Hey guys, I'm from India. I need some genuine guidance in the matter of college application.
To give you my background, I'm 22, graduate with degree in film engineering and electrical science with a minor in drama and public speaking. I've recently made up my mind to become a filmmaker. In retrospect to that, I don't have any prior experience. I'm an absolute beginner with no creative portfolio. I just know how to operate my phone's camera, that's it. I do have some rough drafts for scripts and narrative ideas that I want to make. My aim is to work big time in hollywood. I just don't know where to start. Also, . I'm from an extremely impoverish background with family income less than 30K Usd per year. Now that everything is out, let me ask a couple of questions -


1. Being an absolute beginner, should I consider applying to Mfa programs or do I need to go for Bfa program and do bachelor's again. In retrospect to this, I've had a conversation with the admission counceller at Emersion college and she.said people with all experiences are accepted in the program as long as you are willing to put up hard work. But I want to learn from an insider's perspective from someone who is undergoing this degree or has completed this degree.


2. Please suggest me some low tution but good film programs cause like I said even if I get some student loans , getting 100k in debt right after graduating film school for me is nearly impossible. Add to that the struggles of an immigrant to apply for visas and appeal for its extension, it will literally become a chaos. I just recently checked nyu tisch fees is around 83k per year. Now they say most of the students are granted financial aid of some form and net price calc suggested I could get about 10-15 k less but for 3 years that makes it more than 150k..So please suggest me low tution but great film programs where acceptance rate for. International students is also high.



3. I've also heard some buzz about private for profit.schools like full sail, ny film academy, la film school etc that have different accelerated programs for film production and directing which everyone could enroll into. I've heard a lot when it comes to full sail uni. It is a huge bone of contention on the internet, with some people saying the programs and equipments are top notch and their network is awesome while other peope are criticising some of the faculties and saying accelerated programs leaves no space for any relationships.

How good is the network of these private for profit school as compared to private uni like nyu tisch, ucla, usc etc. Are these accelerated programs even worth considering and how good is their network as compared to networks of usc,nyu etc. Cause this leads to another fact. I know the list of succesful alumini from private universities like scorcesse, spike lee, chloe.zhao, ryan coogler, m night shyamalan, george lucas etc is huge but on the contrary we have people like damien chazelle - the youngest filmmaker to win academy award at 32 and man behind brilliant films like whipash and la la land. I checked his background and he graduated.from film program at harvard. Now my.research on the internet says harvard is not even in the top film 50 schools in us. Is networking affected by which university you graduate from for example - folks from full sail, ny film academy etc do they have the same level of network as graduates from ucla,usc,nyu have. Cause the facilites in both these type of institutions are top notch with both uni giving grants to.studemts upto 10k usd for shooting their first film. But one is accelerated program and the other is regular program. One is highly reputed and the other is not. One is obscelenlyexpensive than the other one ( nyu , usc etc being the expensive ones )


4. What if you get an admission in a uni which is not even in top 50 or 100 film schools, is it worth considering those options or not.



5. Please note my interests are more aligned towards directing so I think it is also meaningful to apply for Mfa directing programs or should I opt for film programs in general.

6. I've also heard there are institutes like Uc Irvine where they got tution free program for its students on the condition, students have to serve as TA. From a person who is a beginner and from a different bachelor's education, is it possible to get into those schools and apply for those financial aid programs.




Anyone who answers those questions, your help in any way is deeply appreciated
 

georgei

New Member
You will find it very difficult to get decent financial aid in the United States as an international student.
Since you don't have a portfolio... maybe consider something like the APP program at FAMU film school in Prague. It's a one year program that will allow you to build a portfolio for far less than a year at an American film school, and with that experience, you can apply to an MFA program. Good news is, you are young, and have plenty of time to do something like this.

 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Since directing is your focus, maybe take a look at UCLA's Professional Program in Directing. It's all online so anyone can take it, but you do need to apply to the program. I have a few friends who did the Screenwriting Program and absolutely loved it. I'm sure someone on this site may have more information regarding the Directing program. See link below.


In the mean time, try to make short films with your phone/camera and find tutorials online.
 

ValArya

Member
Hi Karan!

In case you're open to exploring options within the country, do consider FTII. I was enrolled in the year-long direction course in TV Wing. And I found it decent, to begin with.

However, what I learned was

1. Intensive/professional programs do drain you entirely. And if you're a direction major, which means you'll be the first person to start working on a project and will be the last to get out of it, one-year courses with 3+ projects can be insane. The quality to a certain extent goes down too because you barely get any breathing space to actually process what you did on the last project and what you learned.
That said, if you've worked in the field/assisted and now are looking to hone your craft better, professional programs can be great.

2. Your film school's rank isn't the only thing that matters. What you might wanna look at is their networking opportunities, quality of their facilities, alumni feedback, and in your case, as an international student, value for money, work visa situation, union rules, living costs, etc. I'd suggest actually talking to alumni that you can find, and not go by the testimonials mentioned. Also, see what is it that you want out of a film degree/course and which school best offers that.

