The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled “Financially Hobbled for Life” in which they talk about film school graduates who leave their programs $100K – $300k in debt. Now these were master’s degrees, but this problem impacts graduates at all levels.
It’s. Not. Worth. It.
No one in the film and media industry cares about a fancy degree. They want people who know how to function on set. You can get that experience without going into massive debt. So don’t trade your future for those Film Schools.
We succeed when you succeed. It’s been our driving force for the 20 years we’ve been educating students.
Whether you’re interested in Directing, Cinematography, Screenwriting, Editing, Sound Recording, Producing or VFX. We teach you how to work in every area of the film/television industry, while allowing you to specialize in your preferred path.
If you would like to know more about our school and programs, come check us out in one of our Open Houses.
Jamaal Green, a former DFA student – completed both the first year and advance program in filmmaking. We spoke to him about what he’s working on, and how his experience at the school helped to shape his career in film.
“We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there.”
How has DFA prepared you for life after grad?
“DFA helped me organize as a filmmaker. It helped me to be a self starter and to keep pushing, that was huge. Going there helped me realized that it’s not just going to happen for you and that you have to really push it. DFA really gave us a lot of tools, and how well you did there was up to you. They gave you everything you needed. We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there. The networking was huge. I still keep in contact with a lot of the students that graduated around the time I was there. I’m still do productions with one of my classmates. We have a small production company called MG Cinecraft.“
What are you currently working on?
“My main focus right now is a web series, The concept started when I was still at DFA and web series was kind of a new thing. One of our assignments was to create a web series and so I created something, which back then was called “Chronicles Of A Profiler.” As of now its been revamped and it’s just called “Chronicles Of.” It’s basically an ensemble crime thriller about a bunch of different characters in different locations spread across the region between New York and Philadelphia, and how their lives intersect when total corruption takes over. Everything kicks off when a string of murders that starts happening throughout the tri-state sets of a chain reaction that starts to expose all the things that’s been going on politically and socially in the underbelly for a while.”
What has the response been like to “Chronicles Of?”
We just recently participated in the Winter International Film Awards in New York. We won best web series. It’s been long time, we actually started full production, maybe two years ago, and we’ve been in post production for the last year or so. Finally we took the first episode and entered it into the film festivals. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well we’ve done. We’ve also been in the New Jersey Web Fest, which we did well in, and as a result of how we performed there we got a direct selection into the Apulia Web Fest in Italy in May. We will be showing at the Garden State Film Festival on March 28th and also in the Miami Web Film Festival on May 14th. We’re still waiting to hear back from some others, and we’re just now starting to enter the other episodes as well. We’re very happy with how it came out.
We have eight episodes that are about 15 minutes each and a finale that’s about 45 minutes. So when it’s all together is a two and a half hour long feature. I’ve written enough to do four seasons, depending on how it’s received. The ultimate goal is to flip it into television.
Stayed tuned with Jamaal, MG CineCraft and Chronicles Of here –
Some people are more interested in what goes on behind the scenes than others. In the film industry there are many careers and positions one might strive to achieve. Digital Film Academy based in Manhattan, New York knows what it takes to become a successful expert in multiple aspects of filmmaking including Editing, Cinematography, Lighting, Animation, Sound Production, Visual Effects and more. Digital Film Academy was established in 2001 by film producer and director Patrick DiRenna in the historic Film Center Building in Manhattan. Since that time, the school has turned countless graduates into independent filmmakers or actors with new prestigious careers.
From graduates who starred in blockbuster Marvel films, such as Chadwick Boseman, to several graduates who worked on films commissioned by Netflix, Digital Film Academy has numerous success stories. People interested in film or television can easily work on their production skills through courses at our school. Our institution is known as one of the leading art & design colleges in New York City with a focus on film. People searching for filmmaking classes online can experience and observe our courses in action and make sure it’s the right fit for them before making a commitment. Digital Film Academy has achieved global recognition and was also named ‘Best Film School in NYC’ by Village Voice.
One of the unique advantages of going to Digital Film Academy,
is that you get a head start on your career after graduation, which includes free
lifetime usage of their state-of-the-art video equipment and facilities.
