What are some of the best film schools?

September 29, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What are some of the best film schools?

Film schools have been preparing themselves for the future by constructing virtual reality labs and green screen studios as well as stockpiling 3D stereoscopic cameras over the past couple of years.

However, with all of this new technology available, an already challenging choice — which film school to attend — becomes even more challenging. Is it better to shoot on a 360-degree 3D camera when trying to become an expert in the cinematic arts? Or is there more to be discovered from an old 35mm film?

Here is the list of the Best Film Schools that can be of assistance.

  1. USC School of Cinematic Arts
  2. New York University
  3. American Film Institute
  4. UCLA
  5. Columbia University
  6. Chapman University
  7. California Institute of the Arts
  8. Loyola Marymount University
  9. Wesleyan University
  10. Emerson

Everything you need to know about entering the best film schools

There are many people who share your confusion about the admissions process for the best film schools. There are a lot of talented people who want to get into filmmaking, but they don’t know where to begin. When you are thinking about applying to film schools, there are a few essential considerations that you need to keep in mind.

Effectively express who you are to others.

Although having brilliant ideas and an artistic vision is essential, you will also need to be able to articulate these things in a way that is understandable and compelling to the audience. That starts with becoming skilled in the art of telling stories (from the technical aspects of grammar and language to film language).

Two film students playing in the film set.

You do not need to already be an expert screenwriter in order to go to film school; in fact, that is one of the reasons you will go. The representatives in charge of admission want to see that you are able to write, but they will also look at the other ways that you express yourself visually.

You can even take a writing class before applying to hone these skills if you want some help with the written component of your overall application; this is something that you can do if you want some support with the overall application.

Demonstrate that you have a balanced perspective

The best candidates for film school have more than just natural talent. Academic performance is a primary factor that is considered when narrowing down the pool of candidates for a number of different prestigious and competitive programs.

If you think you won’t ever have a need for the information you learn in other academic subjects while you’re in school, resist the urge to breeze through those classes; doing so can hurt your overall application.

There are a lot of aspects of yourself that you can highlight to show that you are a well-rounded applicant, and this is true regardless of whether you are applying to film school right out of high school or at some other stage in your life.

You can demonstrate that you have a well-rounded skill set by pointing to previous professional experience, volunteer work, and hobbies outside of the film.

Embrace the real you and your point of view

Film schools are interested in hearing your singular point of view. Share with them your background and what sets you apart from the other candidates they’ve received. Participate in life experiences that can add depth and dimension to the stories you intend to tell in the future.

Female student typing in a table.

Give yourself the opportunity to gain new perspectives, whether that be through extensive travel or by becoming more involved in the community that you currently call home. These can be reflected in your application.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Filming yourself is the one and only foolproof way to demonstrate that you have talent. You are not required to make feature-length films at this point in time; however, producing shorter films of five or ten minutes in length can assist you in developing into a more capable cinematographer, director, or writer.

Putting in the effort to improve yourself in this way will make you a stronger candidate overall, regardless of whether or not the program you opt for requires you to submit samples of your previous work.

Participate in an acting course

Taking an acting class can help you become a more well-rounded applicant, even if the program you’re interested in doesn’t require you to have any prior experience in the field of acting. Having experience on the other side of the camera, however, allows you to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be a performer, including how to work with others, how to respond to criticism, and how to enter the headspace of a character.

Young woman attending a drama course talking to a man.

Overall, this experience can help you write interesting characters that actors will want to play and direct people in a more empathic way. It can also help you, direct people, in a more effective way.

What are the requirements for applying to the best film schools?

