Study Film in the US
Have you ever been inspired by a documentary? Has a commercial compelled you to buy something? Did you ever wonder how that explosive special effect was created in your favorite blockbuster hit? The motion picture and video industry is responsible for all of these media. If you’re curious about studying film in the US, finding a film school is no problem with the hundreds of choices available. There are also many jobs available in the film industry, but competition is fierce and hard work is mandatory.
International students who want to study film in the US will find that there are particular schools that take film seriously and give students the opportunity to gain exposure from all angles of the industry.
International students who want to study at a film school will find that many colleges and universities are located in New York and California. The location of these schools is no accident. Both are close to the industry and its key players. Although California is closer to many major film studios, New York City is also aptly placed for beneficial networking. California is home to the American Film Institute Conservatory for Advanced Film and Television Studies, the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and the University of California Los Angeles’s School of Theatre, Film and Television among others. New York City is home to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Syracuse University and the School of Visual Arts. While New York and California are major hotspots for film, there are many programs around the country that give students the opportunity to gain unique exposure in the industry but in a less competitive environment.
There is also a good job outlook for students who want to study film making in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “wage and salary employment in the motion picture and video industries is projected to grow 14 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared with 11 percent growth projected for wage and salary employment in all industries combined.” Job growth is projected due to some key factors. Technology has made an increasing number of different media available. Now movies aren’t just screened at the theatre and on TV. There is an abundance of satellite and cable channels that are expanding and many new websites are created everyday that stream video. Sounds like studying film in the US might not be a bad idea.
So what kind of jobs can you get in the film industry? There are three categories of film production that offer very different occupations. The three categories are pre-production, production and post-production. In the pre-production phase, ideas are sculpted into full-fledged productions. Fundraising, budgeting, set designing, and screenwriting are all parts of pre-production. Jobs in pre-production include producing, screenwriting, casting, art directors, and costume designing. The production phase is pretty self explanatory, it’s the actual creating of the movie, TV show or commercial. Occupations in the production phase include directors, production assistants, sound engineering technicians, boom operators, camera operators, gaffers, multimedia artists, animators and directors of photography. The post-production phase is the process of editing. Jobs in the post-production phase include editors, assistant editors, dubbing editors, sound effects editors, film librarians, advertising and promotional advertisers, and sales representatives. “Many entry-level workers start out by working on documentary, business, educational, industrial, or government films or in the music video industry,” according the BLS.
Many jobs in the film industry, however, are done through freelance or until the project is wrapped up. “In 2008, there were about 361,900 wage and salary jobs in the motion picture and video industries” and “22 percent of workers having part-time schedules and 14 percent having variable schedules,” according to the BLS. Many recent graduates find jobs through “temp agencies,” which can find you entry-level positions. However, these positions can end after just a few days. Competition for jobs in the film industry is great, but if you have the talent, creativity, persistence, and professionalism, you can work your way from the grunt work of a production assistant to a director.