3. See if you want to consider European film schools. Sure they aren't west coast film schools, but a lot of them are amazing, if not better. Do explore FAMU, NFTS, Film Akademie Wurttemburg, La Femis, UAL, or even Erasmus Mundus courses. I believe KinoEyes Master is for fiction and there is a sister program for Documentary too. Canada might look like an interesting option too.

4. Definitely go for MFA, because very practically speaking, if you go for a BFA, they will ask you about why you would want to do bachelor's all over again. Plus, Bachelor's is 4 years of expense in the US, Master's is 2. A year lesser for both in Europe.

5. Do you have a portfolio to show, because direction courses will mostly ask for portfolios. Scripts and pitches might work for screenwriting, but showreel is often required for direction courses. If not, I'd suggest working on that. Find people around you that can work on your scripts, you might not go with a fully professional team but just friends who could help you make at least a 5-minute long film.

All the best!
 
Hi,

I'm applying for University applications. My Showreel is of 16:9, I have used some shots in my showreel which were shot in 4:3 only camera type but while edit export I cropped top n bottom and made it 16:9 and this is the only format I have of them now.

My worry is,
(A) What could possibly the best professional and correct answer I can have for having a 4:3 shot footage as 16:9 without pillar boxes? (I have to made up a correct reverse methodology to tell them of my working process…as cropping is usually prohibited)
(B) Is 4:3 stretch is really acceptable in professional industry and an accepted practice?
(C) Also, Visuals starts off in my showreel after 10 secs, as I have included Timestamp slide before starting of visuals, would that be a problem. In of the article for showreel tip it was mentioned that showreels where visuals do not appear before 10 secs get rejected. But the prog. I applied ,does not have any such requirement but just the max total length of showreel. Kindly give some insight regarding it too.

Kindly help with this I am really nervous about the aspect ratio mistake I have done and looking for appropriate cover up that how come I have a footage shot in 4:3 but have final output as 16:9 without pillar boxing and cropping and distortion of framing.

Regards
Hi Karan!

In case you're open to exploring options within the country, do consider FTII. I was enrolled in the year-long direction course in TV Wing. And I found it decent, to begin with.

However, what I learned was

1. Intensive/professional programs do drain you entirely. And if you're a direction major, which means you'll be the first person to start working on a project and will be the last to get out of it, one-year courses with 3+ projects can be insane. The quality to a certain extent goes down too because you barely get any breathing space to actually process what you did on the last project and what you learned.
That said, if you've worked in the field/assisted and now are looking to hone your craft better, professional programs can be great.

2. Your film school's rank isn't the only thing that matters. What you might wanna look at is their networking opportunities, quality of their facilities, alumni feedback, and in your case, as an international student, value for money, work visa situation, union rules, living costs, etc. I'd suggest actually talking to alumni that you can find, and not go by the testimonials mentioned. Also, see what is it that you want out of a film degree/course and which school best offers that.

3. See if you want to consider European film schools. Sure they aren't west coast film schools, but a lot of them are amazing, if not better. Do explore FAMU, NFTS, Film Akademie Wurttemburg, La Femis, UAL, or even Erasmus Mundus courses. I believe KinoEyes Master is for fiction and there is a sister program for Documentary too. Canada might look like an interesting option too.

4. Definitely go for MFA, because very practically speaking, if you go for a BFA, they will ask you about why you would want to do bachelor's all over again. Plus, Bachelor's is 4 years of expense in the US, Master's is 2. A year lesser for both in Europe.

5. Do you have a portfolio to show, because direction courses will mostly ask for portfolios. Scripts and pitches might work for screenwriting, but showreel is often required for direction courses. If not, I'd suggest working on that. Find people around you that can work on your scripts, you might not go with a fully professional team but just friends who could help you make at least a 5-minute long film.

All the best!
Hi,

I'm applying for University applications. My Showreel is of 16:9, I have used some shots in my showreel which were shot in 4:3 only camera type but while edit export I cropped top n bottom and made it 16:9 and this is the only format I have of them now.

My worry is,
(A) What could possibly the best professional and correct answer I can have for having a 4:3 shot footage as 16:9 without pillar boxes? (I have to made up a correct reverse methodology to tell them of my working process…as cropping is usually prohibited)
(B) Is 4:3 stretch is really acceptable in professional industry and an accepted practice?
(C) Also, Visuals starts off in my showreel after 10 secs, as I have included Timestamp slide before starting of visuals, would that be a problem. In of the article for showreel tip it was mentioned that showreels where visuals do not appear before 10 secs get rejected. But the prog. I applied ,does not have any such requirement but just the max total length of showreel. Kindly give some insight regarding it too.

Kindly help with this I am really nervous about the aspect ratio mistake I have done and looking for appropriate cover up that how come I have a footage shot in 4:3 but have final output as 16:9 without pillar boxing and cropping and distortion of framing.

Regards
 

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