How Much Does Film School Cost?

Anyone who wants to be a filmmaker thinks about film school. It’s inevitable.

Sure, we’ve all heard the classic tales of Tarantino not attending film school or James Cameron dropping out of college. But there are plenty of other famous directors who did attend film school like Robert Zemeckis (USC), Ed Zwick (AFI) and Kathryn Bigelow (Columbia University) to name just a few.

Columbia University boasts filmmakers such as Kathryn Bigelow, Jennifer Lee & Greg Mottola

But how much does film school cost? According to the Hollywood Reporter, here are just a few:

USC is $55K (undergrad); $33K to $44K (grad) per year

AFI is $59K to $61K

Columbia University is $60K (grad)

UCLA is $28K (in-state), $31K to $40K (out-of-state)

I personally attended the Los Angeles Film School located in Hollywood, CA. Their current yearly tuition rings in around $33K after aid. So…ouch. Just like any career, going to college to study film hits the wallet quite hard. But here’s the thing, and there’s really no getting around it: The entertainment industry doesn’t care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

If you attend a film school and invest your heart and soul into the education, you’re going to hit the streets of Los Angeles with thousands of other wanna-be filmmakers trying to get their break into the industry.

Don’t believe me? Go to LA and hit up the restaurants. Ask your waiter or waitress where they’re from and what they’re doing in LA. I rest my case.

The entertainment industry doesn’t care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

If you want to be successful in the film industry, you must begin writing and directing movies. Besides the experience, you need the credentials. Credits on IMDb.

But think about how much film schools cost! If you’re tabbed out after graduation, you can’t even pay rent and buy gas, let alone fund movies.

I’ve been there. Rented a couch after graduating from film school because that’s all I could afford. I was 30 years old with nothing to my name except a film school education that couldn’t get me a job. It didn’t matter that I was a double major or that I graduated with honors or that my demo reel was all ready to go.

The receptionist at Fox told me they only hire award winning filmmakers. So how do you win awards and get IMDb credits as a writer and director if no one will hire you?

The receptionist at Fox told me they only hire award winning filmmakers. So how do you win awards and get IMDb credits as a writer and director if no one will hire you?

Such is the scary reality for many aspiring creatives. A proper education on the craft of filmmaking is paramount, but if it sets a student back so far financially they have to work a non-industry job to make ends meet, something isn’t working right. And this is the problem that Write&Direct is here to remedy.

Write&Direct is cohesive instruction on the craft of filmmaking

Write&Direct is like nothing you’ve seen before in online education. It is cohesive training on the craft of narrative filmmaking. If you’re after a career shooting real estate commercials or wedding videos, this isn’t for you. But if you aspire to tell stories for the big screen, Write&Direct will teach you how.

You’ll begin with development and work your way through post production in literal, actionable steps. At the end of the training you’ll have a completed film that you can submit to festivals, and even get on IMDb. If you’re considering the cost of film school, consider Write&Direct and side step the educational and financial land mines that claim the careers of so many. Enroll in Write&Direct today!

Remember the cost of film school is about more than just the dollars spent. It’s about the quality of the education and the time path you have to take after graduation.

Which Film School Should You Go To?

So does the school you attend make that much of a difference in your chances at a career in Hollywood?

No. The school you attend has nothing to do with where you’ll end up. Why? Because if there’s one thing the entertainment industry doesn’t care about, it’s your education.

Sure, you’ve gotta know what you’re doing. Yes, you need to network. But how you get to these points is irrelevant. Ask Tarantino who dropped out of high school. Chris Nolan who studied English in college. Or James Cameron who dropped out of college entirely and worked as a truck driver while learning to write.

If there’s one thing the entertainment industry doesn’t care about, it’s your education.

Personally, I did the normal thing and attended film school. Right on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. My directing teacher was a member of the DGA. My sound design teacher worked on Law & Order during the day and taught us at night. I graduated with honors with one of the most polished reels in my class.

