December 29, 2017 at 6:42AM, Edited December 29, 6:43AM


Suggestions for Film School and Financial Question

Hi there,
So I've been thinking of switching from my current school Suny Farmingdale to another campus and changing my major to something involving film.

So besides NYU, can anyone suggest other colleges in the NYC or Long Island area that offer Degrees in Film?

Anyone have experience with NYU as a school?

Also, I know that if you make a certain amount you can't get certain types of loans, which was fine with a Suny school as I could pay for most of it out of pocket, however if I switched to a private campus, I realize that it will be much more expensive than a Suny School, are there any loans that exist that I would be able to get still?

I didn't find the right solution from the internet.

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which was fine with a Suny school as I could pay for most of it out of pocket.

December 30, 2017 at 2:04AM


Hey Larry,

Yours is a question asked all the time-- so you are not alone! I've been a Film Professor for 20+ years and taught at major Universities (BU, NYU), and smaller schools (Columbia Chicago, and NJ State Universities- William Paterson and Montclair State). My students have gotten into the best grad film schools and produced major award winning features so I feel comfortable saying one thing: Find a school with a great filmmaking community!

That can be NYU, but it can also be a small State school-- SUNY/CUNY. Fortunately, all you need is a dedicated film community- students to crew and give honest criticism and faculty who know what they're doing and care-- the top schools don't have a lock on that.

For Graduate school I advise my students to only care about the big schools- because for Grad school connections, equipment and reputation (for teaching and industry) IS important. (Though IF you have a supportive filmmaking community and have the discipline you certainly do not need Grad School. But if you want to teach, have no connections and community, it can certainly help.)

But for Undergrad? No way. I would check other SUNY/CUNY campuses, visit them and ask students if there is a student film club. Visit the club, talk to the members and see if you find them to be dedicated, film lovers. You can usually FEEL this from students.

I went to a small State University in NJ. Our film program had one Professor and was in the Art school. But its grads have made several award winning feature films, has students working in the industry at very high levels, several are Professors, teachers and many work in corporate. Because we had a dedicated Professor, were all committed and supportive-- even at our small, no-name school.

So before you get yourself swamped in debt, check out other SUNY/CUNY or nearby State University programs- this may take work. But if you're planning on being a filmmaker that comes with the territory.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!!!

December 31, 2017 at 7:24AM

Chriss Williams
Film Professor

It's a bad idea to go into debt to attend film school. Once you graduate you'll have to get a job to pay the student loans, and that most likely means not working in movie-making.

January 2, 2018 at 12:40AM

Minor Mogul

There are plenty of jobs in film that make enough to pay back student debt, though of course debt should be kept as low as possible.

check out Feirstein.Brooklyn.Cuny.Edu, I teach there, amazing place, and it's a CUNY so it's an affordable option.

January 3, 2018 at 6:47AM

Charles Haine

I would recommend Brooklyn College. I went there for film production and the program was pretty awesome. Honestly I never finished the program because I was freelancing and interning outside of school and started to get hired on a lot of jobs so I quit. The time I spent in the program though was really positive.

Also it's cheap and easy to get financial assistance.

I don't know if they do it anymore but in your intro production class you shoot 16mm and that was a lot of fun. Some people thought it was dumb but I think it's a good opportunity that a lot of people don't bother to try.

January 4, 2018 at 1:42PM

Alex Alva

For Creatives, the contacts you make is more important than any NAME, because there isn't a single employer(in our field) on earth that cares where you learned or how you learned. Only that you can CREATE and problem solve and get along with people. Bigger named schools have better resources and contacts, so that's where the money is spent. Your circle of friends you make at school is VITAL!!!!! Smaller schools, especially now can have nice resources as well and depending on your classmates, just as high a caliber as anywhere else.

January 5, 2018 at 8:54AM, Edited January 5, 8:59AM

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I started out in film production at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and transferred to Hunter College CUNY after SVA became too expensive.

I'd advise you to make a short film before enrolling. Use it to try to get a full scholarship or at least a partial scholarship.

Ultimately, making a short film before starting college would be a great learning experience for you.

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