Film school

Last updated

A film school is any educational institution dedicated to teaching aspects of filmmaking, including such subjects as film production, film theory, digital media production, and screenwriting. Film history courses and hands-on technical training are usually incorporated into most film school curricula. Technical training may include instruction in the use and operation of cameras, lighting equipment, film or video editing equipment and software, and other relevant equipment. Film schools may also include courses and training in such subjects as television production, broadcasting, audio engineering, and animation.

Filmmaking is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and reproduction, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition. Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques. Typically, it involves a large number of people, and can take from a few months to several years to complete.

Film theory is a set of scholarly approaches within the academic discipline of film or cinema studies that questions the essentialism of cinema and provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. Film theory is not to be confused with general film criticism, or film history, though these three disciplines interrelate.

Digital media

Digital media are any media that are encoded in machine-readable formats. Digital media can be created, viewed, distributed, modified and preserved on digital electronics devices.

Contents

History

The formal teaching of film began with theory rather than practical technical training starting soon after the development of the filmmaking process in the 1890s. Early film theorists were more interested in writing essays on film theory than in teaching students in a classroom environment. The Moscow Film School was founded in 1919 with Russian filmmakers including Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Lev Kuleshov serving as faculty to disseminate their very distinct viewpoints on the purpose of film. [1]

Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography Film school in Moscow, Russia

The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, a.k.a. VGIK, is a film school in Moscow, Russia.

Sergei Eisenstein Soviet filmmaker

Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was a Soviet film director and film theorist, a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage. He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1928), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible. In its decennial poll, the magazine Sight & Sound named his Battleship Potemkin the 11th greatest movie of all time.

Vsevolod Pudovkin Soviet film director, screenwriter and actor

Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin was a Russian and Soviet film director, screenwriter and actor who developed influential theories of montage. Pudovkin's masterpieces are often contrasted with those of his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, but whereas Eisenstein utilized montage to glorify the power of the masses, Pudovkin preferred to concentrate on the courage and resilience of individuals. He was granted the title of People's Artist of the USSR in 1948.

Those seeking to learn the technical craft of filmmaking in the early days of cinema were largely self-taught engineers or still photographers who experimented with new film technology. With the rise of commercial filmmaking in the 1920s, most notably the Hollywood studio system, those seeking to learn the technical skills of filmmaking most often started at the bottom of a hierarchical system and apprenticed under a more experienced person to learn the trade. Filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean started in this way, beginning as a title card designer and clapperboard assistant, respectively, in the early 1920s. The USC School of Cinematic Arts was founded in the midst of this Hollywood system in 1929, and continues to be widely recognized as one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. [2] The University of Southern California was the first university in the country to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in film. [3]

The studio system is a method of film production and distribution dominated by a small number of "major" studios in Hollywood. Although the term is still used today as a reference to the systems and output of the major studios, historically the term refers to the practice of large motion picture studios between the 1920s and 1960s of (a) producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under often long-term contract, and (b) dominating exhibition through vertical integration, i.e., the ownership or effective control of distributors and exhibition, guaranteeing additional sales of films through manipulative booking techniques such as block booking.

Alfred Hitchcock British filmmaker

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).

David Lean British film director

Sir David Lean was an English film director, producer, screenwriter and editor, responsible for large-scale epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984). He also directed adaptations of Charles Dickens novels Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), and the romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945).

The tradition of apprenticing up through a hierarchical system continues to this day within film studios and in television in many technical positions such as gaffers, grips, camera operators, and even into post production with editing and color correction. Independent lower budget filmmaking in the post war period using portable 16mm film cameras allowed filmmakers like John Cassavetes in the United States, along with members of the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism in Europe, to circumvent the classical system.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Gaffer (filmmaking) head electrician for film and TV crews

In film and television crews, the gaffer or chief lighting technician is the head electrician, responsible for the execution of the lighting plan for a production. The term "gaffer" originally related to the moving of overhead equipment to control lighting levels using a gaff. The gaffer's assistant is the best boy electric.

Grip (job) occupation in film and TV production

In the U.S. and Canada, grips are technicians in the filmmaking and video production industries. They constitute their own department on a film set and are directed by a key grip. Grips have two main functions. The first is to work closely with the camera department to provide camera support, especially if the camera is mounted to a dolly, crane, or in an unusual position, such as the top of a ladder. Some grips may specialize in operating camera dollies or camera cranes. The second main function of grips is to work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups necessary for a shot under the direction of the director of photography.

