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LMU vs Chapman Film School MFA

Discussion in 'Graduate Film School Discussions' started by xLorenzoM, Mar 25, 2018.

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  1. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    So I did a lot of extensive research on both schools since I and a lot of others got accepted into both programs. Here's what I've gotten from both schools as pros and cons:

    Tuition

    LMU (about $20k per year for 3 years) Approximately $60k in total
    Chapman (about $42k per year for 2 years) Approximately $80k in total

    LMU looks attractive here. 20k per year eases up costs if you're getting annual rewards for financial aid. Less overall for tuition = less student loan debt. Also, the max for an unsubsidized federal loan is about 20k (graduate students can't get subsidized loans from what I'm seeing) so you can cover your tuition with student loans and use grants and scholarships to go towards living expenses.

    Chapman is out here robbing folks in broad daylight. 2 years seems cool so you can get your MFA out of the way but 3 years in the heart of LA for approx. 20k less makes this one kind of a no brainer.

    Facilities

    LMU's facilties seem a tad outdated. They're not exactly advertising their editing suites on their website and the equipment list looks antiquated. (I'm personally going for screenwriting so this isn't a huuuuge deal but I was definitely looking forward to getting a bit hands on).

    Chapman's facilities are top of the line. Everything looks new from the studios to the media arts center. I watched a couple videos of students touring the campus and it looks very nice to say the least.

    Chapman wins this by a landslide. It's not even close. Glad to see the inflated tuition costs is getting put to good use (yes, that was shade).

    Location

    LMU is going to win here obviously. It's in the heart of LA. It's a 35 minute walk to the beach & close enough to the airport that you can leave your house 15 minutes before your mom's plane lands. The traffic in LA is BRUTAL so be prepared but being in the center of everything makes things a bit easier.

    Chapman is in Orange an hour outside LA when the traffic acts right. If you can't be bothered with the hectic LA lifestyle this might work out better for you where you're outside the madness but can get there if you need to.

    LMU wins this one again.

    Notoriety

    From what I've read in message boards, LMU does a bit more to see that their graduates transition smoothly into their fields. Not to say that Chapman doesn't but I've just seen a lot more on LMU's side. As far as alumni the most notable one for LMU is James Wong (X-Files, Final Destination, etc.) but he attended almost 30 years ago. For Chapman, it's just Justin Simien (Dear White People) really.

    I'll take LMU here for the after graduation internship opportunities outlook.

    Social

    I'm not really into the crazy college party scene anymore (I'm 27) but I do like to go to bars and have a drink or two... or three. LMU is a religious institution from what I'm seeing and I don't know if that affects the social atmosphere. I can't speak for Chapman because I've never been to Orange so if anyone has an opinion on what the social climate is like and what kinda of events and stuff go on, that would be great!

    Random note: I'm an urban dressing fellow on the opposite end of the pigmentation axis so the 6 % AA in LMU and the 1.9% in Chapman has me thinking I'll have to act like I'm in the sunken place. (Lol, I kid.)

    Overall

    It's tough but tuition and location are big factors. Chapman's facilities available to students 24/7 is hard to walk away from. If Chapman was the same price as LMU or at least comparable, it would definitely have the edge. Even the deposit is absurd.

    "Yes, congratulations on your acceptance into our prestigious university... that'll be $1,000 please. AND DON'T PLAY 'BOUT MY MONEY BWOI."

    Personally, I'm going to have to take out crazy loans for grad school no matter what but with Chapman I honestly don't know how I'd be able to afford the annual costs (I'm poorAF).

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Anyway guys, I hope this helps a bit. If you have anything you wanna add, feel free. Congrats on everyone who got accepted into LMU and Chapman. We worked our asses off on those apps but this is just the start.

    We all love movies so let's make movies no matter what, okay? *thug daps*
     
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  2. snoopdog

    snoopdog Member

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    I'm in the exact same boat so this helps a lot.
    I paid the $1000 deposit to Chapman as at the time that was the only school I was accepted into and didn't want to loose my spot.
    Actually, I made the deposit on deadline day. About an hour later, no joke, I received the admission from LMU.

    I did research on both schools as well and got similar results.
    For me, it really comes to "affordability" aka "least amount of debt". So, LMU sticks out here.
    There is really no way I can afford Chapman for this coming year. Even with the maximum amount of loans I am able to take out (in my country there is a limit).

    LMU also offers a departmental scholarship for Film/Television students. I do not know how likely it is to receive the scholarship or how much it covers. However, Chapman only has the $10,000 fellowship to a select few students which is based on the application submitted.

