General Question

trumi's avatar

Where should I go to college for Film?

Asked by trumi (6486points) April 5th, 2010

Hey all. Been grappling with this for… years. Now the time has come to make a decision.

I will now list my choices and costs (after scholarships):
NYU Tisch Film School – 50000 per year
UC Berkeley – 50000 per year
Emerson College – 30000 per year
Boston University – 40000 per year
Ohio University HTC – 10000 per year

I got into all my schools, even the dream ones that I didn’t think I had a shot at. So that’s exciting. Whats not exciting is that my parents are able to cover 20000 per year, and anything on top of that I would have to take out loans for. Which means that if I went to NYU (my all time dream school and the most amazing college ever) I would have to take out 120000 and pay that back while making shit out in Hollywood. Whereas if I went to OU, my family would be able to send me on trips, do semesters abroad, not have any debt when I move to NYC or LA…

Here is my plan, as it has been since I was 12:
– Go to a four year college, preferably in a big city
– Major in film production (and, to a lesser degree, film studies)
– Move to NYC or LA and take internships and such till “I make it”

So, start talking. What should I do? Is it worth the debt to go to the Amazing NYU, or is it worth living in a small town in 90 minutes from my house because it’ll be cheap? Generally the rankings show OU as being a better program than the other schools (besides NYU), but it’s still fucking Ohio…

Also the OU program is an Honors program that takes 2 kids per year, and you basically get an MFA in film although it shows up as a BA. OU already has a quality film program (they like to boast “best in the midwest”), and on top of that I’ll be in the super special honors film…

I plan to write NYU a letter about why I should be there, what it means to me, and otherwise ask for more money, but who knows if they’ll give me anymore than they have. Even if they do, will it be enough?

Thoughts. Please. I mean, I’ve been talking to family and friends about this for months, but I’m hoping that some unbiased anonymous rational internet opinions will shed some light.

What do you guys think?

Feel free to ask more questions or get clarification, I’ll update.


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31 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Which ever one offers the best business and marketing degree to go along with the film you plan on making.

sweetteaindahouse's avatar

I have a friend that goes to NYU and he has liked it so far. New York is a great city to live in and make movies. That is where I would go if I were you.

Mariah's avatar

I’m in a similar-ish situation right now. Trying to pick whether my dream school is worth massive debt. :\

I think you’ve got a good plan, though. Try to squeeze as much money out of NYU as you possibly can. If you can’t get more, though… my personal opinion is to go for the cheaper school. I mean, if they have a great program, then you’re really choosing whether the name is worth an extra $40,000 per year. My personal opinion is that it isn’t. I know it’s easier for somebody else to say that, though. It’d sure be hard not to go to your dream school after you get accepted.

SeventhSense's avatar

NYU- So much opportunity for many cultural experiences that will only add to your craft also. Although that Cali weather…no I think you’ll want to focus on the art. When it’s cold you’ll be working anyway. NYU.

Judi's avatar

Can you find a way to use your degree in public service for a while? Otherwise, with the new student loan laws, you will not have to pay back more than 10% of your income, and if it’s not paid back within 20 years it goes away. That is a great incentive to follow your dream and not “settle” because of money.

Cruiser's avatar

I studied Radio TV and Film at a state University here in Illinois and was told sorry we only hire grads from Southern Illinois or Columbia College.

Check around with employers and companies you have an interest in and ask them.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

OK you asked what I think, so I’ll tell ya.

Forget film school. Get a business and marketing degree. You can learn all you need to know about film making from the internet. Affiliate yourself with your local 48hr film festival and get on a team. Spend your money on attending Sundance and networking yourself. Contact local film makers and request an apprenticeship. Bug the hell out of them and they won’t say no. Start making your own short films and posting to youtube. Write a script and film your own vision and just do it and learn from your own mistakes. Contact local producers and offer your services to intern. You can do everything you need to learn about film making on your own.

But the business and marketing knowledge will be invaluable to you once you’ve made your film. The business and marketing are the hard parts, and the biggest reason that most film students fail in the real world.

You asked. I’m not here to debate the issue. Just offering what I know and experienced for the past 35 years. Good luck!

Ltryptophan's avatar

my bright and experienced would be director cousin is attending unlv…

SeventhSense's avatar

You just completely depressed me with that student loan blurb. I don’t think I’ll ever pay off my student loan and I’m not even working in the field of my degree. :(

Judi's avatar

@SeventhSense; depressed because you didn’t get in on it? Some people have gone bankrupt trying to pay it back because they want such a high percentage of your income, or are still paying it in their 40’s.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I went to Wisconsin and got a BA in Communications Arts (TV, Film), and I had a job in New York City on a feature film within a year of my graduation. It’s not the school. It’s doing the work of making a film, making and maintaining those connections.