Grips' responsibility is to build and maintain all the equipment that supports cameras. This equipment, which includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs, is constructed of delicate yet heavy duty parts requiring a high level of experience to operate and move. Every scene in a feature film is shot using one or more cameras, each mounted on highly complex, extremely expensive, heavy duty equipment. Grips assemble this equipment according to meticulous specifications and push, pull, mount or hang it from a variety of settings. The equipment can be as basic as a tripod standing on a studio floor, to hazardous operations such as mounting a camera on a 100 ft crane, or hanging it from a helicopter swooping above a mountain range.

Good Grips perform a crucial role in ensuring that the artifice of film is maintained, and that camera moves are as seamless as possible. Grips are usually requested by the DoP or the camera operator. Although the work is physically demanding and the hours are long, the work can be very rewarding. Many Grips work on both commercials and features.

The notion of a granting a four-year college degree in film grew more popular in the 1960s with the founding of prestigious film departments like the New York University Tisch School of the Arts (1965), Walt Disney founded California Institute of the Arts (1961), the University of Texas department of Radio-Television-Film (1965) and the Columbia University School of the Arts (1965). [4] Over the years competition for admissions to these programs has steadily increased with many undergraduate programs accepting less than 10% of applicants, and with even more stringent selection for graduate programs.

New York University private research university in New York, NY, United States

New York University (NYU) is a private research university originally founded in New York City but now with campuses and locations throughout the world. Founded in 1831, NYU's historical campus is in Greenwich Village, New York City. As a global university, students can graduate from its degree-granting campuses in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, as well as study at its 12 academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.

Walt Disney American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer

Walter Elias Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

California Institute of the Arts University located in Valencia, in Los Angeles County, California

The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is a private university in Santa Clarita, California. It was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States created specifically for students of both the visual and performing arts. It offers Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in six schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the increased difficulties in getting into and the financial costs of attending these programs have caused many to spend their money self-financing their own features or attending a shorter trade school program for around the same costs. Film trade schools however rarely offer more than technical knowledge, and often cost more than a degree from a public university without providing the security of a four-year college degree to fall back on.

A public university is a university that is publicly owned or receives significant public funds through a national or subnational government, as opposed to a private university. Whether a national university is considered public varies from one country to another, largely depending on the specific education landscape.

Types of film schools

A film school may be part of an existing public or private college or university, or part of a privately owned for-profit institution. Depending on whether the curriculum of a film school meets its state's academic requirements for the conferral of a degree, completion of studies in a film school may culminate in an undergraduate or graduate degree, or a certificate of completion. Some institutions, both accredited and non-accredited, run shorter workshop and conservatory programs [5] concurrent to longer degree courses.

Not only the types of courses on offer, but also the content, cost and duration of the courses differs greatly between larger institutions and bespoke film schools. Universities offer courses ranging from 1 to 4 years, with the majority lasting 3 or 4 years. Conversely, films schools focus on shorter technical courses of 1 or 2 years.[ citation needed ]

Many film schools still teach students how to use actual film in their productions, although the incorporation of digital media in film school curricula has risen drastically in recent years. Some schools offer only digital filmmaking courses, eschewing instruction in the medium of film altogether. The use of digital cameras and digital media is significantly less expensive than film cameras and film stock, and allows a film school or department to offer more equipment for students with which to learn and use for their projects. In addition, digital media (such as DVD) is often used for in-class screenings.

In recent years, online film schools of sorts have sprung up teaching filmmaking through articles, tutorial videos, and interactive forums. The next generation of digital cinematography using the large sensors and manual features available in still DSLR cameras has lowered the barrier further towards creating inexpensive digital video that compares closely to 35mm film. [6]

Benefits debated

Professionals in the film industry hold a variety of opinions on the relevance of a degree in film in relation to the ability to find work and succeed in the field. As in many professions in the arts, some feel that talent cannot be taught. With respect to filmmaking, others feel that learning techniques and understanding the business is crucial to one's success as a filmmaker. [7]

Those who argue against the necessity of film school cite the high cost of such an education as prohibitive, and assert that an aspiring filmmaker's money would be better spent on the actual making of a film, the experience of which would offer a more practical hands-on education. At many film schools, including NYU and USC, initial student films in non digital programs are shot with non synch Arri-S or Bolex film cameras manufactured in the mid 20th century. These films are typically shot on black and white reversal film with no dialog, or limited sound added after shooting. Supporters argue that shooting films like these challenge students to creatively express their story without relying on dialog or other modern conventional devices. Opponents question the practicality of having students invest a substantial amount of money using equipment that is no longer used in the industry, and doing simple filmmaking exercises that could be recreated for much less. [8]

