j.adamfilm

New Member
I'm looking to primarily focus on Cinematography and would also like to learn CGI and AI creation as well. I would also like to do some directing however those two are the main ones that I am focusing on especially for a film school degree, cinematography being #1 and the most important to me. That being said, which of these two schools is best? Below are things that I value/look for in schools in order of importance.


1.) After Grad Life: Id like a school that helps and shows how to get into the full industry post-grad. I was a freelance music video director for 4 years and struggled to get myself into the real film industry. I went to a more local film school and while they had very credible professors, I noticed they did not help much with getting students working after school which would leave me out 60k and in the same position with slightly more knowledge than I already knew (also seemed like the professors just did this to fill free time and/or needed more money). Finally, the school's students were 98% VA vets just looking to do it for a nice paycheck at the end, so ZERO connections. After many other issues like terrible organization and more. I decided to save my money and drop out.

2.) Connecting: Self explanatory, I of course want a place to make good connections.

3.) Tech & Facilities: State-of-the-art tech is important to me as I'd like to know the equipment being used in the industry before getting there and to avoid having to learn everything I need on a project before production starts.

4.) Staff: Id like Proffesors that for one know what they are talking about, but also understand the current industry and where its headed. Helping guide for that future.

5.) Program.) I am not sure how those schools work as I've not done too much research recently and have been out for a little while due to medical reasons but I would like to be able to mainly focus on Cinematography. Since that is my set goal now, I wouldn't want to "waste" time doing directing work/projects and having 1-2 classes that is only helping me for my cinematography goal.

Let me know what you guys think. Of course, I am going to be doing my own research as well, just thought to drop this here for extra insight.
 
I'm in USC Writing but just from observation, AFI has a dedicated cinematography program and you do three back-to-back short films in your first year working with students from other disciplines. USC has a large production MFA that encompasses all the disciplines, and then you register for classes that they offer every semester like a regular university. It seems AFI is more specialized in the way you're looking for.

Both have strong alumni networks!
 
USC and AFI are both good schools, go to some of their screenings, meet some people, see if you can get on a crew everyone is still shooting this semester.
 
I assume you’re early on in researching programs? You’ll learn best at the environment you feel like you’ll fit in best. We can’t really say “which one is better” because it’s really a matter of how you like to learn and what you want out of a program. If you’re able, I’d do an in-person tour, talk to some alums at meet and greets, and absolutely scour the whole website for each program. Both of them are super reputable programs but you won’t get anything out of them if you hate the campus, professors, cohort, and curriculum. AFI does a ton of info sessions online that are super helpful; go to those and take notes (USC did one in the summer) because recalling info you've learned from them in your personal statement or, if you play your cards right, your interview will show you’ve gone above and beyond to research the program.
 
We just posted an interview with an AFI alum and professor:

Tal Lazar (AFI Cinematography MFA‘09) on Choosing the Right Film School and the Beauty of Not Knowing (Part 1)

Tal Lazar (AFI Cinematography MFA‘09) on Choosing the Right Film School and the Beauty of Not Knowing (Part 1)

Tal Lazar is an award-winning cinematographer, producer, and educator who has studied and taught at some of the most prolific film schools worlwide, most notably the American Film Institute Conservatory (AFI) and Columbia University's School of the Arts. His films (The Unborn, Every Time I Die...

We've also interviewed USC and AFI admissions departments.

 
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