Did this land me a job in the industry? Not in the least.

The reality for wanna be writers and directors is that after you put your heart, soul and bank account into film school, there’s nothing waiting for you. Many graduates work odd jobs just to pay rent. Others end up in the industry in a job they never wanted that has nothing to do with directing. Still others call it quits and move back to Iowa.

For me, it was the brutal schedule of a full time job while working on indie film nights and weekends. I was so broke I rented a couch to sleep on. This delayed my filmmaking aspirations significantly.

Directing actors on the set of RECKONING

It took years for me to finally write and direct my own projects. And it took equally long to truly understand the craft of story telling. You see, as educational as film school was, I graduated without understanding the deep truths of telling a story for the big screen. And I’m not a solo case of this.

So back to the question, which film school should you go to?

The answer is simple: One that will truly teach you the craft, and do it in the right way. A school that will assist in networking with other filmmakers. And finally, a school that educates you in the least amount of time possible with little money spent.

Because regardless of where you go to school, you’ll end up the same as everyone else. A film school graduate faced with the daunting task of producing your own projects in order to gain credits as a writer and director.

This is the indisputable fact of the entertainment industry.

Regardless of where you go to school, you’ll end up the same as everyone else. A film school graduate faced with the daunting task of producing your own projects in order to gain credits as a writer and director

So what’s the good news?

You can achieve this with Write & Direct. This is cohesive training that will make you unstoppable as a filmmaker. I’m with you every step of the way, and afterwards. During the training you’ll write and direct your own film with the goal of submitting to film festivals and IMDb. You’ll learn how to do things right from development through pre-production, production and post production.

Playing the role of Director, DP, Sound Mixer and 2nd AC on the film RECKONING

You haven’t seen anything like this. You see, I too am an independent filmmaker, currently wrapping production on a film as this blog post is typed. Back in 2020 while on another movie, the idea of Write & Direct hit me, and I’ve been on the war path ever since.

I know what you need to know to get started as a filmmaker. From start to finish. The goal isn’t to always do everything yourself. But when you’re starting out with limited finances, you simply have to. And beginning directors who don’t know how to do it all are dependent on other people. And this will never get you anywhere quickly.

Write & Direct is the film school you should go to. It could shave years off your pursuit of filmmaking. Trust me, I know what it’s like to do it the “normal” way.

I’m ready to enroll.

I hope to see you on the other side!

Why Film School Is Worth It

All of my friends knew I was that person. The guy who was crazy about movies. Couldn’t stop talking about them. It was common practice for me to watch a movie multiple times in the theater.

The Matrix? Over 15 times.

Maybe this is you? Movies are your life?

And now you want to make them. You wanna be a filmmaker.

“And I dig that about you!” (Jerry Maguire)

I was 26 when the light finally turned on. It happened in my office at work. Out of nowhere something crashed into my head. Not a ceiling tile or light fixture. It was this radical idea:

“I should go to film school.”

Packed up everything and moved to Los Angeles. Just me, an old Honda and BIG dreams.

My life had finally begun!

I attended film school a stone’s throw from major studios.

I attended film school in the heart of Hollywood. My directing teacher was a member of the DGA. Sound design teacher worked full time on Law and Order. My editing teacher even cut Blazing Saddles back in the day.

Needless to say, I learned a lot. And this is why film school is worth it.

But there was a problem.

Something film school didn’t prepare me for.

But there was a problem. Something film school didn’t prepare me for.

When I graduated from film school I was sleeping on an air mattress. Sharing rent with a couple other guys. Around $62K of school debt.

I had one of the most polished reels in my class. Started calling studios before graduation, hoping to land an assistant editor position to just “get in the door” and start working my way up.

I’ll never forget what the receptionist at FOX said to me.

She was like, “You know we only hire award winning editors, right?”

Nope, didn’t know that.

