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How Much Does Film School Cost?


Updated February 23, 2023


If you’re anxious to start your career as a filmmaker, considering the cost of education is often step one. However, this probably isn’t the first question you should be asking.

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Anyone who wants to make movies thinks about film school. It’s inevitable.

But do all successful directors go? No, not really.

Tarantino didn’t attend film school. James Cameron dropped out of college. But conversely, Robert Zemeckis attended USC, Ed Zwick AFI and Kathryn Bigelow was a grad from Columbia University.

So okay, a few strong examples of good education. But how much does film school cost? According to the Hollywood Reporter, it’s not that cheap. Let’s take a look:

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

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

AFI rings in around $59K to $61K.

Columbia University hits at $60K (grad).

UCLA is $28K for in-stater and $31K to $40K for out-of-state.

As you can see, an education in film hits the wallet pretty hard.

My Film School Experience

I moved to LA in 2005. Attended the Los Angeles Film School located on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. The dean of the school wouldn’t allow students to work and attend school because in his mind the school was too intense. And…he was right.

So I had to take out a loan for tuition and living expenses. Sixty-two grand.

In 2023, tuition at LAFS rings in around $33K per year after aid.

But hey, all education is pricey. Who cares? What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that the entertainment industry is unique. Graduating from a film school with honors as a directing major does nothing to get you a job.

Let me say it another way:

The entertainment industry does not care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

Yes, they want you to know the craft. But to land a job as a paid director you’ve gotta do so much more. You need directing credits on IMDb. You need an audience.

Are you thinking this through?

If you spend $62K on one year of education like I did, there’s typically no money left over to produce your own movies after school. And this is a sobering reality that many aspiring filmmakers don’t think about until it’s too late.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Along with my entire class of 2005.

The entertainment industry does not care about your education. Especially if you want to write and direct.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Call up any studio or production company and tell them you just graduated with honors from school X and you want a job. See what they say. If you’re lucky, you’ll be getting coffee and lunches for one of their productions.

And that’s if you’re lucky.

After school I had some low points. Even rented a couch for a month in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment with three other guys already living there. 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 polished and ready to go.

When I called around trying to find work after school, I couldn’t even get beyond the receptionist. The lady at Fox told me they only hire “award winning editors” when I called trying to land an assistant editing position.

“You know we only hire award-winning editors, right?”

Receptionist, 20th Century Fox

So how do you go to school, direct movies, win awards and get IMDb credits if no one will hire you?

This is what Write & Direct is all about.

Write & Direct is cohesive instruction on the craft of filmmaking

The Write & Direct online film school is training like you’ve never seen before. Cohesive instruction on the craft of narrative filmmaking. Step by step guidance from development through post production.

If you’re after a career shooting real estate commercials or wedding videos, this isn’t for you. But if you want 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.

And that’s just the beginning.

If you’re considering the cost of film school, consider Write & Direct. Side step the educational and financial minefields that claim the careers of so many aspiring filmmakers.

Enroll in the film school that will change your future.

Remember: The cost of film school is about much more than the cost of tuition.

I hope to see you on the other side!

Do you want to make movies?

If your answer is yes, Write & Direct is your inciting incident. It's your catalyst in the journey to becoming a filmmaker. There's nothing else quite like it. Enroll today or find out more below:

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