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The top ten film schools in the world and just how to go about picking film production courses. With this post also comes a downloadable breakdown of the top films schools by country.
My Education Mistakes
Why are you expected to make important life choices at the age of 18. I knew I wanted to be a film director but I had no idea how to pick a university course. I done the research myself, looking at the only two film production courses there were in my local city. I choose the one that was the closest. I choose for convenience.
I figured an education is an education and it doesn’t matter where I study. I stayed living in my parents and travelled 1 hr. every day to study to save money and for ease. My course turned out to be a mistake, yes the buildings were pretty and the university campus looked like they do from the movies but the course was new, the equipment old, and the curriculum far too basic.
I did however get some good things out of my experience. I met some great people, I had a good time spending most nights out until late, and I have been with my boyfriend for almost 9 years (something that may not have happened if I had moved far away).
We make the best decisions we can at the time. Below I have looked at some things to keep in mind when you are thinking of further study in film.
The Top Ten Film Schools in the World
American Film Institute AFI
Beijing Film Academy
University of Southern California
National Film & Television School England
La Femis Paris
California Institute of the Arts CalArts
University of California UCLA
Film & Television School Prague FAMU
New York University
Lodz film school Poland
I have also created a downloadable list of the best film schools by country.
How I choose Them
I am categorizing a film school as a school where film is a priority. However it is best to say that universities that have taken on film courses are not necessarily any worse off than film schools. This is especially true when it comes to film studies and film theory classes. I have searched online through countless lists of best course reviews and came to the conclusion that these are the top 10 film schools in the world.
The student's age is notably higher when attending film schools as opposed to university courses. American film schools seem to have the most money thrown into them although the European film schools such as Poland’s Lodz have students shooting on 35mm.
There is also CILECT - The International Association of Film and Television Schools created in Cannes 1955 which lists the world's major film schools. This could be used as a good indication of what film schools are highly regarded within each country
How To Pick universities with film programs
Student Feedback – if possible can you find any student feedback online or off. Is it possible to get in contact with people who have recently taken the course to get first hand advice. Also try searching through social media, see if anyone is saying good things about their experience.
Teachers – who are the teachers and what is there previous experience. Teachers who excel in their subject, film studies teachers who have written books on the subject and film production teachers who have had practical work experience in the film industry.
Course outline – request a course outline if the university does not not provide one. Get a breakdown of what will you be learning every year, every week, do these subjects interest you.
Equipment – what equipment does the school have, although equipment is not everything, a list of working film equipment could be useful. Also if you are more interested in cinematography finding experience on high quality cameras could be beneficial.
Practical Vs Theory – What is the balance between practical work and theory,most schools have a mix of both but make sure you are getting what you expect from the course.
Practical Things to Consider
Money, and location will play a big factor. For instance studying in London will be beneficial as the majority of film work in the UK does come from London. However the cost of living their can be double that of anywhere else in the UK. Weigh up your options. Also check that the courses are carried out in a language you understand, international courses may be taught in English. Beijing for instance has a programme carried out in English, in which James Cameron is a visiting professor.
Many of the film schools also do short courses for a much lower price. You won't get a degree for attending these but it could be a way of eyeing up an education before taking the big leap into spending 2-3 years at an institution. Check out England's NFTS short courses here - Short Courses this year
Do as much research as you can before making your decision on where to study. Even though I have a degree in film production I am considering further education in the future, it is not something I have completely written off and when I do I will be far more prepared and researched than I was last time.
What was your experience of film education? What advice would you give to someone searching for education now? If you had a good or bad experience please share below.
This is something I learnt in my days of Script Supervision – how to line a film script.
It is a technique to show visually what coverage has been shot for each scene. One day you may find yourself on a film set and see someone drawing wiggly lines on a script, no need to be confused it’s a very simple system that has been used in filmmaking since screenwriting began.
To make things easier I have also made a video here
Why should I know how to line a film script?
Because it is easy! If you’re a Screenwriter, Script Supervisor, Director, Editor or Producer you should know this. Some directors like to line their script during filming so that they know what shots they have filmed in each scene (Ridley Scott does). You don’t need to use it as a director but some directors do like to line their scripts up during filming.
So what do these lines on film scripts mean?
A Straight Perpendicular line on a film script means that coverage for the action it crosses has been shot. That could mean either action or dialogue has been captured on screen. The line begins at the start of a shot and the line ends when the shot ends. In the script example below we see a conversation between Matt and John.
At the top of each line the slate number and the amount of takes are written down. The first line above is slate 23, there were 5 takes for this slate. It is a Close Up of John so the line goes straight through John’s dialogue.
What is the significance of a wiggly line?
Wiggly lines on film scripts indicate action that has been recorded off camera. So in the example above the first line has a wiggly line on Matt’s dialogue because it is a close up of John and only he appeared on camera. The second line is Matt’s close up and so there is a wiggly line through John’s dialogue. These days Lined scripts can also be carried out in digital format. See an example below of a digital lined film script. In this example the green lines are being used to indicate sound files to the editor. The sound files 080 and 009 are wildtracks of the location.
How do lined scripts help the director?
It is hard to remember during a long day on set what you have covered. I have had directors before stand up and announce to the crew that we have finished filming the scene. Only for the Script Supervisor to quickly prompt them that a piece of dialogue has no coverage on camera (we know this because only wiggly lines pass through that dialogue)
If a straight line is not covering a piece of dialogue then you have no coverage of this dialogue on camera. The lines on a script are just a visual way of letting you know what coverage you have per scene.
How do lined scripts help the editor?
The lined script is used by the film editor as a reference to what coverage was shot and to changes made to the script during production. Lined scripts give editors a quick view of all available coverage at a glance, so that he or she can make quick editing decisions without having to sort through all the footage repeatedly.
The Script Supervisor at the end of every day will pass on a Marked Up Script to the editor containing the lined script and any changes to dialogue or action. I have had editors shun the lined script, then beg to see it when a tough edit comes along, it is an easy visual way of getting your head around a scene and what shots are available for the cut.
Does that sum it up?
I hope this sums up the basis of lined screenplays and now you know how to line a film script. Any questions please ask below. There is hardly any writing on this online but I guarantee you will start to see people drawing wiggly lines on scripts now that you know this.
You draw your lines left to right in shooting order.
Red is the standard colour used for a lined script
Sometimes multiply colours are used to indicate different shots i.e. –blue ink for single shots, green ink for cutaways, wild tracks taken by sound etc
If a shot continues to another page an arrow is placed below the line and continues onto the next page.
Lined scripts are also called Marked Up Scripts or MUS.
If you are interested in learning more about film continuity I highly recommend the book Script Supervising and Film Continuity by Pat P. Miller - https://tinyurl.com/ybsgos9f
I have also written an E-book called ‘ Find Work In Film’ which shows you step by step details on how to work in the Film Industry - Find Here
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