Choosing a course or stream for your higher education is difficult enough, let alone finding the right place to pursue your area of interest. If you are an aspiring film maker who thrives on creativity, innovation and storytelling, it is important that the education you choose in order to learn or hone relevant skills is world-class in every sense of the term.
While several institutes and colleges claim to have great faculties and training facilities, that is a long way from the truth. Most institutions lack on five major fronts, which we will discuss below, which are indispensable when it comes to training students to become well-rounded film makers.
So, how do you differentiate between a great film making institute and a mediocre one? Well, apart from the five essential pointers mentioned below, there are certain fundamental things that you as a student (or parents of a student) should consider.
The goodwill of an educational institution is of great importance, especially when it comes to higher education. If you are looking for a college that offers a degree in film making and related subjects, you would ideally want to enroll only if the said institute is well-known in this sub-domain. For instance, Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are two of the frontrunners in the film making space. Having been around for a long time, these institutes have carved their own niche and emerged as the preferred colleges for aspiring film makers in India.
What is the average churn rate in terms of students who apply for a course in film making at the institute you are looking at? How many students are chosen for the degree program? Numbers can give you a broad overview of how well a college is doing. However, it works both ways. Just because an institute accepts a greater number of students doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good place to study film making. It might mean that they are mass-producing film making students and raking in the profits. On the flip side, just because a college enrolls only a small number of students every year doesn’t necessarily mean that they are focused on quality over quantity. When you look at the churn rate, also make sure that you ask questions about things like the faculty:students ratio – it will tell you a far better story than anything else and give you a good perspective of things.
Past Placement Record
Placements mean a lot in today’s world of cutthroat competition in the job market. Checking the college’s placement record from the recent past can put you at ease and help the decision-making process. After all, even if you are planning to work on your own on a project-to-project basis or as a freelance film maker, it is important that the institute you study at gives you ample opportunities to connect with prospective employers and peers from the industry.
Best Film Making Colleges Vs. Mediocre Institutes
Now that we have covered the basics, it is time to dive into five major factors that differentiate the best film making colleges from relatively mediocre or substandard ones.
1. Course Content and Structure
When you set out to learn film making, most students are unaware of the skills they will need in the real world, once they graduate. You will find that most film making colleges in India focus on very limited aspects of the craft of storytelling, possibly teaching you only the basics of film direction, production and camera handling. In an ideal scenario, you should look at the course content closely in order to gauge the level of depth the program offers. For example, in Seamedu’s degree in film making course, the comprehensiveness of the program cannot be understated. From conceptualization, camera and lighting, production, film research and film editing, to understanding the history of cinema, film genres and equipment – the course covers almost every relevant aspect of film making that you would need to be familiar with.
If the course content and course structure are fantastic but the college doesn’t have experienced faculty to disseminate and deliver all this knowledge, it is of no use. The best film making institutes in India place a lot of emphasis on hiring and retaining teachers, professors and film makers who have gathered abundant experience in the field and are equally adept at training the next generation of aspiring film makers. Ensure that you look at who the faculty members are, what their qualifications are, what projects they have worked on in the past, and what ex-students have to say about them. You can check the college website to know the faculty, or get in touch with the institute’s academic counselor to find out more about them.
3. Infrastructure and Facilities
When it comes to courses in film making, studying in an environment that takes you closest to real projects is of utmost importance. And that calls for world-class facilities that include high-end workstations, state-of-the-art film shooting equipment, well-equipped AV labs, the latest postproduction software, etc. At Seamedu, the film department in every campus is loaded with cutting-edge technology and the college provides students with everything they might possibly need to make their own films during the course.
4. Industry Association
Networking, interacting with industry experts, visiting film studios and leveraging internship opportunities – these things are essential for aspiring film makers. Good institutes ensure that they provide their students with all of the above, helping them learn, network and get a firsthand experience of the film and television industry while they are still learning the art and science of film making. Seamedu, for instance, regularly invites industry professionals to visit the campus and interact with the film students. The college also organizes industrial visits, studio tours and gives students a fair chance to apply for internships at some of the best media houses around the country.
5. Hands-On Training
Simply learning the theoretical aspects of film making won’t get you too far. It is vital that film making students are given a free hand to experiment with film production technology and equipment, work on live projects, create their own films from scratch and get their hands dirty on the hardware and software they are expected to use as film makers. A lot of mediocre film making colleges focus too much on the theory and classroom training, which in turn may equip a student with the ‘knowledge’, but fail to develop practical ‘skills’. Institutes like Seamedu or FTII are known to emphasize on the experiential learning aspect – in fact, Seamedu’s course in film making is structured in such a way that 70% of the program focuses on practical learning or hands-on learning.
So, there you have it. The aforementioned considerations are extremely important while choosing the right film making degree course or film making college for your career aspirations. Seamedu offers degree and diploma courses in film making at its Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chandigarh campuses.