Getting “In To” The Video Industry

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    • #40590

      What college majors should I be looking at for going into the video production industry. Also, for the broadcast (eg. news production/direction/etc.)

    • #174118


      If you’re looking for academic training for the Film & TV industry, first know the differences.

      Video Production, Film Production and Broadcast Production are not the same things though they may use similar tools and methods. For straight Video Production, you don’t need to go to college to get into it. Off hand you could intern and then apprentice with a production house. You could go to Vocational Schools that offer VP training. You could also go to training seminars held by outfits like the Sony Training Institute, Future Media Concepts and the one’s sponsored by VideoMaker.

      If you choose the college route there are schools that offer majors in Communications and Film Production. Communications programs offer instruction that leans heavily toward the broadcast news (i.e. TV news) production. Depending on where you go you’ll get a mix of instruction in studio and field production intended for mass communication including all of the theory behind it. Most schools put more emphasis on the theory part so your hands on camera and editing work will be minimal.

      Filmschool or Film Departments will give a good mix of production theory and hands on shooting. However, depending on where you go you may not get to make a film but you’ll work on someone else’s flick as your final project. Some schools will require you to make your own film for your final project. A good filmschool/dept. will go deep into the 4 phases of production (pre-production, production, post-production and distribution) and give you a solid understanding of how it works in theory and opportunities to do it in practice by making films.

      Now recognize that if you’re going in as an undergrad, you will have to fulfill your basic academic requirements before you get to shoot an inch of footage. Any accredited school is going to require it so don’t get bent when you show up and they slap a ‘Freshman English’ book in your hand and tell you to write an essay.

      Even when you decide whether you want to go the Communications or the Film route, then you have to decide what you want to do in particular. There is no such thing as a ‘Directing Major’ so get that out of your mind. Now you could have an emphasis in cinematography, broadcast design, etc. so you’ll have to do a ton and a half of research on the schools you’re interested in and find out what they have to offer.

      Okay, now the bad news; If you are interested in filmschools know that they are expensive. Most people who go to school to ‘break into the production biz’ usually want to go to filmschool but opt for a degree in Comm’s because they can’t afford it. I’ve been putting together my own crews since 2002 and everyone who’s worked with me that wanted to go to filmschool went the comm’s route because of the money.

      If you go to school and get into a comm’s major don’t expect to learn how to make movies, they don’t teach that. You’ll learn ‘newsie’ stuff instead, that’s what they teach. If you go to filmschool, you’ll learn about film & television production from the filmmaker’s perspective. So it seems like you’re leaning towards news production so a Communications Degree is where you’re pointing.

    • #174119

      In addition to what Composite spoke of, you could also look around at accredited colleges that offer BA & BFA programs – I did a google seach (BFA & Film) and came up with these (just a couple here – there were 735,000 hits)

      This is not to say that “Film School” will help you – You will still need a lot of dedication and some innate talent for this – school can only help you develop what is already there.

      If you do decide to go that route – whatever your interest is, be it cinematography, editing, directing, etc… just get out there and do it – even before you apply to a school!

      Just my $0.02

    • #174120

      Birdcat’s definitely on point with checking out schools and investigating production on your own prior to going to school. One thing you should do up front is realistically look at what you can afford to pay and how far you’re willing to go (distance wise) to go to school. If you’re in the US, you should look at your home state’s school’s first. Being an in-state student will give you a discount on tuition and fees. If you’re prior military some states waive many college fees for state residents.

      Next, if you find a program that’s out of state you’re going to pay extra fees for being a non-resident. If you’re not commuting, then there’s the whole ‘finding a place to live thing and what will I eat’ thing to deal with. Many schools require underage freshmen to live in dormitories and have meal cards. That can get mighty pricey. If you’re older, until you can find housing off-campus you’ll probably have to live in the dorms. For an older person (22+) living with teenagers out on their own for the first time can be ‘interesting’…. Then on top of that stuff, you’ve got your course fees and materials fees. Starting to get the picture?

      Like so many others, your choice may just break down to what you can afford. However, there are plenty of good programs that won’t put you in the poorhouse forever. And remember, there are always Vocational and Professional Certification Training courses that you may learn more in a shorter time for less money over all.

    • #174121

      Thank you all for your helpful advice. I have a bit of time to make up my mind, and it obviously needs more thought on my part, but this gives me a great step in the right direction. Thank you again for all your help.

    • #174122


      You’re more than welcome. Asking questions before trying to make so momentous a decision is smart as it gets. To add to that list of schools Birdcat mentioned, take a look at:

      It may be out of your price range, but if you’re more interested in the filmmaking side it’s a damn good school with a world-class film department.

      Happy hunting and good luck!

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