Film school proponents argue that a formal education allows for a more rounded theoretical understanding of techniques artistic approaches, and offers the opportunity to gain from the knowledge and experience of professional instructors who work in, or who have worked in, the industry. Often cited as another benefit of film school are the opportunities available to students to work as an intern for filmmakers or in related businesses, such as post-production editing facilities, and to network with others interested in filmmaking who may be in a position to collaborate with the student on a project or to eventually offer work in the industry. Most film schools will hold a festival, or showcase, of student works at the end of a semester or school year.[ citation needed ] The more prestigious institutions often invite industry executives and producers to attend. However, ambitious individuals not in film school can also pursue such opportunities on their own through cold-calling, joining film industry-related organizations such as IFP, or submitting their work to independent film festivals.

The rise and popularity of independent filmmaking and digital video have influenced this debate, as anyone with a digital camera can shoot a digital work with little formal knowledge of the industry, and can succeed or establish a following by making the work available for viewing or by publicizing it on the internet.

Directors who have attended and earned degrees from film schools include Francis Ford Coppola (UCLA Film School, MFA film directing), Martin Scorsese (NYU Film School, MFA film directing), David Lynch (AFI Conservatory, MFA Film Directing), and George Lucas (USC Film School, BA film directing). Others, such as Stanley Kubrick, Frank Capra, Pedro Almodóvar, Bernardo Bertolucci, Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, and Alfred Hitchcock had no formal college film training at all. Film director Werner Herzog has been quite vocal in arguing against film school. [9]

See also

Wikibooks

Wikiversity

Related Research Articles

National Film and Television School Film school in Buckinghamshire, England

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is a film, television and games school established in 1971 and based at Beaconsfield Studios in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England. It is featured in the 2018 ranking by The Hollywood Reporter of the top 15 International film schools.

Villa Maria College is a private, Catholic college, founded in 1960 by the Felician Sisters. Located in Buffalo, NY.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts —formerly the USC School of Cinema-Television, otherwise known as CNTV—is a private media school within the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The school offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs covering film production, screenwriting, cinema and media studies, animation and digital arts, media arts + practice, and interactive media & games. Additional programs include the Peter Stark Producing Program and the Business of Entertainment.

A Master of Fine Arts is a creative degree in fine arts, including visual arts, creative writing, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, dance, theatre, other performing arts and in some cases, theatre management or arts administration. It is a graduate degree that typically requires two to three years of postgraduate study after a bachelor's degree, though the term of study varies by country or university. The MFA is a terminal degree. Coursework is primarily of an applied or performing nature with the program often culminating in a major work or performance. The first university to admit a student to the degree of Master of Fine Arts was the University of Iowa in 1940.

New York University Tisch School of the Arts Performing Arts Institute at New York University in New York, USA

The New York University Tisch School of the Arts is the performing, cinematic and media arts school of New York University. Founded on August 17, 1965, Tisch is a training ground for artists, scholars of the arts, and filmmakers; the school merges the technical training of a professional school with the academic resources of a major research university to immerse students in their intended artistic disciplines. The school is divided into three Institutes: Performing Arts, Emerging Media, and the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television. Many undergraduate and graduate disciplines are available for students, including: acting, dance, drama, performance studies, design for stage and film, musical theatre writing, photography, game design and development, and film and television studies.

Visual anthropology

Visual anthropology is a subfield of social anthropology that is concerned, in part, with the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and, since the mid-1990s, new media. More recently it has been used by historians of science and visual culture. Although sometimes wrongly conflated with ethnographic film, Visual Anthropology encompasses much more, including the anthropological study of all visual representations such as dance and other kinds of performance, museums and archiving, all visual arts, and the production and reception of mass media. Histories and analyses of representations from many cultures are part of Visual Anthropology: research topics include sandpaintings, tattoos, sculptures and reliefs, cave paintings, scrimshaw, jewelry, hieroglyphics, paintings and photographs. Also within the province of the subfield are studies of human vision, properties of media, the relationship of visual form and function, and applied, collaborative uses of visual representations. Multimodal anthropology describes the latest turn in the subfield, which considers how emerging technologies like immersive virtual reality, augmented reality, mobile apps, social networking, gaming along with film, photography and art is reshaping anthropological research, practice and teaching.

UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television public university in California

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, is one of the 11 schools within the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) located in Los Angeles, California. Its creation was groundbreaking in that it was the first time a leading university had combined all three of these aspects into a single administration. The undergraduate program is often ranked among the world's top drama departments. The graduate programs are usually ranking within the top three nationally, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Among the school's resources are the Geffen Playhouse and the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the world's largest university-based archive of its kind, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. The Archive constitutes one of the largest collections of media materials in the United States — second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Its vaults hold more than 220,000 motion picture and television titles and 27 million feet of newsreel footage.

New York Film Academy film school and acting school

New York Film Academy – School of Film and Acting (NYFA) is a for-profit film school and acting school based in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. The New York Film Academy was founded in 1992 by Jerry Sherlock, a former film, television and theatre producer. It was originally located at the Tribeca Film Center. In 1994, NYFA moved to the former Tammany Hall building in Union Square. After 23 years of occupancy, the Academy relocated from Tammany Hall to Battery Park in October 2015.

AFI Conservatory American graduate film school

The AFI Conservatory is a private not-for-profit graduate film school in the Hollywood Hills district of Los Angeles. Students learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. The Conservatory is a program of the American Film Institute founded in 1969.

Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) is the first and only MFA program in Cinematic Arts for the Middle East and North Africa. It is based in Aqaba, Jordan. RSICA is a joint effort of Royal Film Commission – Jordan and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Its students are women and men from the MENA region in a specialized learning environment dedicated to teaching the six key disciplines of the cinematic arts.

London Film School Film school in London, England

London Film School (LFS) is a not-for-profit film school in London and is situated in a converted brewery in Covent Garden, London, neighbouring Soho, a hub of the UK film industry.

Visual Communications organization

Visual Communications –– is a community-based non-profit media arts organization based in Los Angeles and founded in 1970 by independent filmmakers Robert Nakamura, Alan Ohashi, Eddie Wong, and Duane Kubo. Fueled by the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, they set out creating learning kits, photographing community events, recording oral histories, and collecting historical images of Asian American life. Additionally, they created films, video productions, community media productions, screening activities, and photographic exhibits and publications.

The International Film School of Paris is a private film school founded in 1972 by Jean-Paul Vuillin, producer and director of film.

The International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) is a trade film school offering diploma and certificate programs in filmmaking, acting, and 3D animation. IAFT includes significant amounts of hands-on practical experience under the care and guidance of recognized industry mentors in its programs. IAFT Cebu was also voted as "one of the best film schools in the world" by the Hollywood Reporter.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers' School of Film, Photography, and Digital Media is a private institution of higher education located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is an accredited art school that is run by Pittsburgh Filmmakers, a well-known media arts center and non-profit tax-exempt organization.

Seattle Film Institute

The Seattle Film Institute (SFI) is a film school, founded in Seattle, WA in 1994. SFI offers part-time classes, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and certificate programs in film and digital video production.

University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio–Television–Film

The Department of Radio–Television–Film at the University of Texas at Austin located in Austin, Texas, is one of the five departments comprising the Moody College of Communication. The department was founded in 1965 and has become one of the nation's premiere film schools, consistently ranking in the top 5 for graduate programs and the top 10 for undergraduate studies. The department has a very selective admissions policy, accepting fewer than 25% of applicants in its undergraduate program, and fewer than 15% of applicants in its graduate programs.

The Asociación Mexicana de Cineastas Independientes, Spanish for Mexiana Association of Independent Filmmakers is an association that promotes and supports a film school in Mexico. The association produces almost 150 short films a year, many showing at international festivals.

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is one of ten schools constituting Chapman University, located in Orange, California, 40 miles south of Los Angeles. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, with programs in film production, screenwriting, creative producing, news and documentary, public relations and advertising, digital arts, film studies, television writing and producing, and screen acting.

The Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) is a film school belonging to Mexico's National Council for Culture and Arts. It was founded in 1975 with the aim of providing technical and artistic training for those entering the film industry. It is one of Mexico's two major film schools, the other being the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

References

  1. Историческая справка (in Russian). Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  2. Abramowitz, Rachel (2010). "LA's Screen Gems". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  3. "USC Cinematic Arts | History". Cinema.usc.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  4. "2001 film school rankings". U.S. News and World Report. 2001. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. "Filmmaking programs". Nyfa.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  6. Gibson, Brian (13 March 2010). "DSLR Filmmaking Comes Into Focus". Film School Rejects . Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  7. "What You Learn in Film School". All About Film School.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  8. "What Does a $40,000 Short Film Look Like?". FilmSchoolSecrets. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  9. Deane, Daniela (11 December 2009). "Werner Herzog: No need for film school". CNN. Retrieved 19 November 2014.