Is Northwestern RTVF Undergraduate Major Good?

stevenyao

New Member
Hi guys,

My name is Steven Yao, a rising senior in high school, and I just got admitted to Northwestern RTVF major.

I am extremely passionate about filmmaking (mostly production) and also applied to NYU and USC. I had confidence that I would be accepted to Tisch if I applied, but I decided to ED NU due to its overall better education and its prestigious reputation in the country. I took their journalism summer workshop (another field I'm interested in) and was greeted with such a warm and supportive community. However, I've heard some conflicting feedback from current students and alums who had mixed feelings about the production resources there, and I'm a little hesitant if I made the right decision by going to NU. I'm wondering, for the alums who graduated from this program, were you able to have a lot of hands-on training there? I saw on the website that students can use RED for cinematography classes. Generally, what kind of equipment are available for rtvf students? How are the professors? Are there plentiful industry connections?

The main reason that I chose NU over other schools is its superior liberal arts education. If I were to double major, are there any areas of study or specific major that you would recommend? I also find the module “directing for the screen” especially appealing. Is this a good program for me to hone my skills and set foot in the film industry after graduation?

Again, I truly love filmmaking, and I wish to keep following my dream and strive to make something great in college. Hopefully, I can find my place in the industry as a Chinese filmmaker (I'm also considering going to grad schools such as USC, NYU, AFI). Therefore, I'm uncertain if I made the right choice by going to NU. In other words, I don't know if my skills and resources would fall short after graduating when comparing to NYU and USC graduates. I hope you guys can help me out!

Thank you sooo much!

Here's the 5mins film I prepared for the portfolio:
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
@afilmcionado went there and they spoke about it in this post below:


Welcome to the site!
 

stevenyao

New Member
@afilmcionado went there and they spoke about it in this post below:


Welcome to the site!
Thank you Chris! I've checked this post. While it's quite informative, I feel it only partially answered my question without addressing the double major and module question. Regardless, thank you for answering my question. This is a great platform!
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Thank you Chris! I've checked this post. While it's quite informative, I feel it only partially answered my question without addressing the double major and module question. Regardless, thank you for answering my question. This is a great platform!
No problem. Glad you like the site!
 

afilmcionado

Active Member
Thank you Chris! I've checked this post. While it's quite informative, I feel it only partially answered my question without addressing the double major and module question. Regardless, thank you for answering my question. This is a great platform!
Hi Steven, just saw your post. Regarding the directing module, I actually did address that in my other post, though I understand your confusion because it has so many names lol. Advanced Directing/Senior Directing/Directing for the Screen are all referring to the same thing. It is a final year–program in which every student gets to make a short film, like a thesis film. That obviously would be a great opportunity to flex your filmmaking skills, which should already be honed in the lower-level classes by then. It has a competitive application process and your place is not guaranteed. I'm not sure what industry connections you are referring to – with your film, you can apply to festivals, but a short film will most likely not land you a job.

I highly recommend double majoring. As I said in my other post – especially if you are considering postgrad film school – learn something other than film in undergrad. You are right that the advantage NU has over other schools like NYU and USC is its strong academia. Many career-oriented students double major in econ and RTVF. If you aren't career-oriented, you can double major in whatever you want to learn more about. In my opinion, that will help you immensely in making films with substance.

On the subject of RED cameras, they are highly inaccessible. When I was there, the biggest complaint among students was that you needed (and still need, I believe) to take higher-level classes to "unlock" access to higher-level equipment, and those classes are in incredible demand. At NU, class selection is based on seniority, and it might take you until your third year to unlock access. (You can always try to collaborate with upperclassmen, depending on the type of project.) Though when I was leaving, the department was taking steps to make this less of a problem, so it can be improved by the time you get there.

Let me know if you have any other questions!
 

stevenyao

New Member
Hi Steven, just saw your post. Regarding the directing module, I actually did address that in my other post, though I understand your confusion because it has so many names lol. Advanced Directing/Senior Directing/Directing for the Screen are all referring to the same thing. It is a final year–program in which every student gets to make a short film, like a thesis film. That obviously would be a great opportunity to flex your filmmaking skills, which should already be honed in the lower-level classes by then. It has a competitive application process and your place is not guaranteed. I'm not sure what industry connections you are referring to – with your film, you can apply to festivals, but a short film will most likely not land you a job.

I highly recommend double majoring. As I said in my other post – especially if you are considering postgrad film school – learn something other than film in undergrad. You are right that the advantage NU has over other schools like NYU and USC is its strong academia. Many career-oriented students double major in econ and RTVF. If you aren't career-oriented, you can double major in whatever you want to learn more about. In my opinion, that will help you immensely in making films with substance.

On the subject of RED cameras, they are highly inaccessible. When I was there, the biggest complaint among students was that you needed (and still need, I believe) to take higher-level classes to "unlock" access to higher-level equipment, and those classes are in incredible demand. At NU, class selection is based on seniority, and it might take you until your third year to unlock access. (You can always try to collaborate with upperclassmen, depending on the type of project.) Though when I was leaving, the department was taking steps to make this less of a problem, so it can be improved by the time you get there.

Let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you so much! This truly helps!
 

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