still have access to business classes of a renowned business school.

I agree with the pros and cons you've mentioned, and both chapman and columbia are amazing schools 😀 it was a tough choice for me as well.
 

BuddernScotch

Active Member
Hi everyone, so the time has come. To be honest I already have a pretty hefty spreadsheet with overall costs and overall scholarships. Also, I'm just finishing my very personal Pros/Cons list.

So I got accepted at Chapman for the MBA/MFA and at Columbia for Creative Producing. Now I need to decide between two very different programs, two opposite cities and two different everythings.

Some background: I'm from Mexico and applied as an international student(obviously). I majored in Communications and minored in filmmaking, for my minor I produced a short film that got into may film festivals. Since graduating I have freelanced, done directing, editing, DPing, PA, runner, shopper and so much more. Currently, I have a content manager role in a tech company to pay the bills.

I want to be a producer, the ideal dream is to come back to Mexico and create a content production company. I want to foster ideas from many Mexican creatives and find them a home, I also want to write and produce some of my ideas.

Some of my current Pros/Cons
Chapman
Pros
Dual degree, the MBA could give the tools to actually create a company in Mexico
Better facilities and equipment overall (I know equipment isn't everything, just saying)
Good Hollywood networking

Cons
Seems like an up and coming program(this makes me uncertain)
The Hollywood/Studio System may not be replicable in Mexico
Focused mainly in production

Columbia
Pros
NY independent films are similar to Mexico's films
Very prestigious school
Storytelling focused, more writing and being creative in different fields
It has a Digital Lab were lots of new ideas are being experimented

Cons
Less equipment and older facilities (couldn't find much online, this may be rumors)
More focused in personal dramas
Not much Business classes/training


All of this is my personal view of it, you are welcome to debunk and debate it. At the end, I will have to follow my heart and listen to my gut while doing some fact-checking in my spreadsheet. Nonetheless, I love what this community has done to the forums, so I really appreciate your thoughts.

tl;dr this is like Sophie's choice
Congratulations! Two amazing schools. Your dream sounds amazing and very very needed to bring more voices to the screen.

I know a few small tidbits you may already know:

Chapman has lifetime alumn access to equipment. It's closer to LA but still a bit away so if you were to commute every day for work or internships it could be a bit tiring. I believe that it's also quite collaborative a school. And that area is really nice to live in - Orange looks so darn gorgeous. I'm likely deciding on LMU for my screenwriting MFA and that program is relatively new - but there's lots of pros in that too, and the trend is that LMU is going up in the standings, like Chapman!

For New York - what a city though. I imagine it'll be such a unique big city experience (but I grew up in the suburbs so I may just be a coubtry bumpkin). And despite it not offering as many industry/business courses, it is in NY and there must be many connections to be made there as well.

Which program's courses and profs excite you most? I may go with that.

Best of luck in fulfilling all your future visions,
 

kid_a2

Member
Chapman - Con

The Hollywood/Studio System may not be replicable in Mexico
Focused mainly in production

I'm not sure you'd need to worry about the replicability of the system being a major pro or con. I think regardless of where you go it will ultimately be quite different from your university experience.

Focused mainly in production
I don't see how this could hurt. If you're looking to produce, it would only help to have a deeper understanding of the production process. As someone who is currently in the digital design industry, I found it immensely helpful in working with developers to learn more coding. I imagine that as a producer, the more you know about the production process, the easier it becomes to work with the production folk.

Columbia - Pro

Very prestigious school

I don't think this should be a huge factor in your consideration. The fact that film programs at all are often debated about their validity in breaking into the industry in any capacity only further reduces the importance of name. Not to mention the growing debate in recent years how much name recognition factors in any industry, much less filmmaking. I think it's more important to focus on the program itself and how much you think you'll be able to get out of it, more than what others think you got out of it due to institution's name.

More focused in personal dramas
This seems to be more personal preference than anything. I'm not sure of many details of Columbia's producing program, but it would seem that the type of focus of stories would at least have a little dependency on the type of students in any given class? Not entirely sure, but personal drama focus might not be a bad thing? Even the highest budgeted blockbusters don't work without connection to the characters.


Not much Business classes/training
Again, not super knowledgable on the producing program at Columbia, but I do know their business school is considered top class, so this is surprising that this is your takeaway. Is it just specific to the producing program that the business classes seem underwhelming? It seems to me like if you're doing anything business related that Columbia would be the obvious choice.
 

Fernando González Ortiz

Member
Supporting Member
Chapman - Con

The Hollywood/Studio System may not be replicable in Mexico
Focused mainly in production

I'm not sure you'd need to worry about the replicability of the system being a major pro or con. I think regardless of where you go it will ultimately be quite different from your university experience.

Focused mainly in production
I don't see how this could hurt. If you're looking to produce, it would only help to have a deeper understanding of the production process. As someone who is currently in the digital design industry, I found it immensely helpful in working with developers to learn more coding. I imagine that as a producer, the more you know about the production process, the easier it becomes to work with the production folk.

Columbia - Pro

Very prestigious school

I don't think this should be a huge factor in your consideration. The fact that film programs at all are often debated about their validity in breaking into the industry in any capacity only further reduces the importance of name. Not to mention the growing debate in recent years how much name recognition factors in any industry, much less filmmaking. I think it's more important to focus on the program itself and how much you think you'll be able to get out of it, more than what others think you got out of it due to institution's name.

More focused in personal dramas
This seems to be more personal preference than anything. I'm not sure of many details of Columbia's producing program, but it would seem that the type of focus of stories would at least have a little dependency on the type of students in any given class? Not entirely sure, but personal drama focus might not be a bad thing? Even the highest budgeted blockbusters don't work without connection to the characters.


Not much Business classes/training
Again, not super knowledgable on the producing program at Columbia, but I do know their business school is considered top class, so this is surprising that this is your takeaway. Is it just specific to the producing program that the business classes seem underwhelming? It seems to me like if you're doing anything business related that Columbia would be the obvious choice.

So I'm jut trying to figure everything out, and I know that nothing works in absolutes. The replicability of the Studio system is just a doubt about how I can better take advantage of my opportunities abroad in regards to the Mexican industry.

Prestige is just a variable regarding Mexican scholarships that prefer prestigious schools. The persona dramas, is just a comment I read online and thought was worth asking.

And for sure Columbia has a great business school, if I attend Columbia, I will definitely look into taking more business classes.

But thanks for your reply, I definitely need to read about all this.



  • chapman's producing program being relatively new : I feel like they would probably still be changing things and constantly restructuring the program. And a new program means a small alumni network.
I like being a test subject, I had to do that during my high school and university. But it being new, makes me think that I could prefer a more established program.

I still have a doubt about the equipment and facilities at Columbia. I couldn't find much. I which I could get to know more about this.


======
@BuddernScotch I definitely think about all the positives for both. I'm from a very small town in Mexico and I love NYC. But thinking about all of Chapman's equipment and facilities I drool, I would love to be able to work with that equipment.


This weekend will definitely be a long one.
 

Cd23

Active Member
I can think of notable alumni from Columbia, like the team who did Making a Murderer on netflix, and Kathryn Bigelow. I personally don't know enough about Chapman, and also need to do my own major research since I was accepted for screenwriting there haha. But New York will have crazy opportunity, as well as getting through a lot of doors just with having Columbia on your resume! Either way though, it sounds like you're determined enough and talented enough to succeed regardless of choice.
 

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