Nov 13, 2007

Top Film Schools

In the past decade, numerous film schools have popped up all over the world, some with dubious intentions. A common question arises as to which ones are the best. There are the "Big Four", which are regarded as USC, NYU, UCLA, and Columbia University. These have remained popular because of the many famous alumni that have come from these schools (many from the '60 and '70s, such as Scorsese, DePalma, Coppola). Some of the most highly regarded film schools today:

  • AFI: (known mostly for cinematographers) Caleb Deschanel, Robert Richardson
  • California Institute of the Arts: (known mostly for animators) Tim Burton, John Lassiter,
  • Columbia University School of the Arts: Brian DePalma, David Brown, Kathryn Bigelow, Malia Scotch-Marmo, Joe Minion
  • The North Carolina School of the Arts
  • NYU: Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Joel Coen, Martin Brest, Susan Seidelman, Chris Columbus,
  • San Francisco State University
  • UCLA: Francis Ford Coppola, Danny DeVito, Tim Robbins, Paul Schrader, Penelope Spheeris
  • USC: John Carpenter, George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, John Milius, Robert Zemekis, Dan O'Bannon, Michael Lehman, Phil Joanou, Conrad Hall, ASC
  • University of Texas at Austin

Let it be known that, at least in my own personal film school experience, it does not follow necessarily that a good school produces good students. Many, if not all, of these schools are famous because they attracted talented artists who then became famous. The schools themselves did not make the students famous, or add to their talents in any significant way. Film schools are technical institutions that show you how to point a camera and how to turn on lights, but they cannot show you how to tell an interesting story or how to choose a provocative camera angle. That's up to you.