Are you one of those people who never quite got over the dream of becoming huge in the film industry? It's not a ridiculous thought and you don't have to be lucky to make it. Did you know that there are even college programs designed to help prepare you to not only work but excel in the world of Cinematography? It's true. You could actually go to school to learn the craft that you'll use to become a star.
The majority of these programs give students a chance to experience the industry first-hand, requiring that they make their own short film(s) and often requiring internship hours to be logged in a real studio or back-lot setting. Some programs will require that students choose concentrations within the field, which means you have a chance to go in-depth with your favorite aspects of the movie-making process like Screenwriting, Directing, Filming, Lighting or even Production. The specialized training that you'll receive in these programs, particularly in your area of concentration, will typically help you to find work in areas like film editing, cinematic lighting, camera operation & maintenance and direction with only an undergraduate degree.
Choosing the right school for Cinematography is actually similar to choosing a school for any other program. The first step is learning about which schools have programs designed to help you live up to all of your goals. The next is to narrow down the list some by learning about every school and program's respective reputation and accreditation history. Finally, you should base your decision on what each program offers you that the others don't. Look at things like faculty experience, what kind of internship potential you'll find, job placement networking abilities and how much financial aid everyone offers.
Students learning about various Cinematography programs will find Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Cinema Arts, Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Film & Video Technology with a concentration in cinematography and a Bachelors' Degree in Cinematography. The most technical will be the A.A.S. program, with the others focusing more on the craft itself and dealing with things like cinematic element and film history. Students in Bachelors' programs will obviously receive a more in-depth and well-rounded education, as they will be subjected to not only general education courses but also classes to help develop creative & critical-thinking attributes necessary for film-makers.
Some things should simply not be studied remotely. Cinematography is one of these fields. Students in Cinematography programs rely heavily on the learning they get face to face, as well as being able to ask for help when called upon to complete projects such as mini-films or doing work for local productions. That doesn't even mention the amount of partnership and collaboration students encounter in the field, or the necessary internship hours getting logged in a real studio on a real set.
Students interested in working in Cinematography can begin early on, even before college, by following tips like these:
The job market for Cinematography students can seem somewhat hit-or-miss. A lot of the opportunities students will find comes from hard work above all else, which is why it's important to capitalize on prime internship opportunities and make the most of your time spent with school-owned cameras and editing equipment. Take initiative and go the extra mile to make sure that the portfolio you build yourself is going to be the strongest it possibly can be. The film industry is very competitive and you must always remember that there will always be someone who is willing to do the work that you don't put in.
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