    It is crazy that the possibility of these opportunities come down to money.
    Whatever any of us end up doing, I think it is already a huge achievement we have been accepted into top ranked programs.

    In this industry, there is no set path. Film school or not, if you do not know any other way than making movies, expressing yourself through writing or visual storytelling, there is no doubt that you are meant to be doing just that. And that, you can do from anywhere. Despite the fact that film school obviously brings a lo of benefits to the table: the time to really dedicate every second in your day to develop your craft, learn from industry professionals, be surrounded with like minded people, networking, and a safe place to learn from your failures.

    I'm interested to hear what you will end up doing! Hope it works out for you!
     
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  3. Chris W

    Chris W Get Busy Living Staff Member

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  4. FirstTimer

    FirstTimer New Member

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    I would definitely add the Duffer brothers (Stranger Things) under notable Chapman alumni.
     
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  5. Jason

    Jason Member

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    For production at least, Chapman is 3 years. Also, the grad site says Loyola is $30,000 per year. With the higher costs of living on the West side LA (if you choose to live nicely), the cost between Chapman and Loyola is about even.

    Graduate Cost of Attendance - Loyola Marymount University
     
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  6. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    Yeah I did it strictly off just tuition because I know everyone’s housing situation will be different. The program I would have chose for Chapman is 2 years but their tuition is more of a flat rate since it’s private. At least LMU traditionally goes by credit. I checked Orange as well for housing and it’s just as expensive so there’s really no running from it.
     
  7. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    Truuuuee. I’m gonna do some more research on them. I know Justin Simien based Dear White People off his experience in Chapman so I’ll try to see if I can find anything else on them.
     
  8. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    Yeah, I’m the most frugal person ever. I highly, HIGHLY doubt I’m giving Chapman $1,000 to commit to spending another $83,000. Their facilities are nice but... no.

    & honestly I don’t think I can come up with that. After 20k in loans idk where the other 22k would come from. Besides the one fellowship (which isn’t guaranteed) nobody realistically gets that much in scholarships. I read a story about a kid who applied for a hundred scholarships and got 18k. Imagine doing all that just to come up short. So yeah, Chapman looks nice but they’re just about off the list for me.
     
  9. Jason

    Jason Member

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    For a living cost comparison, a 1br in Santa Monica, Venice or MDR will cost about $2150 - $3000 per month, depending on quality. In Culver/Westchester/Palms about 1750-2400. In Orange, about $1550 - $1800. I was able to find a 1br in Orange for $1,500 per month that was nicer than my Santa Monica 1br which costs $2350.
     
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  10. Jason

    Jason Member

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    Exchanged emails with a current student at LMU. He answered some questions which I'll post below:

    1) How many MFA students are accepted and enrolled in the program? Do all MFA Production students take the same classes? Is there a minimum or maximum amount of credits one can take per semester? Are classes held during the day or at night (or both)? Are the facilities open 24/7?

    When I first enrolled, 30 of us were admitted into the MFA Production track. During your first year, everyone takes the same classes (first semester - editing, production, cinematography, screenwriting/second semester - sound, screenwriting for your next film, production for your current film, production planning) and then after that it starts to spread out with classes devoted to sound, film studies and electives. The first year is a set number of classes (4) but after that you're able to take as many as you want, although I'd still recommend 4 classes due to the amount of work that you have to do outside of those classes. Classes are held during the day and night, and yes the facilities are open 24/7.

    2) Speaking of facilities, rumor has it that the grad school is getting their own building, off campus. Is this true? Honestly, I felt the current facilities to be small, crowded and outdated. I would consider new facilities to be a major plus for the program.

    That is the rumor, correct. I don't know much about this new building as I'm about to graduate but in terms of our current facilities, yes they can appear to be old but there's so much equipment, departments and accessibility between the other buildings that it more than does the job. Unfortunately I don't have information regarding the new building, but I'm sure Eugene can fill you in on that.

    3)Have you heard any stories about students receiving grants and scholarships post acceptance?

    Yes, there is an LMU scholarship that you can apply to yearly that takes your GPA into consideration, I was given $5,000 for this previous year due to that scholarship. There are also other scholarships that are offered and are communicated through a weekly newsletter that students receive weekly.

    4) Are all students entitled to film a senior year thesis or are only a select few? Are films completely funded by the students? Do the students own their films? How do thesis projects work?