SeventhSense's avatar

Ya didn’t get in on it. I’m in my 40’s and just saddled with debt and I own nothing.

Cruiser's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies and @aprilsimnel have both hit crucial points you really should take to heart. It really is not what you know it’s who you know. If you do go to school work on as many projects as time allows and Intern if you can. Network… network and network some more!

tinyfaery's avatar

USC or UCLA, hands down. You need to be in L.A. to get the full advantage of film school.

filmfann's avatar


Where you go to learn doesn’t matter. Ability matters.
Your parents can handle 20k a year. Ohio costs 10. Have your parents “invest” the other 10 a year into your making a film when you’ve graduated.
Get it seen, and if it is good, you will work.

sndfreQ's avatar

Find a good community college with a media arts program that integrates theatre, film and television production. Transfer credits and the ability to try on various paths before committing to the cost of finishing a 4-year degree will save you money and allow you to get your GEs done in the first two years, then transfer to NY or LA.

SamIAm's avatar

just FYI (even though it’s not a direct choice) ... there is a pretty good film school on long island at CW Post campus of Long Island University. It would be less expensive to live there than in the city, while you’re only 45 minutes outside (it’s an easy train ride). Since it’s a private school, it can be expensive but not as much as NYU. good luck!

shadling21's avatar

Here’s the thing: do what will make you happy. So, NYU is your dream school. Will you regret not going there when you get older? Then again, you can find happiness at other schools. Maybe the freedom to travel is really important too. All this factors in.

Whatever you do, remember… this is the only life you’ll live. Do what you love!

trumi's avatar

Thanks for the answers so far! Mostly mirror what I’ve heard from other people.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies It’s BIG in my family to get a BA. As in, I could skip the four year program and go right into making films, but it wouldn’t be looked on so kindly. Plus, I really do want the four year college experience, and I want to learn more about film making before diving in. I know most of the beneficial experience I’ll gain will be in the field, but I still want to learn the ropes. And honestly, I have no interest in marketing/business. I’d rather be a broke independent film maker than a rich successful one. And that might change, I might get sick of that and want to take a more businesslike approach, but that’s just not where I am right now.

@SeventhSense and @shadling21 I know, I know… NYU!!! But @filmfann and @Mariah are making very rational points, and I there are a lot of financial reasons to go to OU.

While I really really really want to be in a big city (NYC, Boston, San Fran), it would seriously damper my later conquests in LA financially. If I attend OU, I can spend summers, semesters, internships, and so on in NYC and LA, and have the money to do so. But then, why go to OU just to spend my summers in NYC when I could just be in NYC year round…

To the other college suggestions, thank you for the options, and those will be great for other people that read this later when they’re looking for film schools. I looked at CUNY Hunter, SUNY, SAIC, CCA, Pratt, The New School, UCLA, USC, Chapman, University of Austin, and a few others. I also got into UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside, but those were only on my list so I could transfer to Cal (which I got into :P). But I’m done applying, I got into my schools, I got scholarships (just not enough)... I’m gonna play with the cards I’ve been dealt and not worry about other options… for now.

Plus, I will end up in LA. After college, and maybe after some time in NYC, I do need to wind up in LA. Thing is, I don’t like LA… Too many barbies and smog and money. I want to put off going out there for as long as possible, even if that will hinder my connection making. Thankfully, I have a couple family connections to some studios and nonprofit production companies, so I will be able to take advantage of those no matter where I go for school.

tinyfaery's avatar

Your view of L.A. is very stereotypical.

trumi's avatar

@tinyfaery I hope so! I hope I’m wrong and I’ll totally love it when I get out there eventually. Just not where I am right now.

SeventhSense's avatar

The New School always fascinated me. So many interesting approaches to education.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@trumi “I’d rather be a broke independent film maker than a rich successful one.”

It doesn’t have to be so black & white friend… no pun intended ;)

Who am I to deny you the experience of film school? Have fun with it and best of luck!

CodePinko's avatar

Anywhere but where Michael Bay went.

trumi's avatar

Uggh… Money…

Does anybody know anything about Emerson’s Film program or the school in general?

trumi's avatar

Okay, decision is made. I’ll be going to Ohio University for their HTC Film program.

shadling21's avatar

Woo! Cool! Have fun! =)

thriftymaid's avatar

Good luck to you @trumi

trumi's avatar

Y’all probably aren’t still following this, but four years at Ohio University was a dreadful mistake. All in favor of the other options, I wish I had been smarter at 18 and listened to you :)

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