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Author:  [log in to unmask]
Date:    12/9/94 8:03 PM
 
[Editor's note:  This message was originally submitted to SCREEN-L by
[log in to unmask] and not by Jeremy Butler.]
 
Also to be considered, in addition to the referenced note, are the issues of
how much you will be "allowed" to do as a film student.  At some schools you
must "win" a script competition if your dramatic screenplay is to be produced
and shot by the class.  In short, be sure that you'll have the opportunity to
make YOUR OWN film and not someone else's.
 
I am uncertain which schools are independent project oriented and which are
more group-project driven, but have been told by some students coming out of
the University of California system that their fellow film students graduate
without ever making their own film.  Rather, they have filled miscelleaneous
positions, (gaffer, d.o.p., cinematographer, script supervisor), on someone
else's project that was chosen over their's.
 
Also, be on the lookout for schools that deal more in theory and less in
hands-on experience.  There's nothing worse than to be on a set and not know
your way around.  All the talk of Bergman films and favorite scenes from
Citizen Kane won't bail you out when someone begins chewing your ass for
standing around dumbfounded, slowing things down for the rest of the people
who move and function as a tight, rehearsed unit.
 
I attend a smaller school, Brooks Institute of Photography, in Santa Barbara,
CA..  It is almost purely hands-on and most students come out having made
their own documentaries, animation projects, a group dramatic project, and a
project of their own choosing.  The faculty have been quite nice and I've had
no problem getting approval for projects and taking their cameras to Alaska
and Africa.  Yes, it's smaller and doesn't have the hordes of folks flocking
to it, but students come out of here quite prepared to do just about
anything.
 
Just to re-emphasize the previous gentleman's comments, it is very important
to do your homework on these places.  And really look at the cost.  This is
an expensive business.
 
Good luck!