Film schools exist to prepare you for the filmmaking world. There are plenty of film schools in California where you can get top quality associates, bachelors, masters’ and doctorate education. Before joining any school, you can do your research on the focus of the program that each school has and how beneficial the program can be for you.
In a film school, students learn about screenwriting, directing, film theory, storyboarding, editing, production design and post production. They will have access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology that will adequately prepare them for a start or advancement in their careers. Depending on your degree, you can be out of a film school in 18 months and make your entry into the professional world.
The Top 10 Best Affordable Film Schools in California
1. University of California Los Angeles.
The School of Theatre, Film and Television at UCLA is recognized all over the world for the quality of its programs and the creative talent of its alumni, faculty and students.
It offers a major, as well as a minor, in Film, Television and Digital Media for students at the undergraduate level.
The unique graduate level programs offered will prepare students for careers as writers, editors, directors, journalists, animators and executives. From a Master of Fine Arts in Animation, a Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies, and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography, to a Master of Arts in Moving Image Archive Studies and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting, there is everything for everyone.
Some of the programs may be completed in as little as two years while others may take up to four years to complete.
2. Biola University.
Biola University features cinema and media arts programs with comprehensive curricula, expert faculty, and a 24-hour state-of-the-art production center. It is located near Los Angeles, allowing many of its students to participate in internships at Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and others.
In addition to internships, students may gain further experience by participating in other programs off campus such as the Japan Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Studies Program and the Biola Sundance.
Students of the Cinema and Media Arts program offered will be prepared to take on professions such as Director, Producer, Screenwriter, News or Entertainment writer and more.
This program will cover the fundamentals of storytelling and creative writing, film production, web design and media streaming, mass communication research and budgeting, casting and set production.
The program comprises 130 credits and can be completed in 4 years. It has the following specialization options: Writing for Film and Television, Production and Media Management.
This program is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
3. University of California, Santa Cruz.
UC Santa Cruz offers a major in Film and Digital Media that allows students to critically analyze the impact of television and film while they themselves engage in creating their own interactive programs in digital media.
Students will polish up their writing skills, learn about the history of film and media all over the world, analyze critique and interpret films, and even gain an in-depth understanding of all the various production stages of the film making process and digital media.
The core curriculum encourages students to explore topics in Film Theory and Criticism, Silent Cinema, the History of Television and more.
This program features concentrations in Production, Critical Studies, and Integrated Critical Practice.
Students at the PhD level may also pursue the PhD program in Film and Digital Media.
4. San Francisco State University.
The School of Cinema at San Francisco State’s College of Liberal and Creative Arts provides programs in cinema and film that focus on critical thinking, social engagement and creative expression.
At the undergraduate level students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema, and a Master of Arts in Cinema, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema, for graduate students. Also available are online certificate programs in Film and Media Studies and Screenwriting.
With these programs, students will receive professional training and understand cinema production, as they learn more about the theory and history of cinema. The MFA program will also teach filmmakers to teach cinema to other college and university students.
Students will also gain the technical knowledge and skill to express themselves creatively through animation, screenwriting or film making, and even perform research on key theories and topics related to film.
5. University of Southern California.
The University of Southern California hosts the Bryan Singer division of Cinema and Media Studies that is well known for providing in-depth education in media.
The Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies that is offered, allows students to study the historical and cultural aspects of traditional and modern media. The Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies for students at the master’s level comprehensively analyses the commercial and artistic contexts of media creation and consumption.
Through the Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production, students will gain an understanding of all aspects of film production while with the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production students will undergo an intense production experience that includes media studies, animation, writing and interactive media.
Students taking the Master of Fine Arts program will polish their skills in any of the following specialties; Producing, Editing, Sound, Production Design, Directing, and Cinematography.
6. University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Department of Film and Media Studies at this university was founded in 1973 and now boasts several high quality film programs.
It offers a Bachelor of Arts degree program in Film and Media Studies that will foster useful and valuable skills in writing and production, theory of film and media texts, research and critical analysis and interpretation of film and media.
The curriculum for this program is uniquely designed to meet the needs of today’s film and entertainment industry. It features the following courses: Acting and Directing, Sound Production, Contemporary Animation, Crew Production, Documentary Production, Introduction to Animation, Editing and Technology among many others.
In order to graduate this program, students are required to maintain a grade point average of at least a 2.0 across all the courses In the major that the student is taking.
7. University of California at Berkeley.
Students of the Bachelor of Arts in Film that is available at this university will be rigorously engaged in the culture of film making. Students will explore core courses that touch on documentaries, a history of silent films, theory of film, and other courses on specific genres of film, new media and national cinemas.
The electives featured by this program will explore screen writing and digital video.
Students are also encouraged to take part in internships and may even receive credit for them.
Graduate students have the option of pursuing a Ph.D. in Film and Media. This program places emphasis on the theory and history of film and media but also includes aspects of digital media production. Courses taken through this program will include Film Theory, Film Historiography, and a Proseminar in film. The program is comprised of 24 units in total.
8. Loyola Mary Mount University.
Loyola Mary Mount University is home to its world-known School of Film and Television that is recognized as being among the best ten film schools in the United States according to The Hollywood Reporter.
It offers programs that explore the following areas at the undergraduate level: The Recording Arts, Production, Animation, Screen Writing, and Film, TV and Media Studies. At the graduate level, students will take programs in Writing and Producing for TV, Writing for the Screen and Film and TV production.
All these programs will prepare both undergraduate and graduate students for professional careers in the creative film industry. With a curriculum that has been carefully developed for today’s film industry, learners will learn to effectively express their ideas and work together to create film and television programs of the highest quality.
Also available at this school are special programs such as The Hollywood Masters, II Cinema Ritrovato and Monday Nights Series that will give students a chance to network and learn from practicing professionals.
9. University of California at Riverside.
The Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production at the University of California – Riverside offers a comprehensive Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Film and Digital Production with a general theater track that focuses on production, performance, direction, design, writing and technology, and history, theory and criticism of theater.
The film making track will equip students with the knowledge and skills required during the preproduction, production and post-production processes of film making. It will also cover aspects of lighting, screenwriting, acting for the camera, production design and editing. Students will also be given the opportunity to develop their own ideas from the script to the screen.
The writing track is designed for students interested in writing for television, film or theater. This program focuses on screenwriting and playwriting.
10. Chapman University.
The Sodaro-Pankey undergraduate School of Media Arts offers bachelor’s programs in Digital Arts, Creative Producing, News and Documentary, Film Production, Television writing and Production, Screen Acting and Screen Writing.
Graduate students may pick from master’s degrees in Film Studies, Documentary Film, Film Production, Film and Television Producing, Screenwriting and Production Design as well as a Master of Fine Arts and a Master of Business Administration in Producing, focusing on Entertainment law.
With all these programs, there is everything for everyone.
Students looking to become film critics or film historians are well suited for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies, while the Bachelor of Fine Arts is designed for students that aspire to learn about directing, editing, cinematography, audio design and production design, so that they can tell their stories through film.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screen Acting will prepare professional actors for the screen as well as the stage.