Working World

February 2017

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12 February, 2017 l Working World l FEATURED ARTICLE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, NORTHRIDGE Tuition: $6,542 undergraduate; $7,786 graduate (in-state) CSUN-ites write, direct, shoot, edit and produce TV shows and films as well as hold down executive positions — like Intu- ition Productions' Keri Selig, and Screen Gems' Glenn Gainor. And pros such as Robert Townsend, James Burrows, Dar- ren Star and Robin Swicord have spoken at the school. Director and alumnus Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality) has served as art- ist-in-residence and continues to advise all senior project film directors. The school has its own film series, CSUN Cinematheque, and holds classes on nearby studio lots. "Our undergrads create productions that compete success- fully with graduate-level work done by students at the well-known film schools," says Jon Stahl, chair of the CTVA depart- ment. "We've been offering a screenwriting MA for years, and now we're offering a terminal degree at the Cal State price point," says Stahl. "We often refer to our- selves as 'the people's film school.'" Notable Alumni: Screenwriter Dale Laun- er, Joan Chen, directors Paul Hunter and Darren Grant ART CENTER COLLEGE OF DESIGN, PASADENA Tuition: $19,365 (undergrad); $20,266 (grad) This small Southern California school is best known for turning out top-flight commercial directors, but its alumni in- clude some big-name Hollywood filmmak- ers, such as Michael Bay (MFA, '88) and Zack Snyder (MFA, '89). "I was in London studying to be a painter, thinking about trying something else, when my dad sent me catalogs for film schools," says Snyder. "The Art Center was by far the best-looking. But the school encouraged a real-world attitude. They had a course called The Psychology of Success, which taught, 'If you have a job, you're going to lose it.' That's what I'm talking about!" Notable Alumni: Cinematographer Larry Fong, director Tarsem Singh CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS Tuition: $43,400 You don't have to go to USC to have James Franco as a teacher. This fall, the actor returns to CalArts' Va- lencia campus for his fourth One Act to Cinematic Event, a class in which students will adapt Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie into a live multimedia perfor- mance. CalArts — founded in 1961 by Walt Dis- ney — is most famous for producing A-list animators (John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt's company, studied here). But even filmmakers who prefer live action can learn a lot at CalArts. "When I was there in the 1980s, it reminded me of the high school in Fame," says Wolverine director James Mangold ('85). "There was a kind of electric energy."Notable Alumni: Frozen co-director Chris Buck, Tim Burton, Big Hero 6 director Don Hall, Inside Out director Pete Docter UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES Tuition: $15,131 (in-state undergrad); $15,662 (MA); $25,196 (MFA); $15,308 (Ph.D.) While USC is known for a pragmatic approach to teaching — encouraging students to specialize — UCLA is a more free-range campus, immersing students in every aspect of filmmaking, from light- ing to sound. Lately, UCLA has been focusing more on socially active filmmaking. This year, it sent a graduate student on the Interna- tional Antarctic Expedition to shoot a doc on climate change. In November, it inaugurated UCLA's Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertain- ment, which — with a $10 million endow- ment from Participant Media's Jeff Skoll — will conduct research on socially mind- ed media. Notable Alumni: Jack Black, David Koepp, Mike Medavoy, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Darren Star AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE Tuition: $47,030 (first year); $58,216 (sec- ond year) Years of improvements to the 8-acre enclave overlooking Hollywood — includ- ing renovations to the library and screen- ing room — finally are complete. And the new dean, former German Film and Tele- vision Academy director Jan Schuette, already has made one big change: For the first time, this year's incoming class in the directors program — 28 students in total — includes more females than males. As with USC, one of AFI's big draws al- ways has been its proximity to the indus- try, with local talent driving up the hill for guest lectures (in February, Bennett Miller held a directing workshop). But AFI's tra- dition of "narrative workshops," during which students sit silently as their class- mates tear their film projects to shreds, L.A. Film Schools

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