There's no doubt that college is an important step in MOST people's filmmaking career. It's where you meet your lifelong friends who love filmmaking just as much as you do!
On top of all that, you have to find the right school for you. Look at the curriculum and make sure they have the classes you want to take before applying. Don't just apply to any random name hoping for acceptance.
For instance, if you want to be a director, make sure that have directing classes available.
Lastly, before we get started with this list, I'm going to throw a zinger in here to catch all of y'all off guard. Get ready!
10. Savannah College of Art & Design
Yes, this is my alma mater.
I got my master's degree from SCAD back in 2018. I met my wife there, an actor friend who I dearly love, and a few other really talented people.
I'll tell you from experience... this school is not for anyone looking to have their degree handed to them. There is ZERO handholding through the process of getting your degree from here.
They have a high acceptance rate, meaning you'll have a ton of classmates but that's not necessarily a bad thing since the majority of it's students are working in their prospective industries. I know I am.
A big pro of this school is the fact that you'll have many other art majors to collaborate with. Animation, sequential art, and performing arts to name a few. This means you'll always be able to find a storyboard artist, actors, and people to animate things for you which is AWESOME.
They also have top notch facilities and yes, ARRI Alexas and RED's.
9. University of Texas (Austin)
I've heard from a few friends that UT Austin is an excellent film school!
It also doesn't hurt that Austin is home to one of the biggest baddest film festivals out there SXSW, so I'm sure there are partnerships going on there that are sure to benefit the students big time.
They claim to educate student for whatever they want to do in film and their website reflects that!
"And at the heart of Austin, seeding both the high-tech industry and vibrant arts community, is The University of Texas. It’s where you can write / direct / edit / shoot / produce the next Hollywood blockbuster, original television pilot, or small indie gem;"
They're also exploring cutting edge filmmaking like 360 stuff and has one of the biggest green screens in the world!
8. Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts
Another Alma Mater of mine, Florida State University is an affordable option for those seeking a top notch filmmaking education!
It's important to note here that I went to Florida State University School of Theatre, and I will get into that a little more in a minute.
FSU's film school is notes as being one of the strongest up-and-coming film schools in the nation, making a ton of top 20 lists all over the internet. It's where the extremely talented Barry Jenkins got his education and he won an Oscar for Best Picture for his film Moonlight.
I've also had a few friends who've gone to FSU's film school and they have nothing bad to say! They're also working in their prospective industries (3D compositing, editing).
Also, something very important to know is: 92% of graduates work in the film industry within the FIRST YEAR of graduating. That's impressive!
7. Standford University
If you've dreamed of becoming a documentarian... If you LIVE for documentaries... this is the school for you!
Supposedly they have one of the best graduate programs for documentarians in the world.
Documentaries are tough to make so if this school is as good as everyone says it is when it comes to docs, I would highly recommend you giving it a closer look!
Heads up, they only take 8 applicants a year for the documentary MFA. That is wild!
6. Emerson Film & Media Art
Located in Boston MA, this quaint little film school does big things.
This school has a VR lab, multiple production studios, and sound bays. Plus it's located in one of the coolest cities in the United States. Think about the location. You have a cityscape for your student film, then travel an hour out and you can find rolling hills, mountains, small towns, ocean. It has everything except desert.
It's also surprisingly affordable for being located in such a large city.
According to their website they offer "State of the art facilities, distinguished faculty, and flexible curriculum."
5. Chapman University: Dodge College of Film & Media Arts
Honestly, after scanning their website this school looks awesome!
Supposedly the moment you arrive and start classes they throw a camera in your hands and get you filmmaking, which is something I personally wish all film schools would do.
They have a ton of niche programs like Creative Producing, Screenwriting, Film Studies, Screen Acting, and Visual Effects (plus many more).
The university is located in Orange California so you're close to a lot of great landscapes and also Hollywood.
Also check out their student work showcase on their site. Pretty good stuff here y'all!
Ok so now we're getting down to the big dogs that everyone knows about, but keep reading because again, I'm going to throw a zinger in there for you that'll make you think differently about your film education.
We're on to NYU Tisch. This school makes every filmmaking university top 10 list (usually in the top 5) because it's such a powerhouse of a school.
Located in the ever powerful New York City, this school takes it's students to the next level right out of college. How do I know that? Well, plenty of stats on the internet, but also I have good friends who've graduated from NYU Tisch and one of my best friends from high school is working on SNL right now. He even appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit!
It's expensive but worth every penny as everyone knows the name and recognizes it with an incredible education.
Yet another school who's name is synonymous with a top notch filmmaking education, UCLA is a school most filmmakers dream of getting into!
It looks as if they also tie their theatre school in tight with the film school (something I think most universities that have a film and theatre school should do).
This school has something for everyone here. Whether you want to be a director, cinematographer, editor, or screenwriter, they have multiple sub-majors in filmmaking that will allow their students to specialize in anything they want.
It also looks to be surprisingly affordable.
2. AFI: American Film Institute
THE BIG DOG on this page, AFI has produced more famous and successful filmmakers than any other film school.
If you get into this school (it's tough), GO!
Seriously just visit their site and you'll be convinced. Like UCLA, this school has something to offer in every film department. It's more of a conservatory than a school, so they nurture every need of the filmmaker to make them the best they can be.
If you dream of being the big Hollywood filmmaker, this school is the perfect place to start.
Again, it's tough to get in but I believe in you! Give it a try!
1. USC (But hear me out)
USC is the #1 film school in the world. There's absolutely no doubt about it. It's on every list (although it does battle with AFI for this honor) and has turned out some incredible filmmakers.
So, unless this is the first time you've ever googled "best film schools" you already know about this school so I want to provide another option.
Here's the zinger...
Another Option: Go To Theatre School First If You Want To Direct
Yes... I know. This sounds crazy. It's a completely different art form and has nothing to do with cameras. But hear me out...
As I mentioned earlier, I got my bachelors at FSU School of Theatre THEN went to film school for my Master's Degree. This was a choice that changed my life for the better because though theatre and film seem far apart... they really aren't.
In any good theatre school, you will learn how to direct performance. This is something I believe MANY film school completely miss because they're so focused on the technology side of filmmaking.
But learning to direct theatre first allowed me to learn how to properly work with actors, break down scenes into beats, and much more.
Look into this option only if you want to direct. I can testify FSU was amazing for it.