[Fall 2021] Help with choosing film schools... USC vs Columbia

laoyang

Member
I thought it might be useful to start a thread for people trying to decide where to go now...

Personally, I'm having a hard time deciding between Columbia vs. USC. I'm definitely someone that values storytelling and writing more than access to great equipment (I know that, according to online information, Columbia is more writing-focused and USC much less so). With that being said, however, I worry that Columbia is so not production-focused that I might not get enough production experience and a well-considered portfolio. I also worry that Columbia doesn't have that much alumni connections and resources according to some of the alumni interviews. On the other hand, does USC really have much less emphasis on writing when compared to Columbia? ... I appreciate any kind of feedback or suggestions, whether related or not related to my questions!!
 

Holly.A

Member
I cannot speak on behalf of USC, but I will argue on the opposite of most of what you have said for Columbia. When a pandemic is not causing chaos around the world, you will leave Columbia with about 7 films minimum (3-5, 8-12, D4, Thesis and Non-Thesis but also factoring in every film you crew on as well). Many of Columbia's films go on to the large name festivals, ex. Double Speak this year by Hazel McKibbin went to Sundance. Kevin Haeflin's 3-5 is still winning at festivals. Etc. Etc.

Alumni: Katherine Bigelow, Jennifer Lee, Andrew Hauser, Maureen Ryan, Greg Mottola, James Mangold, and "technically" Greta Gerwig. We also have professors like James Schamus.

Equipment varies, but we have Canon C200, Panasonic AU-EVA1, Sony FS5, and higher level films can also check out an ARRI. Sound Equipment is pretty basic Sound Devices. Tons of light packages to choose from, etc. However reminder, you're not going to school to be a boom op, so this equipment is great, but you can make art through a great story which Columbia focuses on.

Please DM me with any other questions specific to Columbia.
 

laoyang

Member
I cannot speak on behalf of USC, but I will argue on the opposite of most of what you have said for Columbia. When a pandemic is not causing chaos around the world, you will leave Columbia with about 7 films minimum (3-5, 8-12, D4, Thesis and Non-Thesis but also factoring in every film you crew on as well). Many of Columbia's films go on to the large name festivals, ex. Double Speak this year by Hazel McKibbin went to Sundance. Kevin Haeflin's 3-5 is still winning at festivals. Etc. Etc.

Alumni: Katherine Bigelow, Jennifer Lee, Andrew Hauser, Maureen Ryan, Greg Mottola, James Mangold, and "technically" Greta Gerwig. We also have professors like James Schamus.

Equipment varies, but we have Canon C200, Panasonic AU-EVA1, Sony FS5, and higher level films can also check out an ARRI. Sound Equipment is pretty basic Sound Devices. Tons of light packages to choose from, etc. However reminder, you're not going to school to be a boom op, so this equipment is great, but you can make art through a great story which Columbia focuses on.

Please DM me with any other questions specific to Columbia.
Thank you SO much for answering my question! I watched some Columbia student films and loved them!
 

Kelley Ou

New Member
I thought it might be useful to start a thread for people trying to decide where to go now...

Personally, I'm having a hard time deciding between Columbia vs. USC. I'm definitely someone that values storytelling and writing more than access to great equipment (I know that, according to online information, Columbia is more writing-focused and USC much less so). With that being said, however, I worry that Columbia is so not production-focused that I might not get enough production experience and a well-considered portfolio. I also worry that Columbia doesn't have that much alumni connections and resources according to some of the alumni interviews. On the other hand, does USC really have much less emphasis on writing when compared to Columbia? ... I appreciate any kind of feedback or suggestions, whether related or not related to my questions!!
Your answer did help! Thank you! May I ask about the class size in CU since I really love the mentership. I wonder how many students would be in every class? Thank you!
 

rouleau.alexander

Member
Supporter
I cannot speak on behalf of USC, but I will argue on the opposite of most of what you have said for Columbia. When a pandemic is not causing chaos around the world, you will leave Columbia with about 7 films minimum (3-5, 8-12, D4, Thesis and Non-Thesis but also factoring in every film you crew on as well). Many of Columbia's films go on to the large name festivals, ex. Double Speak this year by Hazel McKibbin went to Sundance. Kevin Haeflin's 3-5 is still winning at festivals. Etc. Etc.

Alumni: Katherine Bigelow, Jennifer Lee, Andrew Hauser, Maureen Ryan, Greg Mottola, James Mangold, and "technically" Greta Gerwig. We also have professors like James Schamus.

Equipment varies, but we have Canon C200, Panasonic AU-EVA1, Sony FS5, and higher level films can also check out an ARRI. Sound Equipment is pretty basic Sound Devices. Tons of light packages to choose from, etc. However reminder, you're not going to school to be a boom op, so this equipment is great, but you can make art through a great story which Columbia focuses on.

Please DM me with any other questions specific to Columbia.
Hey Holly! I know gear doesn’t REALLY matter, but I am curious about what you mentioned about it. I crewed on an 8-12 and wasn’t crazy impressed with what we were able to check out from Columbia. Do you get access to better lighting gear and cameras like an Arri after the 8-12, or are they more for thesis productions?
 
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