Film Studies in Los Angeles

Film is the great art form of the twentieth century. No other art form has had the power to speak to, captivate and inspire the entire world as movies have done for the past one hundred years. And film is just in its infancy. As the twenty-first century approaches, opportunities in the entertainment industry abound, and the marriage between visual storytelling and technology continues to push the boundaries of what can be conceived and created in moving image art. The American entertainment community has always set the benchmark for creativity and achievement in this powerful art form.

Film Studies in Los Angeles


Prior to the 1960s, the Hollywood Studios educated young filmmakers through an apprenticeship and journeyman system. As studios could no longer afford to train up-and-coming filmmakers, film schools had to take on the responsibility for training the next generation of filmmakers. Now with the rapidly evolving world of the moving image, astounding advances in technology are revolutionizing filmmaking. For example, individual film frames are being painted digitally to present seamless illusions of sinking ocean liners, skyscraper tall lizards and giant insect soldiers. The top film schools in Los Angeles respond to this changing entertainment industry and have access to its equipment, technology and talent.

In response to this digital revolution, a proliferation of training centers and new programs have recently appeared in and around Hollywood. The AFI (American Film Institute), UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), USC (University of Southern California), Video Symphony, Gnomon and AFOC (the Abram Friedman Occupational Center) all offer digital media courses for film and video.

Accredited universities such as UCLA and the USC provide students with bachelor and graduate studies in history and theory, as well as creative and technical aspects, of both film and television. CalArts offers degree programs that encourage students to approach digital media from an aesthetic and experimental perspective, without focusing on the commercial side of digital media and filmmaking.

An institute such as the AFI may offer a Conservatory approach which simulates, as closely as possible, production in the real world of filmmaking. Under the mentorship of respected Hollywood filmmakers, Fellows may collaborate as directors, cinematographers, digital artists, editors, producers, and production designers to complete at least three short narrative films each during the course of study. The AFI has established the first ever Master of Arts in Digital Media, where digital artists are full collaborative partners in production, creating title sequences and special effects for the Conservatory’s actual film projects.

UCLA Extension, AFI’s Professional Training Division, Video Symphony, DHIMA, Gnomon and AFOC offer non-degree digital media/tools training programs. At these centers, students learn how to use specific imaging software packages on various hardware platforms. These training centers are frequented by novices who want to take their first ride on a computer, as well as the most seasoned professionals who are upgrading their skills.

Regardless of where you choose to study digital media in Los Angeles, you will discover that most of your teachers are working professionals, a unique and rewarding aspect of studying in a region which is populated with talented filmmakers. Whether you are looking for a scholarly, aesthetic or professional approach to the study of digital media, Los Angeles has the appropriate training for you. The best school will provide the environment and tools necessary to allow your creativity and skills to flourish. It will be the place where you will find your vision and learn to give it full expression.

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