The programs at Digital Film Academy do not put a strain on
students in terms of tuition and the school provides many resources to boost
the new careers of graduates. Courses include Film History, Screenwriting, Directing,
Cinematography, Video Editing, Career and Portfolio Development, Producing, and
Our instructors and students use industry-leading software to train with such as Avid Media Composer, Pro Tools, Adobe Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve, Maya 3D Animation, and Movie Magic. Anyone with an interest in photography or filmmaking can advance their skills easily using Digital Film Academy’s refined curriculum.
Students are taken through hands-on training with the critical
theory and foundation that transforms beginner level film students into professional
filmmakers. The One-Year
Digital Filmmaking Conservatory is a popular course offered by the
university. Digital Film Academy continues to be the innovative force behind
new filmmaking professionals breaking out in the industry.
Despite a six-year age difference, sister and brother Jazmin and Steven Young have always been close. Now, 20 and 26 respectively, that closeness has translated into shared professional passion and career opportunities for both.
One of the challenges of a career in film, according to Jazmin, is finding exactly where you fit. As a little girl, she through of being an actress – but soon realized she didn’t want to be in front of a camera.
This didn’t stop her from wanting to express her creativity, however. She developed an interest in producing music videos while in high school, and when she saw the music video “Ride” with Lana Del Ray, realized that she really wanted to be telling stories in her videos. Her love of cameras grew, and now, her main focus is on editing and camerawork.
Steven likewise started his film career with music. His wide musical background included writing his own songs and producing music, so for him it was natural to develop an interest in audio.
Jazmin was the first of the duo to attend the Digital Film Academy. The DFA opened her eyes to cameras and to a whole new perspective on how to tell a story. It wasn’t long before Steven joined the DFA as well and both their careers began to flourish, starting with the production of short films which they wrote together. The first, a psychological thriller titled Love Jacket, is now in the editing process.
Last summer, they had the opportunity to work together on a Bollywood film being shot in various US locations, Uncommitted. Steven first joined the production as the sound engineer, and recommended Jazmin for camera assistant.
A big pro of working together has been helping to set each other up with such opportunities. People enjoy the sibling teamwork Steven and Jazmin bring to their sets.
The brother-sister pair are now legalizing their own production company, Selective Vision, along with partner Sid Polar. They love the creative process and, in addition to producing work they feel strongly about, want to continue to put music and film together. Music, according to Jazmin, “is like another subplot in a film.”
Of course, the challenge of starting a company is daunting, but if anyone is up for it, it’s these two. Jazmin says that while it’s true that there’s a lot to figure out when starting a business, in the end, figuring it out and moving forward makes you better in your chosen field. She also stressed that, when learning how to start the company, the DFA was hugely helpful. “The DFA helped a lot,” she said. “We’ve learned so much.”
You know the regular school open house drill: sit in a chair with some strangers, hear a few words from a professor about what you would do in his class, maybe hear some success stories about former students…
The DFA is all about getting students working in film – and their open house on Saturday, March 8th from 3-5pm in NYC is no different.
At this totally free event, attendees won’t just get to see the facilities and network with current/former students and professors. They’ll also take part in three hands-on demonstrations:
Directing Demo: Ever dreamed of commanding your own set as a director? Taught by Patrick DiRenna, the President of the DFA, this directing crash course gives attendees the “magic formula to create the perfect shot.” Guests will learn how to set up two different, dramatic SteadyCam shots and will also be taught the primary functions of a director.
ADR (Additional Dialog Recording) Demo: Imagine this: you’ve yelled “Cut!,” you’re bursting with excitement over what you filmed, and you get into editing – only to discover that the sound is a garbled mess. Something went wrong – so now, is your project dead?
Absolutely not, because you can replace that original dialog – if you know what you’re doing! Guy Mor, the DFA Director of Operations and an audio wizard, will show you how to both replace bad audio and record audio for animation… the best part? Attendees can take part in a fun exercise, re-recording audio for famous movie lines such as “Hasta la vista, baby” – and enjoy the results.
Avid Media Composer Demo: Two things are hot right now in the world of film: Avid Media Composer, the most widely-used non-linear editing program for professional film, and the Red camera. (In fact, most DFA grads report being able to easily find work after graduation thanks to their continued free access to the expensive Red camera through the DFA membership program.) In this demo, DFA Equipment/Facilities manager Corey Christian works with both, showing how to load footage from the Red camera into Avid Media Composer and use the software to create a perfect final image.
