Opportunists and Scam Artists

by Bill
(South Florida)

I went to Full Sail and graduated n 2012. I did not bust my butt and I didn't study hard but quite frankly the school doesn't challenge you to study hard or bust your butt. I passed all my classes without any resistance. The teachers were inept and uninterested and how could they be they see you for at most 2 months of there lives. I made friends had good times and did like some of my teachers because some are interested in you if only for a moment. I even got a job as a head producer at a local station in Miami, Fl (not exactly a small market). I've since left my old position and went on to work as a bond trader. Having said all this my conclusion of my time in FullSail is that is was the biggest mistake of my life. The students attending are entitled, stupid and lazy. The entire time I was there I was told things like "most people don't have what it takes to complete the program" essentially only the weak drop out, words eerily similar to those propagated most cults. I'd like to hit the hardest misconception and dispel the schools biggest mantra among faculty and students alike, the notion that you get out what you put in because its a manipulation so heinous as to make my blood boil, but before I do I'd like to highlight that all these advanced marketing techniques are aimed at 17, 18, yr olds mostly kids and young adults and for good reason. Let me take this time to be as articulate as possible as I don't want my words to be misconstrued as coming from a place of anger, although I personally and livid at the entire organization and hold nothing but the highest level of disdain toward their practices as its modern day hucksterism in full effect. So, back to "you get what you put in". Let's do some math (albeit, I know, not the average FullSail students strong suit), the cost of attending FS is around 100k (it was about 80 when I enrolled in 2010) so lets break that down, if you were to buy yourself a c500, top line audio gear, an Arri lighting kit and a monster processing computer with all the video and audio editing bells and whistles you'd be about 50k in the hole compared to 80k that you'd spend on 2 yrs at FullSail. The difference of course being that if you went to FullSail you'd leave with no equipment to call your own, except maybe a computer 5 years away from being obsolete, and that's not all, if you go to FullSail you better have wealthy parents willing to shill out 2 yrs of rent and living expenses at about 1k a month (a conservative estimate) so you can go ahead and tag another 24k to tuition costs. So your options here are buying yourself a mini studio's worth of equipment and learning as much as you can with the gear you now own or you can plunk twice that to hang out with a bunch of cool guys for a couple of years. Oh and don't forget these are student loans we're talking about, the operative word being loans, meaning interest, meaning 7% interest rates and at an average graduating loan looking to be around 60k that means you'll be indebted for the next 25 years of your life. So if your planning on going to FullSail also make sure your not planning on saving money or investing in your future like purchasing a home because the two are mathematically improbable. Now, I know that it's also highly improbable for a teenager or someone in their 20's with little to no capital to find someone willing to loan them 50k, so forget that but remember you get out what you put in, so why not get a job at your local starbucks save up and buy books on cinematography, audio, editing, graphics, and maybe after a while get yourself a computer that can process editing videos and do it that way because in total you'll have spent around 2k on books and a competent computer and don't forget you get out what you put in. OF COURSE YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!!!!! That's a basic economic tenant, what kind of organization could exist if you didn't get out what you put in!!! How dare you explain you get out what you put in to anyone over the age of 6??!! Moreover that's not whats sold to you when your about to enroll. You could go to the local library and get out what you put in, this logic applies to everything viable in existence and is therefore a manipulative line used to justify a stupid lazy and uninterested faculty. And if you think those words are harsh then ask yourself why is a competent person not in the field making a better living as a professional, at least with regional accredited schools there's a reason for a prof to want to teach, most profs at regionally accredited schools are retired from their field or find more satisfaction in teaching not to mention the research afforded at a regionally accredited program. (By the way educate yourself about the difference between regional and nationally accredited schools, fyi FullSail's accrediting body ACCSC changed its name after being successfully sued by irate graduates upset that they had been told their credits were transferable to regional schools, they weren't) The FACT is that those with interest and access to equipment used in film and tv are going to learn their craft. The real rub is that the students aren't the ones with access to this equipment, the teachers are, and that is the ultimate betrayal of trust, as it is you the student who is paying for your teachers to educate themselves. The fact of the matter is each potential student is putting their name, future, and a significant amount of debt forward when they enroll to FullSail "University" I think they deserve more than being told, "well thanks for your cash now remember your on your own, hope you got out what you put in", its twists my stomach just thinking about it. But lets forget all of what I've written so far and lets say your still head strong stubborn and won't let a long winded post from a faceless stranger stop you from following your dreams. Well to you I'd like to share my first job coming out of school, FullSail was nice enough to connect me with touchline video, my first taste of real world film and tv action. The job was in Orlando and I was living in Dania at the time so I had to drive up and back not to mention the commute to disney (where the job was) and back and the job consisted of three days 12 hr days standing in one spot in blistering heat, no exaggeration I got blisters on the tops of my ears from standing in the sun all day all for the princely sum of 500$, calculating expenses I was paid less than minimum wage and that's the same kind of job you can expect FullSail to hook you up with when you graduate. Just think about the economics of it all, how many people work in the film industry and compare that number to FullSail graduates, a class of about 100 every month. I've talked to my friends even the smartest ones the most diligent and well meaning the ones's who directed and wrote their final projects in 35 mm and 16 mm boast jobs like film editor for a local business or tech director and even working electric for one of the most popular shows on television at the moment and I KNOW FOR A FACT that YOU DO NOT NEED A DEGREE IN FILM to get these jobs, all you need is work experience and or a reel. Guys, Full Sail is not technically a scam but it is a waste of your time and money and not just 20 dollars or 200 or even 2k its about 100 thousand dollars, to a kid without a strong concept of money that may not have much of an effect but as an adult in his late 20's with unshakable student loans, (not even bankruptcy can eliminate student loans) I can assure you its nothing to take lightly. It's a crying shame to see what's being done in the name of "education". Full Sail is fleecing students one graduating class at a time. They're overcharging you for a shoddy education, and quite frankly the film world isn't that complicated to begin with, so no, don't go, don't get trapped and don't let them take advantage of your naiveté. I'm just one person and this is my opinion, however I'm not alone in my thinking and everything I've just shared is honest and done with the intent to help out young naive kids passionate about their dreams, also the numbers aren't made up or exaggerated and my conclusions are objective and rational. If you got this far I'd like to thank you and implore you to not stop reading, fact check me, do your own research, make your own conclusions!

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