Filmmaking and photography are exacting arts. In what may be a frustrating reality for some, there is no one set of rules or guidelines to guarantee that you will make it as a filmmaker or photographer. The fields are among the most
competitive in the world. What’s very true is that success often comes down to having a solid foundation that a thorough education can provide. Consider going to a traditional university that has a rich program in these arts or going to an art school where you can specialize in your field of choice right away.
When looking for degree programs in film production or photography, it’s important to consider the balance of time spent in the classroom and in the field. You need hands-on experience in order to be offered a job as a photographer in the real world, but you also need a good core curriculum that will help you grow as a person and an artist as well as teach what you need to know in order to make the most out of the practical experience in the medium.
Students can specialize in a variety of things in art school, including:
- General Film Studies
- Film History
- Fine Art Photography
Most degree paths present a variation among schools when it comes to admission standards, and that is especially true for art degrees. Just like there is no one path to success as an artist, there is also no one way to art school admissions. Aspiring photographers and filmmakers need to assess each school on an individual basis to determine how to best approach the admissions process. Film schools tend to be more focused on indicators of talent and past art, but most also require traditional standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT for undergraduate admissions and the GRE for graduate admissions. A minimum GPA is required at most schools, but will vary depending on the school. Liberal arts universities that have a film program tend to have more demanding admissions standards.
Career Opportunities After Earning a Degree in Filmmaking or Photography
The more obvious career paths for a film major is to become a filmmaker, and a lucky few will do just that. Most don't go directly from graduating film school to directing their first feature, though. The typical path of a film school graduate usually involves taking a non-directing job in the film industry or accepting a job in a different field while working on feature-length screenplays. Other professions in film production include working as an assistant director, editor, sound editor, cinematographer, director of photography, actor, stand-in, producer, screenwriter, art director, construction manager, costume designer, and multimedia artist, to name a few.
Graduates from photography schools have even more opportunities to craft their own career. Photographers may start their own business or join an established one, or they may opt to go into a field where they can use their skills like photojournalism.