Should I Go To Chapman Film School?

Hello, I have applied to Chapman University for a MFA in Film Production with an emphasis in editing, and I am having a hard time figuring out whether or not going to Chapman University, or even going to film school in general is worth it. I would like some advice from people here, and I have a few questions as well.


1. How will attending Chapman give me an advantage when it comes to finding jobs in the video or film industry? Because at the end of the day, I could attend Chapman but if it doesn't result in a job, then what's the point?

2. After I graduate from Chapman, what kind of jobs could I potentially get? Are most jobs in the industry freelance or the standard 9-5? And do most people from Chapman even get jobs in the film industry or are the majority realizing they made a mistake and are going to school for something different instead?

3. I also realize the importance of networking in the film industry. How does Chapman prepare students for networking and does Chapman University have a good networking program?

4. How about internship opportunities? Does Chapman help students get internships, or are students mostly just trying to get internships on their own?

5. Why spend 100k+ attending a school in LA when I can go learn film in a college in Alabama? How does Chapman stand out from the hundreds of other film schools across the USA?
 
We interviewed Chapman and they might have some of the answers.

How to get into Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts: Tips from the Department of Admissions (Part 1)

How to get into Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts: Tips from the Department of Admissions (Part 1)

Rising to number 4 on The Hollywood Reporter's annual rankings of the top 25 American film schools in 2022, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University offers top-notch filmmaking courses in an intimate learning environment. Notable alumni include the Duffer brothers...

But of course you're wanting to hear from regular people too. @Mike_V went to Chapman for editing and can hopefully give you some insight.
 
How was your time at Chapman in the editing program?

Do you recommend it?

How do editors get jobs out of college?
i enjoyed it. I did a lot of editing there and also got to watch my peers' work. I learned from what they did right and wrong.
no you don't generally get jobs right out of college. remember this is a freelance career. you need to build a reputation and work your way up from being an assistant editor. chances are, you won't be editing right off the bat unless you do low/no budget stuff on tiktok or youtube.. but that's a different world that won't bring you into the reality and/or scripted world.
 
i enjoyed it. I did a lot of editing there and also got to watch my peers' work. I learned from what they did right and wrong.
no you don't generally get jobs right out of college. remember this is a freelance career. you need to build a reputation and work your way up from being an assistant editor. chances are, you won't be editing right off the bat unless you do low/no budget stuff on tiktok or youtube.. but that's a different world that won't bring you into the reality and/or scripted world.
Nice good to know.

Do you feel like Chapman is a good place for networking? Did you make connections that helped you get freelancing gigs?

How easy is it to get freelance gigs in California? Assistant editor gigs?
 
How easy is it to get freelance gigs in California? Assistant editor gigs?
When I moved to LA in 2001 I mailed my resume to every post house in the area. At least a hundred. I ended up calling one place that I sent it to in Venice to follow up and they asked me to come in immediately. I found out later that they literally just fired one of their assistant editors for leaving the masters in the top of their car and driving away. 🤯

It was quick jobs billed by the day. It was a music video and commercial house so AE job was quick. After my first day of work they wanted me to invoice them. I was like huh? Lol figured that out quick too.

I then worked my butt off and was as conscientious as possible and worked hard. I had also worked at Avid so I knew the software like the back of my hand. I was often called back because of my thorough work. I was digitizing, syncing, and grouping footage for the editors and I organized the footage exactly how they liked it. We were mainly a music video and commercial house and everything was shot on 35mm and I digitized the dailies off of 3/4 UMATIC. Eventually I started doing changes for some of the editors and got really low budget music videos to edit. Eventually I got "real" music videos and drifted into low budget features and some television. I started editing full time around 2003... 2 years after I started assisting.

Granted now it's completely different as everything is digital (I would have no idea on how to be an AE now) and there isn't much interaction with editors anymore. This is made worse by the fact that almost everything is remote. I haven't stepped into the office since 2020.

This is a long way of saying that yes there's a ton of work here if you hustle. I've rarely had time off unless I force it and say I'm not available for the past 23 years but I understand that I may be an exception to the rule on that. I've been pretty much booked solid on a really big cable network show as one of their lead editors for the past 9 years so I don't really know what it's like out there for everyone else. But there's a lot of work here. Production houses are always looking for good, knowledgeable, and consciousness assistant editors. :)
 
Last edited:
Nice good to know.

Do you feel like Chapman is a good place for networking? Did you make connections that helped you get freelancing gigs?

How easy is it to get freelance gigs in California? Assistant editor gigs?
networking, yes. connections that got me freelancing gigs.. sort of, kind of. I haven't actually worked with chapman students in my own year, but I have worked with other chapman people from different years.

freelance gig wise, I first would recommend you get your ears onto the pulse of industry happenings.
generally there was a lot of gig, but last year was extremely rough for a lot of people especially those in the scripted world. this year, we go into negotiations for the basic agreement which expires in June or July (I can't remember which) but I feel like the studios are pre-starving us to force a bad deal to desperate people.
like any freelance gig, you start out pretty slow but you build that relationship and if you prove yourself to be someone they want to hire back, you'll generally get jobs back to back with no problems at all. I highly recommend you REALLY know avid. and possibly premiere.
 
Log your film school application with our Application Database so that we can improve our admissions statistics.




Latest Accepted Applications


Acceptance Data
For up to date Film School Acceptance Rates, including Minimum GPAs, Minimum Test Scores, After Interview and Off-Waitlist Acceptance Rates, Film Experience and Undergraduate degrees of accepted applicants, Age data, and other acceptance statistics for your film program of choice simply navigate to the Acceptance Rates tab on each film school's page in our Film School Database.

For example:
Log your own Application with our application database to help improve the site's acceptance data.

Latest Film School Reviews

  • University of Central Florida - School of Visual Arts & Design
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Current Student
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    Concentration: Film - Feature/TV Writing
    UCF Film BFA (College of Sciences - School of Communication)
    UCF's BFA program is split into 4 modalities: narrative production, documentary production, experimental production, and feature/tv writing. I...
    • Anonymous
  • Syracuse University
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Current Student
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    Concentration: Film
    Syracuse Film and Media Arts - BFA Film
    I'm in my last year at Syracuse University as a member of the department of Film and Media Arts, and it's been a lot of ups and downs. There's a...
    • Anonymous
  • Fitchburg State University
    5.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    Concentration: Film/Video and Theater
    A Great School with Great Professors!
    I was a student there from 2018-2022 and had a great experience. I would recommend it to anyone, especially people living within Massachusetts...
    • Anonymous
  • Florida State University - MFA in Writing
    5.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Current Student
    Degree: MA/MFA
    Concentration: Screenwriting
    Hidden Gem
    Before I get into the details, it's worth mentioning that I'm in my second year at this program and have really enjoyed my time here. I will be...
    • catmom
  • AFI Conservatory
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: MA/MFA
    Concentration: Screenwriting
    Be careful What You're Getting Yourself Into
    What's AFI best for? Students who had at least couple years of industry experience. I don't mean running around and shooting shorts with your...
    • Dean

Latest Applications

Latest questions

Latest Articles

Latest Accepted Applications

Applications
Articles
Forums
Film Schools
Scholarships
Back
Top