Thought I'd toss in my two cents about film programs. Or three.
1. IMHO, the only way to find out about graduate programs is to talk
to people in them. Ignore any and all literature you get from places
_except_ for faculty lists, courses, and $. Glossy? Be worried. This
might not be true for USC and NYU, which are funded by some big folks,
but then again it might be.
2. Everyone seems to assume that you want to do production only, and
no film studies. If that's so, then I agree that NYU and USC are the
big two. But if you want to do both production and studies, there are
several far better places to go. For that matter, you could do a heck
of a lot worse than here at UWM. But I won't plug that. Still, keep
in mind that NYU and USC are predominantly "professional" schools,
whereas other places are more interested in what might be called
avant-garde film. (Oh: I'm told by people who seem to know that
comparing Spike Lee with John Singleton provides a reasonable if
simplistic and ridiculously limiting way to compare NYU to USC,
their respective filmic alma maters.)
3. One place to be very wary of is the aforementioned
> "Peterson's Graduate Programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences"
> Princeton, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 1990 (comes out annually).
Not to knock it as one of many other sources, but Peterson's is slim
pickin's when it comes to newer, smaller, and less image-conscious
programs. Their section on interdisciplinary studies is a joke, and
leaves out most of the best programs in the country. It's a good
place to go for traditional programs, but it is definitely not the
source for quirky places -- like the program I'm in.
I'm not trying to imply that everyone needs to go to Quirky U. grad
school, but there are interesting places out there (here?) that don't
make it into the papers, but that people in various programs know
about. Again, I'd strongly recommend calling a few students in a few
of these programs to ask them not only about their program but about
And finally, good luck. My 7:45-4:15 job this summer convinces me
ever more that this grad school thing is the best kept secret on the
planet for us ne'er do wells.
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