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 these media forms. 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.
Studying Film in the US?
International students who want to study film in the USA will find that there are specialist schools that provide reputable media degrees and give students the opportunity to gain exposure to all areas of the industry. Most of these colleges and universities offering this degree program are located in New York and California, and not by 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. Florida is home to Full Sail University which is located in Winter Park, Florida just outside of Orlando. While New York and California are major hotspots for film studies, there are many programs across the country that give students the opportunity to gain unique exposure to the industry.
How Viable is a Career in Film?
A degree in media provides students with several job opportunities when they graduate. 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 which means 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 every day that stream video.
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 design, and screenwriting are all integral parts of pre-production. Jobs in pre-production include producing, screenwriting, casting, and costume design. The production phase is the actual creating of the movie, TV show or commercial. Occupations in production 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.
Where Will a Media Degree Take You?
Working at the entry level, you will likely start on smaller, lesser-known films and documentaries including educational or government films or commercials. You will need to expand your portfolio by working on almost anything and everything available for you to grow your reputation in the industry.
Many jobs in the film industry are carried out by contract and freelance workers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that around 22% of people working in the film industry had part time schedules, and 14% had variable schedules in 2008. Many recent graduates find jobs through temp agencies. These agencies are set up to support graduates when looking for contract or entry-level work when starting out in the industry. However, these positions often last just a few weeks, or even a few days. Competition for jobs in the film industry is significant. But if you have the talent, creativity, persistence, and direction, you can work your way from the grunt work of a production assistant to a well-established role in the area of the film industry which interests you. Employees in motion picture and video production made an average of $94,355 in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.