After the hurrah of graduation is over, and everyone tells you how great your thesis project was, you’re on the streets of Los Angeles with no job on the horizon. And a sobering reality sets in.

After the hurrah of graduation is over, you’re on the streets of Los Angeles with no job on the horizon.

Film school teaches a lot about making movies. It doesn’t teach how to find work after school. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to find work in the film industry — Especially if you want to write and direct.

I need this to sink in. If you want to be a filmmaker, you must understand that film school is not the silver bullet you might think it is. If you’re about to sink tens of thousands of dollars on film school, I’m here to suggest that there’s a better way. Film school isn’t worth that kind of money.

Is this the fault of film school?

No, not really. Film schools can’t tell prospective students their odds of success. If they did, film schools would go bankrupt overnight.

The entertainment industry is SATURATED. Film schools are pumping out thousands of wanna-be directors every year.

What’s the solution?

To understand what matters in Hollywood. And guess what? It’s definitely not where you went to school. Hollywood doesn’t care. What they do care about is what you’ve done. About credits on IMDb.

Hollywood doesn’t care about your education. They care about what you’ve done.

If you’re on the path to be a writer and director, you need credits as a writer and director. Which means you must start writing and directing your own movies.

But how do you afford to pay for film school, pay rent and make movies without rich parents?

And there lies the problem.

Many film school graduates end up working jobs not even related to filmmaking. Some land an industry job, only to be stuck for years in a position they never wanted. Others simply give up and move back to the Midwest.

Again, what’s the answer?

Write & Direct.

I’ve been to film school. Worked on studio films and slaved in the trenches of indie filmmaking. Write & Direct takes all of my experience and packs it into a training program that could shave years off your pursuit of becoming a filmmaker.

Write & Direct is hands on training that covers everything from development through post production.

This is cohesive, hands-on training that doesn’t drain your finances.

But it’s about much more than that.

Write & Direct teaches you how to be a story teller for the big screen the right way. You’ll understand more about making a movie than many who spend tens of thousands of dollars on film school. Why? Because film schools have a lot of distractions. And the training is assembled by many instructors with various levels of experience.

Every step of filmmaking is covered with the Write & Direct training.

With Write & Direct I personally take you through development, pre-production, production and post production in literal steps that build on each other in the right way. At the end of the training you’ll have an actual movie you can submit to festivals, and even get on IMDb.

And most importantly? You’ll understand how to do things right instead of nuking years of your life learning things the hard way. And after you’re done with film number one, we’ve just begun. The Write & Direct training continues, along with a community of people like you.

So let’s circle back: Why is film school worth it? Because learning the conventions of filmmaking will shave years off your path to becoming a filmmaker. But your education must be dialed in, and it can’t drain your bank account, because education is only step one.

Write & Direct will get you on the path to becoming a filmmaker. Start today!

I want to be a filmmaker!

P.S. My training is backed by a no questions asked money-back guarantee.

Does film school matter?

Have you heard a similar story before? Maybe you have these same dreams!

You’re crazy about movies and can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than a career making them. So now you’re wondering which film school to attend, and you’re ready to jump in!

That was me all the way.

I put my heart and soul into film school. Even though directing was my goal, I realized early on that nobody was going to hire me to direct anything after school. Decided on a double major in editing and sound design. Graduated with honors and had a polished demo reel ready to hand out.

Things were going to happen!

I learned a lot in film school, but there was a problem. An elephant in the room that we just didn’t see coming.

But something unexpected materialized after graduation. It was this elephant in the room that none of us “dream seekers” really wanted to face, and film school didn’t prepare us for.

What was it? That Hollywood doesn’t care about our education.

I realized my time in film school simply didn’t matter in the film industry. I’ll never forget calling studios hoping to land an assistant editor position. The receptionist at Fox said, “You realize we only hire award winning editors right?” No…not really.

With no jobs on the horizon, I was forced to work in retail just to pay rent. Slept on an air mattress in a condo with two others guys who were also trying to “break in.”

