The Value of a Filmmaking Degree

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The right filmmaking degree or certificate sets you apart. With the advent of online streaming services, social media, and other new technologies, film is becoming a bigger part of our lives. It is now easier than ever to watch hundreds of films in various formats and on many kinds of platforms from the comfort of our homes, cars, or mobile devices, and then talk about them with friends and fellow film enthusiasts online.

The result: more aspiring filmmakers with a hunger to become the next great cinematic storyteller. Filmmaking is more than a dream; it’s a discipline, an artform, and a craft. The right filmmaking degree or certificate can help. Becoming a filmmaker requires a great deal of talent, training, and hard work, which is why a dedicated period of study in an intensive, hands-on filmmaking program like those at NYFA can be the first step toward turning the dream of filmmaking into a reality. There must be some reason why industry professionals, people who know what it takes to make it in the film business, send their children to our film school.

Continue reading to learn why graduating from a filmmaking degree or certificate program can be the first step toward pursuing a vital career in one of the most creative industries on the planet — and can help you get a leg up on your competition.

The Right Film Program Puts You Behind The Camera From the Start

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If you’re considering a degree or a course in filmmaking, chances are you’ve already been behind a camera before. Whether you were capturing a special family moment, a high school project, or a short film idea of your own, you discovered the joys and challenges of filmmaking.

Since the only way to become a better filmmaker is by making films, a good film program is designed to give you extensive experience — and will help you learn by doing. NYFA’s filmmaking programs put students behind the camera the very first day of class. We understand that only through hands-on experience can one learn how to master the art and craft of visual storytelling. Thanks to a good balance of hands-on workshops and actual directing instruction, students leave NYFA programs prepared to tell powerful cinematic stories. A film degree or program can leave you with more direct filmmaking experience than you imagined possible in that relatively short, dedicated amount of time.

The Right Film Program Prepares You For Many Career Paths

Graduates with filmmaking degrees or certificates are ready to pursue several different career paths in the industry. One of the most demanding and most longed-for jobs that film students dream of is that of director. Since directors usually have a hand in all aspects of production, aspiring filmmakers need to learn more than just how to handle a camera. Directors need to understand each role in the crew, how the equipment works, and what their team needs in order to succeed on a shoot. Filmmaking students learn leadership, collaboration, and technical skills that are vital in managing or participating in real-world working sets. And even if directing was the original goal, a good program can expose students to new roles and specialties within the field and expand their horizons — and potential careers.

For this reason, NYFA’s acclaimed filmmaking programs offer instruction on the fundamentals of directing, cinematography, editing, and postproduction sound design. There’s also training available in acting, screenwriting, digital video production, and digital editing. This teaches our students the tools they need to function at the professional level not just directors but as filmmakers — whether that means they pursue work as cinematographers, producers, screenwriters, editors, and more.

The Right Film Program Surrounds You With Other Filmmakers

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If there’s one thing that can be said about the filmmaking industry, it’s that it is one of the most collaborative environments out there. There’s a reason why most movies today have lengthy end credits that list the cast and crew responsible for bringing what was once an idea to the big screen. Making films is truly a team effort and depends upon a strong network of capable, passionate professionals who are able to cooperate with each other in service of a bigger story. A filmmaking degree or certificate shows that you’ve had a taste of this process while working with other students, and that you’re ready to contribute and cooperate in the real world.

More importantly, a film program challenges you to learn from both seasoned instructors and other aspiring filmmakers with different preferences and backgrounds. Such an environment can help you develop your own style while trying out unique tools that fellow peers recommend. You may also make connections that become future collaborations long after graduation. Often, filmmaking school is where you begin to build your own professional network. So it’s wise to approach your time in film school with the professionalism you hope to make a part of your lasting reputation.

The Right Filmmaking Program Makes You More Attractive To Employers

As the film industry continues to grow, so does the number of people who want to be a part of it. This means that graduates are facing more competition for jobs than ever before. With only so many positions available and countless applicants, production companies often look at experience to decide which applicants to select.

Experience is exactly what you’ll get at film school, and it comes in the form of all the student projects you work on during your time studying. Our two-year program alone has students write, shoot, direct, and edit more than 11 films, while students working toward a BFA have an entire year to focus on their thesis film production. Being able to walk into an interview with plenty of projects under your belt — and actual footage to show for it — will separate you from the crowd of applicants who don’t have any solid filmmaking experience.

The Right Film Program Lets You Learn From Professionals

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The best film schools offer a faculty of instructors with experience in the filming industry. This allows students to get hands-on training from people who actually know what it’s like to work on the set of today’s biggest movies and shows, and who are still involved and in tune with changing industry trends. There’s nothing more valuable than having a diverse team of instructors ready to pass their knowledge onto others, including common mistakes to avoid, insights from real projects, contacts in the industry, and hard-won expertise.

Students enrolled in NYFA filmmaking programs also gain access to special talks with some of the most luminous icons in the business. Recent visits include award-winning directors like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Seth Rogen, and Doug Liman. Plenty of acclaimed actors and actresses also come as guest speakers to share with students what it’s like working in Hollywood.

Studying at the right film school is not the only way to become a filmmaker, but it is certainly one of the most respected, direct, sure-fire ways to develop your skills and knowledge to the level of a professional. Your filmmaking degree or certificate can become your professional calling card.

How have your filmmaking studies enriched your own creative work and professional goals? Let us know in the comments below!

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