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What's your opinion on The Los Angeles Film School?

I'm trying to decide where to study film to be a screenwriter and/or director. Is LA Film a good choice? Any better ones?

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi Avila,

I can't speak for LA Film School because I've never been. But I can speak for Chapman University because I graduated from there. Dodge College, which is the film department of Chapman is a really nice school. From what I remember it has at least three to four sound stages, which at the time were state of the art. It has a Digital Arts school for those looking to do stop motion and animation; I worked pretty closely with one of the artists during my thesis film. They also have a pretty well-equipped equipment room with tons of lights, lenses and cameras. Of course, the camera that everyone fights over is the Arri Alexa! There are producing and audio students there as well. The sound stage is awesome.

For the directing track, I know the teachers are really good. I don't know if he's still there, but John Badham was an awesome teacher. He directed Saturday Night Fever and War Games. For screen-writing, I never got to know any of the teachers or the writers and that's because the majority of the directors wrote their own scripts and the screen-writer kids were busy writing pilots for T.V. shows or feature scripts.

One of the coolest parts is that the director and the cinematographers get to pair up and work together to make the films that they want to make. It basically is a really tight relationship where both parties work really hard to get the film into a visual form via shot lists (lists of shot sizes based on the script) and story boards (visual depictions via comic-book like drawings of those shot sizes). The two look at art and movies as references for their film.

One of the best parts of being at Chapman was the guest speakers. We would have tons of industry people from directors, producers and cinematographers come in to talk. This is happening even more now with Stephen Galloway, host or ex host (I can't remember) of the Hollywood Reporter Round Table, being the Dean of the school. He gets tons and tons of actors and industry to talk over Zoom and sometimes in the Chapman theater.

The Chapman Theater is a professional, state-of-the-art theater where you can watch your projects back and usually, the school will have an industry guest come in to critique the work of the director, writer and cinematographer. You also get to learn the professional workflow of how movie goes through industry-standard EQ testing with audio and picture. You get to learn the entire round trip, which is really nice.

There's a bunch more I could go into like how they teach you how to get your film green lit, and how they teach you all the ins and outs of how to build your film from the ground up, but that would take a lot more writing and explanation.

All I can say is that this school really taught me a lot of what I know, and I couldn't recommend it enough. It definitely, in my opinion, is worth a look.

Regards,
Jacob Steiner
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Avila
Thank you comment icon You're welcome! Jacob Steiner
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Avila !

I had looked into the L.A. Film School for someone and I have to say that, yes, it's a good school. What I liked about it is that it has a high acceptance rate and that it is located right in the heart of Hollywood near studios. I would recommend it, but that's just from what I obtained from their website. You will need to figure out how much you want to spend on film school, too, and compare tuition and costs. It may be a longish ride but since you live in Carpinteria, you could even commute and not relocate from your present home. In comparison, UCLA and USC have too low of an acceptance rate, in my opinion. You can also consider going to a state university for a degree in film. I would say that L.A. Film School is a good choice.

My idea of the ideal school would be The American Film Institute in Hollywood. It is outstanding. Although I have only been there as a visitor, I would highly recommend it if it fits your budget. Right now the tuition and fees are a bit over $68,000.00 a year so that's pretty expensive, too, but there is some financial aid and scholarships. But it's the film school that I feel is the best besides UCLA and USC. Their acceptance rate is astonishing low, too.

So, I would say look more into The L.A. Film School if you want to enroll right after high school. Read their website and get an idea of all the admissions information and plan a visit to the school for an orientation and tour and see how you like it. Besides their website, they have a channel on You Tube with videos that you can watch. I have left a link below for you to their You Tube Channel.

If you go to L.A. Film School for your Bachelors in Film focusing on Directing, you will have courses in film history, production, editing, screenwriting, design, cinematography, sound, communications, acting, aesthetics and culture and more. It's the same as every film school so don't feel like you'd be missing out. One other cool thing about it is that it's fairly new, starting in 1999. In my opinion, their tuition is fairly reasonable compared to others. The tuition depends on your major, what level degree you go for and you can figure out this years' tuition by going to the link I have provided below. You can also call the school to ask any questions you may have.

Think about if you want to commute or get an apartment in Hollywood. The school does not have dorms or on campus housing. I would suggest commuting if you possibly can.

I hope that this is of help to you in making a choice of which film school to attend. I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

L.A. FILM SCHOOL YOU TUBE CHANNEL https://www.youtube.com/@TheLosAngelesFilmSchool
L.A. FILM SCHOOL TUITION https://www.lafilm.edu/admissions/tuition/
L.A. FILM SCHOOL HOUSING INFORMATION https://www.lafilm.edu/campus-life/housing/
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Avila
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Avila ! Michelle M.
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Steve’s Answer

I must admit, I'm a proud graduate of the University of Southern California's Film School, where I received an exceptional education. UCLA, too, is renowned for its superb film school. I had the opportunity to attend several lectures there while wrapping up my studies at USC, thanks to a few friends who were students there.

My son, on the other hand, attended LA FILM SCHOOL, specifically the LA RECORDING SCHOOL. This institution boasts a stellar reputation, having produced numerous successful individuals who are now making waves in the industry.

I highly recommend that you explore the curriculums of these schools. Keep in mind, your financial situation will inevitably influence what you can manage. But don't overlook other reputable institutions like Cal State Long Beach and Chapman, as suggested by another person who responded to your query.

Take your time to research each school and apply to those that genuinely pique your interest. Having a range of options is always beneficial when it's time to make a commitment.

Wishing you the best of luck! Remember, persistence and hard work in this field will undoubtedly yield fruitful results!
Thank you comment icon Your advice was so helpful! Avila
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Dora’s Answer

Hi Avila,

While The Los Angeles Film School can offer some valuable education, it's essential to consider the cost and whether it's the best fit for you. As an aspiring screenwriter and director, you can also learn a great deal by immersing yourself in movies, watching documentaries on filmmaking, and reading biographies of film icons and contemporary filmmakers.

Moreover, start making short films with friends, using simple equipment like an iPhone. Experiment, edit, and submit your work to local festivals. Take inspiration from the Duplass brothers, who broke into the industry through a homemade short film.

Ultimately, if you are passionate and dedicated to learning about filmmaking daily, you may want to consider investing the money you'd spend on film school in creating your own projects. I studied film and theatre at multiple schools, and in retrospect, I would focus more on practical experience and self-driven learning.

Best of luck in your filmmaking journey!
Thank you comment icon That makes sense, thank you!! Avila
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JOHN’s Answer

Hello:

Beyond the fabulous insights and comments that everyone gave you - try reading other's screenplays on top of all the other suggestions. Observing other's creativity can help you master quicker the object of screenwriting. Masterclass.com also has various writers and directors on the site to learn from them with lower costs alongside your schooling. Screenwriting: Aaron Sorkin, etc. Filmmaking: Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese, Mira Nair, etc.

Also, getting coverage on your writing can help learn indirectly by other's perspectives and views about one's writing. So, once writing, if remain in your steps, a site like bluepennotes.com could be helpful in the lower-priced, in-line notes that one can find wisdom from.

Thankful to your roads.

God Bless,

John German
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