How to Pick the Best Film Course for You

With a new school year around the corner, film students often weigh their options on what will be the best film course for their career and goals. Whether you want to start producing, writing, or directing films right away or focus on film history and theory first, there are an overwhelming amount of film course options out there for you.

A good place to start is narrowing down what you want from your program. Here are four things to keep in mind when choosing what type of film school best suits your goals.


Length of Study

Film programs vary in length, ranging from 6-12 months to four years.

A one year program is essentially designed to teach you all the technical and creative skills through hands-on learning in a quick, compact year. Most one year programs will have you holding a camera on day one and teach you theory throughout. This style of program is ideal for anyone who wants to build a strong, well-rounded filmmaking foundation, build relevant connections and find work in the industry right away.

Four year programs, after a year or two of studying cinema history, reading up on canonical film theorists, and collaborative discussions with your peers, will give you a deeper understanding of the art of cinema. The frame is a detailed work of art, and learning film theory in-depth can help you create art of your own. Longer programs are ideal for cinephiles who want to be really in-tune with film theory and don’t mind waiting a year or two before making their own films.

If you are a die-hard film buff, four year film programs may be for you, as you get to absorb more of the theoretical aspects of filmmaking before you start making films. If you are eager to grab a camera and jump right into filmmaking, a 12 month program may be a better fit for you!


Hands-on Learning

Film production and cinematic education are hands-on experiences. You learn by creating. At this point, it’s best for you to reflect on what kind of learner you are and which school will best fit your needs.

Are you someone who enjoys learning through lectures? Or are you someone who needs to hold something in your hands to truly understand what you are doing? While most film schools will eventually get you working with gear, it’s best to make sure your program will focus on what you are most interested in.

For example, some programs will focus primarily on theory, whereas others may focus more on using gear. Some might be a cohesive mix of both. It is important to broaden your horizons, but also not to waste your time learning things you aren’t interested in.


Industry Connections

Generally, while looking for the best film course, you should be considering, are my teachers currently prominent and involved in their respective fields? Working with industry professionals allows you to learn and develop your skills from the best, as well as form connections necessary to reach your professional goals post-graduation.

Learning from professors that are currently in the film industry allows you to master the current techniques that are shaping the screen today. When researching prospective film schools, doing research about your school is important. Check out the teacher’s IMDB, and see if the teachers will be able to help you achieve your goals. The teachers that are a part of your film program are not only going to be shaping your education, but also they provide an invaluable chance to build relationships that lead to future opportunities in your chosen industry.


Student Success

At the end of the day, what matters most is you, and finding the best film course that will lead you to personal and professional success. Your chosen film program will help your dreams take shape. To see how alumni fare in terms of student success, check out film school’s websites. You will find student testimonials that will give you insightful, unmeditated perspectives into various programs. The social media platforms of schools you are researching will also provide a sense of how programs and instructors lead their students to succeed.

Overall, you must weigh the pros and cons of different programs to decide what is going to be the best fit for you. There’s no doubt that if you want to be a filmmaker, you will, and finding the best film course for you is a stepping stone to make that happen.

Kennedy Randall is a Content Writer and Coordinator for InFocus Film School.

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