So you want to be the next Spielberg or Peter Jackson or maybe just Oren Peli, who directed the hit “Paranormal Activity” for less than USD 15,000. If so, you may want to consider enrolling in a Los Angeles film school – simply because most of the industry is right here. But the most important question you have to ask yourself is: how much are you willing to spend? USC is the most famous of the film schools in the metropolis, with alums such as George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Judd Apatow as well as Bryan Singer. How much would 2 semesters cost you? That would be more than USD 30,000 – not including supplies and room and board. Come to think of it, that will be the cost of two Paranormal Activities! While it’s true that they have renowned professors, some of the classes would be too full – with over 100 students in them.
The American Film Institute is another lauded Los Angeles film school. Tuition for a year alone is nearly forty thousand dollars, as per their estimates. To some people, that amount is nothing compared to the fact that you would have the reputation of graduating from the same institute where Darren Aronofsky, Ed Zwick and Terrence Malick came from. But then again, there may not be sufficient space for one-on-one activities with a class size of 100. UCLA costs a meager six thousand annually if you are a California resident, but if you’re not, it’s over twenty thousand. Even though you will be under the instruction of such luminaries as Peter Guber and Joe Roth, classes are still so large. Another notable school that offers an undergraduate degree on film and television is Loyola Marymount. Their tuition is around USD 34,000 per year. They have a smaller student to faculty ratio, around 13 students to 1 teacher. Now there is the Los Angeles Film School, established in 1999. Among its renowned guest speakers are Jason Reitman as well as Diablo Cody. With a student body of 595, annual tuition is about USD 41,000.
A recent graduate co-directed the feature film “Gamer” which stars Gerard Butler. While the programs provided by these reputable schools are equally prestigious, they still follow the usual classroom setup. None of them provide genuine one-on-one mentors where a student can observe a professional at work regularly and learn on the job. Women in Film looks like a promising academy but searching the internet proved to be futile – there were no success stories associated with their program. CBS, interestingly, offers a mentor program (in fact, they offer two mentors) for television writing. One of the mentors is a senior-level writer for one of CBS’ current drama or comedy series. In the course of the program, the participant gathers creative feedback on their writing and advice on their career objectives. The second of the mentors is a renowned CBS network or studio executive from whom students get to meet on a regular basis to discuss their work, get feedback and support regarding their career.
The greatest thing about this program and the school in general is the fact that it’s offered for free. It seems like many a Los Angeles film school are missing out on a great opportunity – if they provided such one-on-one mentoring programs, there would possibly be a lot more stories of big achievements from their students. Film Connection Los Angeles Film School 6253 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (800) 755-7597