Should I go to film school? If so, which one?

This is the fourth in my carefully-planned trilogy of articles about film schools.  I have collected some statistics and links to help wannabe film students work out “Should I go to film school?”. I’m also proud to launch FindAFilmSchool.com, which is an entirely free database of the film schools and courses I found while carrying out this research.

What current students think

Unistats is a government-backed organisation which provides a standardised scoring system for Higher Education courses in the UK.  They survey students to measure factors such as student satisfaction and employment after graduation. Unistats only publishes information for courses when they feel they have enough student responses, and they only cover courses on the UCAS admissions system.  Therefore, out of the 537 courses across 145 educational …

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The opinions of UK film students

A few years ago I wrote a piece about the big increase in film students in the UK, showing how the number of UK film students grew by 240% between 2004 and 2012.  Not only is the number of film students increasing, there is more of a focus towards practical film courses.  Production-based courses rose by 589% 2004-12, meaning that by 2012 17% of the approximately 5,500 film students in the UK were studying ‘Film Production’ (as opposed to ‘Film Studies’).

In the third installment of my film school study, I am giving voice to this growing cohort of film students.  I surveyed 317 film students past and present and asked them an array of questions about their course, their school and their experiences. In summary…

  • Film students seem to really …
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The content of courses at UK film schools

Today I am sharing the second part of an investigation I performed into UK film schools and courses.  Part one last week looked at the number of film schools and qualifications on offer and next week I’ll be sharing more of the opinions of UK film students. I looked at all film courses in the UK which last at least a year, feature some element of practical filmmaking and are open to join in 2015. In summary…

  • Film schools charge much higher fees than universities that offer film courses
  • The National Film and Television School (NFTS) charges non-EU students £50,000 for their two-year MA
  • The majority of international film students at UK universities pay between £10,000 and £15,000 a year.
  • There is just one full time Documentary …
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How many film schools are there worldwide?

As regular readers will know, I have a strong interest in film education. In the film industry there are few formal barriers to entry, many paths to a career and strong competition among the large number of new entrants. This creates a much more muddy situation when it comes to vocalising education than is the case in other professions, such as in the legal profession. The debate about the efficacy of film schools is as old as celluloid and is not one I will be addressing today. Instead, I will be looking at the number and nature of film schools and courses available to students in 2015. In the coming weeks, I will also be sharing more details of the …

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How to find a job in Film and TV

To many, working in the film and television industry can sound a little nutty. Many job advertisements seem to read… Compliant drone needed to work long hours for low pay under unpleasant conditions. Must be willing to drop everything at short notice in return for no job security, no pension and fewer than one lunch break per day. Must own a car and don’t bother applying unless you know someone who already works here.

And yet there are no shortage of new entrants. The number of media students has increased dramatically in recent years and the UK film industry is employing more people than it has in a very long time, possibly ever. The end result is that most industry professionals get …

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How many jobs are in Shooting People’s Filmmaker bulletin?

This week I took a look at independent filmmaking in the UK, to see what films are being made and what connections filmmakers are looking to form.  To do this, I analysed a year’s worth of jobs on the community site Shooting People.  I have been a member for over a decade and have used them many times to find cast, crew and collaborators. For those who don’t know, Shooting People is a daily email which serves as a bulletin board, news provider and soapbox for filmmakers. It costs £40 a year to subscribe and any member (known as a ‘Shooter’) can post to the bulletins.

I took a year’s worth of their flagship ‘Filmmaker’ bulletin (1st December 2012 to 30 November 2013 …

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Which genre offers the best chance of a career?

Today’s article is a bit more complex than usual but it started with a simple question…

In last week’s article I crunched the numbers on the average number of credits UK writers, producer, director and actors have.  I calculated these based on UK films made since 2003 on over £500,000 and on UK films made since 2008 on under £500,000.  The results were fairly sobering (only about one in five filmmakers manage to make a second feature film) and it led Mustapha to ask me via Twitter:

How many of those filmmakers who didn’t make a second film made dramas? Is there any correlation or is that pattern across the board?- @MKseibati

In summary…

  • The largest number of jobs are within Drama
  • Across all budgets, Horror …
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How many films in an average film career?

Thanks to the BFI, I’ve managed to build a list of all the UK films budgeted at over £500k since 2003 and all the UK films budgeted at under £500k since 2008. That’s 2,737 feature films in total.  I’m starting to crunch the numbers on this large dataset and in the coming weeks I’ll share what I discover.

All the data in this article relates to UK films, although the people aren’t all UK nationals. First up – let’s take a look at how many films each person has been involved with.  In summary…

  • Only 13% of producers of low budget films have subsequently produced a second film
  • Under 3% of directors who have directed a film have gone on to direct two …
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How many film students are there in the UK?

Last week I published figures for the huge growth in the UK Film sector in the last decade. This sparked a number of people to contact me and ask about if this boom is mirrored in the number of people studying film in higher education. The short answer is, kinda. There has certainly been a massive increase in film students in the last eight years, however its growth curve is largely uncorrelated to that of jobs within the film industry. I found that…

  • The number of UK film students grew by 240% between 2004 and 2012
  • Of 2012 film students, 17% were studying ‘Film Production’ and 83% ‘Film Studies’
  • Between 2004-12, ‘Film Production’ students grew by 589%
  • More and more ‘media students’ are focusing …
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