    Every student is required to film a thesis their third and final year of the program. Yes, the films are completely funded by the students but the added benefit of that is that you keep the rights to your film, so yes you own your film. The way the thesis process works is like this: you will be working on your thesis during the final 3 semesters of your time at LMU. The first of three semesters, you will be writing your thesis, which will be 15 minutes max. The second semester, you will shoot your thesis, and the third semester you will be working post production on it. You will be supervised by a thesis committee that will review your script, your shooting plan, and your film while it's going through the editing phase. This committee consists of three faculty members, one of them being your thesis professor, and the other two being faculty that you have selected.

    5) What about specialization? How advanced do courses get? Are students able to specialize after year 1?

    Yes, there are courses in advanced cinematography, editing, directing and I believe sound.

    6) What is the make up of the class like? Is everyone serious about becoming filmmakers? Are people generally more interested in the technical side or the story side (or both)?

    Everyone comes in wanting to be directors but people start to find their path once they get here. There is a variety of students that prefer cinematography, editing, sound, casting, and directing, but their main focus is to deliver the best story possible.

    7) I run my own business and plan to do so during my time in grad school. Generally 5/6AM - 9/10AM and then 3-5 hours throughout the day or night. How much time do you devote to "scheduled" activities. Of course preproduction on projects takes up a lot of time but I'm more curious about obligations which have a set schedule.

    There's a number of obligations that you will have during school here, and the main one is working on set. Most of our productions shoot Fri-Sun for 12 hours each day, and although you are only required to be on your set and some of your classmates, I'd highly recommend getting on as many sets as you can as it will give you the necessary connections to build the best crew you can for your thesis. The other obligation is that you are required to take an internship during your time there, but the good thing is that you can take your internship over the summer. Additionally, there are networking opportunities and screenings that the school provides that you should take advantage of, so overall it can be a packed schedule but it's not impossible to manage.

    8) What are your goals? Do you think the program has helped you move closer to your goals? What are some things you wish were different? Things you think LMU is very valuable for?
    My goal is to become a writer and director, and the program has helped me get closer to that goal by introducing me to others that have helped me achieve that goal. The best thing about LMU and film school in general is the networking you'll get with other students, because those are the bonds that will help you in the future. Of course, LMU isn't perfect and this is with any other school, communication can be better between faculty and students but I will say that faculty does listen to your comments and do take into consideration changes that can be for the better of the program. The best things about LMU are the location, the ability to direct your own film while still exploring other areas of filmmaking, and the people that you meet.
     
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  11. snoopdog

    snoopdog Member

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    Thanks so much for sharing this. Very useful information.
    I talked to Eugene on the phone yesterday and also asked about the new facilities.
    So, there is a new building opening up in Silicon Beach. There will be a shuttle going from the campus.
    It will open up this coming Fall! The idea behind it is to mainly use it for 2nd and 3rd year students, however, they will start out with some first year students as well. The building will be mainly used by screenwriting students, or productions students who take screenwriting classes (like we would our first semester), and it will be mainly occupied with high end post-production facilities. So, if you decide to emphasise more in editing/post-production, that will be the place for you as well.

    They are also expanding the facilities on campus, however, this will take another 18 months for it to be finished. So if you were to start as a production student this Fall, you might be able to enjoy these new facilities in your last year.. if you're lucky.
     
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  12. IndecisiveElle

    IndecisiveElle Active Member Contributor

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    Chapman is also a Christian private university.
     
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  13. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    I did a little research on the new building and there are multiple news sites that says it'll be open in Fall 2018. I think that's a game changer in the LMU vs Chapman discussion.
     
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  14. snoopdog

    snoopdog Member

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  15. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    So yeah, Chapman just gave me an award package. 75k per year, which scares the hell out of me knowing i'll owe that much. :(
     
  16. Chris W

    Chris W Get Busy Living Staff Member

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    Your award is that you'll owe $75k a year? Did they provide any cost assistance?
     
  17. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    No, man. I was hoping for at least a small fellowship to offset the housing costs but c’est la vie.
     
  18. Chris W

    Chris W Get Busy Living Staff Member

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    Have you applied to scholarships?
     
  19. xLorenzoM

    xLorenzoM Member

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    A few. No word.
     
  20. Mike_V

    Mike_V Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know what Loyola is offering lately, but hopefully they're still not strictly FCP still. If so, I would avoid it like the plague, but that's for someone like me who works in post production. I wouldn't want to pay 60k to use an software suite only used by ultra low budget "passion" indie projects.
    I also highly recommend you check out the screenwriting professors and base your choice on that. That's where you will really be learning from anyways, not just the facility. Since you said you want to specialize in screenwriting, you won't be depending on the facilities as much as a DP, Editor, or Director. Find who teaches the subjects you really want to focus on and see who you want to study under the most.
     
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