• THANKSGIVING WEEK LIFETIME SUPPORTING MEMBERSHIP SALE: If you are finding FilmSchool.org helpful, consider becoming or upgrading to a Lifetime Supporting Membership for ONLY $16! (20% off) by entering the coupon code THANKS. Coupon expires Sunday 11/29 at midnight PST.

Direction - MFA / MA - Looking at FSU, Toronto, Prague , Australia and other options. Help! :)

Hey Guys!

First off, I'm a complete newbie and this is kind of my first post here.

I've recently quit the corporate world and have decided to take the plunge into the big, bold (and supposedly bad :) ) world of films and showbiz. My undergrad is from India in Commerce and I was working in the UAE for the past 5 years. Thus, at the age of 29 I thought let me give this a shot before it is too late. I participated in a ONE-MINUTE short film competition while I was working and thus have SOME ( not enough) video content available to display. Additionally, I also got the opportunity to write and direct a social media ad for my earlier organization. I also have a film blog in which I elucidate about movies that I have seen and moved me and the inherent subtexts it tries to convey.

I am on the lookout for courses in Direction.

Being an international student cost is a concern for me ( as they are exorbitantly priced in many cases). Some of the factors that I am evaluating schools on are ( in no specific order) :
- Costs
- Alumni
- Emphasis on Practical more than Theory
- Possibilities of work/internships post graduation.

At present I am checking out the below schools; I havent started applications for any of the below yet:
1) Prague Film School (Post Graduate Diploma)
2) FSU - Film School (MFA Production)
3) Academy of Film, Televsion & Theatre (AFTT - Post Gradute Diploma)
4) Toronto Film School (Post Graduate Diploma)
5) Colorado Film School

London Film School is my dream institution but it has exorbitant charges. The above mentioned ones are not sacrosanct and are just ideal for me in view of the aforementioned factors.

However, I would be really delighted if you could provide me with answers to some pertinent questions stated below:
1) Are there any other film schools that I may need to consider in addition to the above (preferably for Direction - Film)?
2) Even though my interest lies in Direction, would MFA in Production be an apt choice (FSU doesn't have a Directing Program).
3) Is there a major difference in MA vs MFA or is it different from institution to institution?
4) What are the stayback options in US post completion of course? I know for a fact that commencing Sept 2020, all student in the UK will be provided 2 years of stay back option t look for work opportunities.

Ok, I think I've ranted wayyyy too much. But any help would be great guys!

- Sid.
 
To your questions:

1) There's a plethora of film schools in just the US alone, but also around the world! You can definitely find a school with a solid Directing program that checks off all of your boxes. Consider starting your research with the articles this website provides.


2) Directing is great and holds a lot of glory, but don't rule production out! Directing is just one derivative of production. You'll find that some schools don't have a specific directing program, BUT they have a film and/or production program (ex: LMU). Within these programs, they offer you the ability to specialize in either cinematography, producing, or directing later on in your MFA. Look closely at those programs when you're researching schools! In film, there's so much value in being multi-faceted. A director that understands the meat and bones of production is a better director than one who doesn't. How can you direct others to do a job you don't understand? So keep a close eye on production programs, they may offer you a larger breadth of experience that includes directing.

3) There is a major difference between an MA and an MFA, especially in film. MFAs focus more the practice of art, whereas MAs focus on both theory and practice. You'll find MAs in Film Studies because you'll analyze films and texts and primarily write film theory essays on them. The emphasis isn't on making the film. However, if you are doing an MFA in Film, you are going to be producing work on a very regular basis. You will take some theory classes, because learning the film canon is extremely important. However, most of your workload is focused on making films.

4) Stayback options for foreigners in the US are...unfortunate. I have so many family and friends who struggle to find ways to stay in the US legally. What it usually boils down to most of the time, is just trying to prolong your stay in any way you can just to buy yourself time. I believe it is particularly hard to get working visas in film versus business, medicine, teaching, volunteering, etc. There are definitely ways to buy yourself time though. You just have to be very creative and put film on the back burner for a bit. But if all else fails, marry someone!
 
To your questions:

1) There's a plethora of film schools in just the US alone, but also around the world! You can definitely find a school with a solid Directing program that checks off all of your boxes. Consider starting your research with the articles this website provides.


2) Directing is great and holds a lot of glory, but don't rule production out! Directing is just one derivative of production. You'll find that some schools don't have a specific directing program, BUT they have a film and/or production program (ex: LMU). Within these programs, they offer you the ability to specialize in either cinematography, producing, or directing later on in your MFA. Look closely at those programs when you're researching schools! In film, there's so much value in being multi-faceted. A director that understands the meat and bones of production is a better director than one who doesn't. How can you direct others to do a job you don't understand? So keep a close eye on production programs, they may offer you a larger breadth of experience that includes directing.

3) There is a major difference between an MA and an MFA, especially in film. MFAs focus more the practice of art, whereas MAs focus on both theory and practice. You'll find MAs in Film Studies because you'll analyze films and texts and primarily write film theory essays on them. The emphasis isn't on making the film. However, if you are doing an MFA in Film, you are going to be producing work on a very regular basis. You will take some theory classes, because learning the film canon is extremely important. However, most of your workload is focused on making films.

4) Stayback options for foreigners in the US are...unfortunate. I have so many family and friends who struggle to find ways to stay in the US legally. What it usually boils down to most of the time, is just trying to prolong your stay in any way you can just to buy yourself time. I believe it is particularly hard to get working visas in film versus business, medicine, teaching, volunteering, etc. There are definitely ways to buy yourself time though. You just have to be very creative and put film on the back burner for a bit. But if all else fails, marry someone!

Woah! Thanks a ton for this elaborate response. Moreover, thanks for taking the time out to respond. It has been quite helpful. I am keen on the FSU Program as that seems the comparatively cost effective ones. I wouldn't want to spend more than 120K for the course specially given the fact that it is not easy to find work in the US post the course.

Anyhoo, I am still looking out for other options as well.

Thanks once again Joan!
 

Latest Classifieds

Latest Applications

Latest reviews

  • Film And Television Institute of India
    4.00 star(s)
    Graduate Certificate, TV Direction
    I was enrolled in the 1-year Direction certificate course in the TV wing in the session 2018-19. Following are the pros and cons that I...
    • ValArya
  • University of Texas at Austin - Department of Radio-Television-Film
    4.00 star(s)
    Great film school outside of LA/NYC
    I would say overall UT's film school is a great choice! It is rated #11 on THR's Top Film School List in the U.S. Sure it's nowhere near LA or NY...
    • Anonymous
  • Columbia College Chicago - Cinema Directing (M.F.A.)
    5.00 star(s)
    a great decision
    Columbia College Chicago is not only one of America's best film schools it is also one of the most affordable. The program is advertised as 2...
    • Jcromwell
  • Fitchburg State University
    4.00 star(s)
    Okay School, especially for the price
    Came in as both a transfer and commuter, so my experience was really lessened by that fact. Your time and success here is really up to you...
    • Anonymous
  • SUNY Purchase - Playwriting & Screenwriting BA
    5.00 star(s)
    Excellent Quality Program
    I want to start off by mentioning that I came to Purchase as a transfer student from another liberal arts college and screenwriting program. This...
    • catmom
Top