Which is the better kind of MFA Production program in your opinion? "Auteur-centric" or "team-based"?

sevs

Member
Of the MFA Production programs I'm more familiar with, I've noticed a lot of them can be filed into one of the two above-described categories. "Auteur-centric" programs that seem to focus more on helping you develop your individual voice as a storyteller include UCLA, UT Austin, Columbia, and AFI (kind of). The "team-based" programs that seem more focused on teaching you all the roles of production and letting you find your niche among a larger group of peers over time include USC, Chapman, LMU and AFI (kind of). I count AFI in both areas because in a way the curriculum is designed to help you focus on developing your craft in a select area, but then in another way you are working with peers in teams across multiple different areas of production, so it's not strictly speaking a "director's program" the same way Columbia's is, for example. I don't know enough about NYU to comment on which way they lean, but I know they pump out a lot of great, unique storytellers.

With that context established, my question is: Which do you think is the better model for a film school, if one could be said to possess more pros and fewer cons than the other?

And: Which type of program are you yourself pursuing and why?
 
So weird perspective, I'm a current screenwriting MFA at Chapman, and as a writer, I prefer the team-based approach to directing. Ultimately, and especially early in your career, you're going to have to work with people and the better you can do that, the further you'll go. There are directors in my program who came from auteur backgrounds prior to Chapman and working with them first semester was rough. They didn't know how to collaborate, how to give or take notes. Their instinct was to take a script and turn it into their vision without regards to the story or intention (think trying to make a Blockbuster action movie out of an indie drama script).

Plus having the versatility of working different positions (1AD and such) always seemed to have the most long-term benefit from my prespective (I was an educator prior to being a screenwriter lol)
 

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