If you’ve ever considered a career in film, what are you waiting for? Come to the DFA Open House to make connections, learn tricks of the trade, and see if you’re ready to take the next step to “monetize your media!”
Johnny Depp, playing the part of producer-writer-director Ed Wood in Tim Burton’s movie Ed Wood, states at one point in the film that “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.” Unfortunately, Ed Wood, while a very upbeat and positive person, was never considered a serious filmmaker. One reason why he wasn’t taken seriously might be because he really believed that filmmaking was just about the big picture. Of course, serious filmmakers know that filmmaking is all about the tiny details. Thousands and thousands of tiny details. Especially when it comes to editing.
As an editor, it’s important to keep track of every detail of the footage you’re editing; from initially copying and organizing the video and audio clips into properly named folders on your hard drive, to renaming the video and audio clips correctly (by Scene and Take if it’s a scripted program to keeping detailed notes if it’s a reality / non-scripted show). As an example, if you name a video clip Sc_A_Tk_03 and you name your audio clip ScATk03, it’s going to make finding either of those clips (in order to sync them) much more difficult than if you named them exactly the same.
Further, when it comes to syncing your video to your audio clips, you must be very detail-oriented and make sure that you’re syncing them perfectly; you need to make sure that you’re marking your video clips exactly on the slate’s ‘clap’ and that you are marking your audio on that same ‘clap’. Even if one of those marks is ‘off’ by a frame or two, your audio and video will ‘look’ funny – in other words, it will look like the actor is either talking early or late. Again, it’s all in the details, details, details.
And these are just a few of the basic details of editing; of course, once you start to edit your program, music video, or short film, you need to keep very detailed notes about your footage (whether or not certain takes are usable, or if any footage is usable or unusable) along with making sure that the footage is well organized within your NLE (non linear editor). Remember, for an hour-long reality show, about 40-50 hours worth of footage is shot – even more footage is shot for a feature length film. So, if you correctly and properly organize and name all of that footage from the start, it makes editing all of that footage much easier – and much faster – because you’ll be spending less time searching for clips and spending more time assembling your edit.
Even if Ed Wood took detailed notes about his footage and sync’d them properly, it wouldn’t have made him a great filmmaker – an editor can’t turn bad footage into great footage. But, great footage that’s been sync’d improperly or can’t be ‘found’ quickly during the editing process, or has been edited without paying attention to all of the story’s details, might turn a great film into a bad one.
George Lucas once said that a film is never finished, only abandoned. Of course, what he was talking about is that you could spend years upon years writing, shooting, reshooting, editing and finishing a film. But at some point, you have to stop writing, stop shooting and stop editing so you can get your film seen by the public.
This is especially true when it comes to editing; you, as an editor, can spend months upon months editing a film and never be completely happy with it – so, you decide to spend another few months refining the edit. And maybe this extra work has made you a little bit more happy with the edit. But there comes a time when you need to ‘abandon’ the project and call it a day.
But when is the ‘right’ time to stop editing a project?
If you’re in school, maybe it’s because the semester is ending and you need to submit your film in order to get a grade. If you’re working on a project outside of school, maybe the director wants to enter the film into a film festival and the deadline is approaching. Of course, even without these types of deadlines, it’s good to set fake deadlines for yourself. For a 20 minute short film, set a deadline of about 3 to 5 days to have the rough cut done. This time will be spent syncing audio and video, organizing the clips, reviewing all of the footage, taking notes of the footage and creating a rough cut. With this work out of the way, you’ve completed about 80-90% of the job. But now comes the time to refine and finish the rough cut. This is what will take up most of your time – about 3 to 4 weeks. During this time, you’ll be editing the short in lots of different ways, choosing different footage or takes, thinking about music, reviewing the different edits with the director and making changes from her/his notes. A good way to look at the amount of time spent during this period is that the last 10% of the edit takes about 90% of the time.
Once you feel the edit is ‘finished’, show it to a few people who have no idea what the film is about and watch their body language; try and tell when they become bored or uninterested in the story. Then, make any final changes from that feedback.
The important thing to remember is that you’ll always want to make changes to your different edits, but at some point you need to abandon the project and move onto your next project – which, of course, will be a better edit than the previous one.