You realize we only hire award winning editors right?

The receptionist at 20th Century Fox

This was sobering. Did film school not matter? This wasn’t how I saw things going.

But something happened — Someone I’d met on a short film contest worked at Universal Pictures. And she got me an editorial PA job on Let’s Go To Prison, a movie directed by Bob Odenkirk.

Whoa…My Hollywood life had finally begun!

Tracey Wadmore-Smith, Kyler Boudreau, Bob Odenkirk
Tracey Wadmore-Smith, Kyler Boudreau and Bob Odenkirk on the set of The Brothers Solomon

On the first film I was hit with the crazy realization that the best thing to do in preparation for life as a PA was to know where all the restaurants and Coffee Beans were located in Hollywood. Film school education not required.

Then on a typical sunny California afternoon I was sitting at my desk in a production office off Melrose, right down the street from Paramount Pictures. I listened as Matt Berenson (producer) and Bob Odenkirk searched for an editor for their next movie, The Brother’s Solomon.

Where were they looking? IMDb.

The fog began to clear — Hollywood only cares about what you’ve done. Who you know matters too, but even with that you still need credentials on IMDb. I made the decision to jump into independent film in order to hold key positions and get credits on IMDb vs spending years working up the PA ladder with no guarantees.

But there was kind of a big problem: Indie film doesn’t pay.

Sure, you land credits on IMDb, but a full time job is required to pay rent, buy food and…oh yeah, pay off school loans.

Film school taught me a lot about filmmaking. It didn’t prepare me for the reality of life after school in the entertainment industry. And this devours the careers of so many people who moved to LA to follow their dreams.

The first thing any aspiring director must do after graduation is begin writing and directing movies. But those who dump $30-60K on their education typically don’t have any resources left to pay rent, let alone fund their films.

Film school taught me a lot about filmmaking, but it didn’t prepare me for the reality of life in the entertainment industry.

So what’s the answer — Does film school matter? Is it worth it?

I think film school is definitely important, but the system is messed up. The entertainment industry is overloaded with people trying to make a living. Studios are guarded citadels, with scores of hopefuls waiting outside the castle walls, hoping for their chance to break in.

Hundreds of people are working for free on any given week just to gain credits on IMDb. And if you won’t work for free? Then get out of the way because there are 100 people in line behind you who will.

Am I trying to say it’s impossible? NO WAY. If you want to make movies, nothing can stop you. Nothing.

But if you don’t approach it right, you could end up as yet another statistic.

You know, that cool person who moved to LA from Ohio to follow their dreams only to crash and burn and move back home at the age of 38.

If you’re serious about making movies, then you need to learn the craft quickly without draining the bank account. And you’ve gotta learn it the right way so you don’t waste time doing it wrong.

And this is precisely what Write&Direct offers aspiring filmmakers.

Write&Direct is hands on, cohesive training that effectively teaches the craft at an affordable price. Students begin in development and move through every phase of making a movie. They complete their first film during training — A film that can be submitted to film festivals, and even put on IMDb!

Filling in as 2nd AC on my film RECKONING shooting in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

I’m a current filmmaker who lives in the trenches of independent film.

It’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do! But it’s hard work, and you have to put in the time to get anywhere. And most of all, you have to truly learn the craft. Too many filmmakers make movies before they even understand the conventions of story telling.

But that’s not gonna be you.

I can teach you things you won’t learn in some film schools. Things that took me years to learn after graduation.

The Write&Direct training could literally shave years off your pursuit of a filmmaking career. It’s backed with a 100% money back guarantee, because once you experience my training it you’ll realize it’s one of the best things you could ever do to take the first step in the entertainment business.

Instead of spending $50K on film school, learn the craft and use your money to buy gear and pay rent while you truly make the magic happen!

Enroll today.

I hope to see you on the other side!

P.S. If you’d like to follow my current production, check out the film RECKONING.

Write & Direct