The film school that you choose to attend can have a significant impact on the career path that you ultimately choose to pursue as a filmmaker. When looking for colleges to which you can submit applications, some general pieces of advice include the following:

  • Consider your passions.
  • Don’t limit yourself to purchasing only “brand names.”
  • Get a feel for what attending film school is really like before you apply.
  • Consider what kind of program would serve you best, taking into account factors such as the number of participants and the setting of the program. After all, fantastic film programs can be found in cities such as New York, all over the world, and everywhere in between.
  • Investigate the credentials of any potential instructors for the program you’re interested in, and pay attention to the facilities that are available.
  • Investigate the ways in which a program can help you succeed in the world after film school.
  • Check to see if a program offers up-to-date classes, industry-standard equipment, and instructors who have relevant experience.
  • Investigate the non-academic aspects, such as opportunities for travel and extracurricular activities, if you can.
  • Talk to students who are currently enrolled to determine whether or not you will fit in.
  • Don’t overlook the possibility of winning a scholarship, either!

If you are applying to multiple programs, you should prepare a flexible application because some schools may use the Common Application. If this is the case, you should build a versatile application.

Components that are typically required for an application to the best film schools

The following are some typical components of applications to the best film schools:

  1. Statement of purpose for the field of cinematic arts
  2. Samples of writing submitted to film schools
  3. Visual sample (you might have the choice between submitting a video or a photo), making sure to detail the contribution you made to the project in some way.
  4. Creative portfolio list (this is like an artistic resume)
  5. Recommendation letters and cover letters
  6. You are welcome to include in your application a mention of directors whose films have served as a source of motivation for you when it comes to writing.

How to complete an application to the best film schools?

The following are some helpful hints to ensure that your application is submitted on time:

  1. You should be aware of the application due dates for each of the programs for which you intend to submit an application.
  2. Putting together a schedule for yourself to follow in order to ensure that you submit each application on time
  3. Be sure to include any artistic activities you participated in during the fall of your senior year of high school in your portfolio before sending it in if you are applying while you are still in high school.

Notes to take into consideration before submitting your application to one of the best film schools

  • In your application, you should demonstrate that you have a variety of interests.
  • Demonstrate why you stand out from other potential candidates.
  • When providing a visual sample for film school, the video option is almost always the best choice to make.
  • In the application, you should avoid writing anything that might be considered inappropriate.
  • Keep in mind that the best stories are frequently the simplest.

The different ways one can get ready for film school

Even before submitting an application, aspiring filmmakers can take some steps to better prepare themselves for the rigors of film school. The following are some of the steps you can take:

Gain experience in the real world

Creating short films and videos is the best way to get started in the filmmaking industry, and this is true even if you have never had any kind of training in filmmaking before. Imagine doing this on the weekend, with your friends, or during the summertime when you have some free time. To get things rolling, you can even use your smartphone to shoot some quick videos to get things started.

Male student using a camera during a sunset.

You need to show those movies to other people and solicit feedback from the friends and family you can count on. Pay attention to what other people have to say about your work, and then incorporate their feedback into your efforts to improve your performance.

You can also engage in a good summer program.

Develop your skills

Take some courses in filmmaking, or sign up for a film program that meets during the summer months. You might also look into programs that let you attend primary and secondary school at the same time.

Let yourself explore

Explore the medium of film in a variety of different ways. Now is the time to evaluate what aspects of yourself, both positive and negative, you find interesting, as well as to determine your strengths and weaknesses.

Participate in a contest or a festival

If you’re successful, you’ll have an impressive accomplishment to add to your resume. On the other hand, simply going through the process of getting that submission ready is an experience that is priceless in and of itself.

Get started on your application right away

Make sure your artist statement, portfolio, and creative resume are all ready to go. If you prepare in advance, you will have the opportunity to carefully consider and revise your application before actually submitting it.

Choosing the best film schools is one, and getting admission from them is another. In line with this, the best you can do as a film student aspirant is to make sure that you have prepared well.

College student looking away from the camera.

The common requirement for college admissions include, high ACT or SAT scores and well-rounded extracurriculars.

We at AdmissionSight have more than ten years of experience helping students navigate the challenging admissions process so they can enroll in the best universities in the world. With one of the best admissions records in the field, 75% of our students are typically accepted by an Ivy League institution, such as Stanford, MIT, UChicago, or Caltech. Please feel free to schedule a consultation appointment today.

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