Great Promises Poor Delivery

LA Film School does the best sales job in the world. They give you an impressive tour and you have a personal recruiter who hounds you endlessly.

They show you all these toys and a cool building.

The minute you pay them, they could care less about you. It's all about sales, they couldn't care less about actual teaching. The main thing they don't have is good teachers who really work in the film business.

The teachers are mostly just people who went to film school and that is all they have done. Very few of them have actual experience in the industry.

A lot of them just went to LA Film School, which is pretty poor preparation. It's hardly even a real film school when compared to the good ones like AFI and USC and Chapman.

For example the woman who teaches cinematography is just a kid, hardly older than the students. She has no real experience in the business and is a terrible teacher. Some of the teachers are good but most are not.

Don't fall for their sales job, go to a real film school where you can study with people who really work in the movie business.


Reply from The

First of all, they are a business. No different really from my phone company.

If they don't meet their quota for student enrollment then the finance company that issues student loans will back out. A school that cannot offer a student loan is dead in the water.

Being a business means money first and everything else is second. Don't get me going about uninsured sick people who are often left to rot if no one writes a check.

Hard world and you have to fight back. I looked at LA film school and remain impressed. I can see your issue with the teaching staff being so young but they are hand chosen and the best of their class. They are capable of teaching you how everything works but after that, it's up to you.

Remember that old saying? If people can't do it, they teach it.

Please get back to me and tell me what it is that the LA Film School falls short when it comes to providing an education? If it was the young age of the woman teacher then don't worry.

She will probably teach for a few years and then she'll be offered a job on a set and she'll be gone. She was top of her class and she does write shorts in her spare time.

What if she is the girl doing the hiring on set of a job you want in 3 years time? Imagine if she remembers you because you worked your butt off in class and stood out from the others.

She'll give you that job without hesitation.

About AFI and USC and Chapman.

You can't really make any comparisons here because there is 1 apple, 1 orange and a singe pear. We'll start with The American Film Institute.

  • AFI

AFI is a National Institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media. As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives.

AFI does offer courses but they rely on your donations to fund them.

That means that their equipment, facilities and instructors are limited to the amount of money people donate. Becoming a member has many benefits but it is not a school in the traditional sense.

In partnership with AFI, Montgomery College Takoma Park Campus do offer film workshops each year in February, May and July. They often get recognized teachers working in the field but it is not free.

You get 6 days over 2 weekends for $800USD. The worst part is that you get no Diploma of any sort or credits you can transfer to another school.

Find out more about their film workshops.

  • Chapman University

Chapman University is a private, nonprofit university located in Orange, California affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Chapman University encompasses seven schools and colleges, each is accredited by both the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Neither are credits that will soon be accepted at any traditional colleges and universities.

But, if you can get Bill Dill as your film professor then Chapman University quickly becomes a very attractive place to do your film studies.

Chapman has a reputation for hiring top quality instructors which may put it ahead of some other film schools in some folks eyes.

  • USC (The University of Southern California)

The USC School of Cinematic Arts, until 2006 named the School of Cinema-Television (CNTV), is a film school within the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California

USC Logo

This is the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Either way it is part of the USC family. If you can get accepted and have the money to pay your tuition then go. It is my choice for the best Film School on the planet.

The donations it receives from high-profile Directors and Cinematographers offers a sort of endorsement and they at USC have used the money well.

Their facilities include:

the David L. Wolper Center
the George Lucas Instructional Building
the Steven Spielberg Music Scoring Stage
the Marcia Lucas Post-Production Building
the Harold Lloyd Motion Picture Sound Stage
the Johnny Carson Television Stage
the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, home of the student television network, Trojan Vision.
the Eileen Norris Cinema Theater
the Louis B. Mayer Film and Television Study Center
the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab

USC (The University of Southern California) is a full-blown private, nonsectarian, research university. It is a regionally accredited institute so you would be required to do 2 years of undergraduate work before moving into your graduate program in Film.

It is one of the "Most Selective Universities" because it only admitted 24.4% of the 35,753 people who applied to attend the school as freshman in 2009.

The cost of attendance at USC is high. It averages out to be about $55,578 per year as of 2010-2011. It is a 4 year program versus the accelerated 2 year program at Full Sail University.

USC, just for tuition, would cost $222,312. Enough said. these things affect your decision. USC is incredible and a dream.

I just don't believe that there is no value in places like the LA film school or Full Sail University.

The 2 are very closely related in the aggressiveness of their sales pitches.

Yet when I talked to a student that went to LA Film school she told me that her first week's assignment was to make her own short.

They did a day on how to use the basic functions of the equipment they were provided (Cameras and Lenses and Audio) then she said she went off and drew up a quick plan for a movie.

She said she had always wanted to put one of her short stories onto film and she fulfilled that dream in her first week!

That has to be of immense value? It is hands-on with professional cameras, lighting and Audio equipment as used on any set.

Her final product was watched and criticized by the whole class. Where else could you get that? Tell me and I'll go there. Save my dad a fortune. But I need that camera, those lights, that audio in order to make my short film.

She was very excited until she started talking work. It had been hard on her but she said she didn't want to be on any other road.

There is no point going over to a different road if the only one you want to be on is the one that goes into film, storytelling and the whole culture of creativity.

And the teacher who was there when she got stuck on something was not always the nicest or the smartest but she could answer the questions the students needed to know and she never sneered at helping a student.

If she didn't know the answer, she'd get it for you.

Again I ask, where else can I get that? Sure it is $37,000 a year at Full Sail but it is $55,578 per year at USC and they let in only 24% of applicants in.

Good luck to everyone.

Philip (John did the Proofing)

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