Full Sail University

Well, I asked privately on another forum on this site and didn't get much of a response.

I'm toying with getting a digital cinematography degree with Full Sail University and I'd like some input from fellow members. If you could, would you do it? If not, why?

Skittles for good responses and I'll be 45 years old at start.
 
Well, since you're not just starting out with your life in terms of careers...I'd say no.

I mean, all the money and time you'd spend to get the degree, you can probably learn everything on your own at a much lower cost. Plus, the money spent on college can go towards buying your own equipment.

I don't know if employers would care if you have a degree or not as long as you understand your work and can produce great results.

On the other hand, if you have a day job and know you can't set the time aside on your own to learn and practice, then a set schedule in college might be better. And if you have a lot of extra money then go for it.
 
That's what I'm looking for. Actually, I'm fairly well set up on equipment already and cruise on that for a few more years and was a news photog for 15 years for an ABC affiliate, so I have the camera basics down I suppose. The street cred is what's killing me for artistic jobs. Hence, the dilemma.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
If it's "street cred" you need, then ditch the film school idea and get some experience on the street.
 
The "culture" over at Full Sail has changed over the years. When it first began it was almost exclusively aimed at audio engineering, and was a place where highly experienced engineers would go to take some time off from the high pressure music biz and teach for a while.

Full Sail has transformed into a diploma mill, and a very expensive one at that. It's been the subject of numerous threads on several audio forums, where one of the standard jokes is to call it Full Fail. This is not to say that you cannot get a good education there, but the large number of students and corresponding lack of equipment time has seriously degraded the quality of the experience, and it now requires a huge amount of personal initiative to overcome the drawbacks.
 
The "culture" over at Full Sail has changed over the years. When it first began it was almost exclusively aimed at audio engineering, and was a place where highly experienced engineers would go to take some time off from the high pressure music biz and teach for a while.

Full Sail has transformed into a diploma mill, and a very expensive one at that. It's been the subject of numerous threads on several audio forums, where one of the standard jokes is to call it Full Fail. This is not to say that you cannot get a good education there, but the large number of students and corresponding lack of equipment time has seriously degraded the quality of the experience, and it now requires a huge amount of personal initiative to overcome the drawbacks.

THAT caught my attention. I haven't committed to anything and that issue has to be fully investigated, but Full Sail just hit an iceberg and is taking on water after reading your observations. :(
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
I have had only poor experiences with Full Sail grads here in
Los Angeles. I get the impression they are what Alcove calls
a "diploma mil" (excellent term!) and their grads don't really
come away with much "street cred".

I will no longer hire any one who has recently graduated from
Full Sail. I wait until they have "unlearned" by working on several
shows before I will consider them as a member of my crew. A
few years ago I made a movie in Florida and I specifically told
the local production coordinator I didn't want any crew members
who had recently graduated from FS. She understood and told
me she never does.

Of course getting on set experience is difficult. It's much easier
to pay for a diploma. However, even with a diploma you will then
start at the very bottom to build your experience and expand your
contacts from other students.

I would think that at your age, a couple of years in school and then
a couple of years building your street cred is more difficult. Cut out
the school years (the money spent) and jump right into the difficult
journey of establishing your on set experience and broadening you
professional contacts.

On the other hand, if you feel a degree is important then that is the
right path for you. I'm sure many excellent DP's come out of Full
Sail.
 
Thanks, directorik. This is invaluable information/advice and exactly the reason I put this out there for input. Even though I did a pretty extensive internet search on anything to do with Full Sail, you cut right to the heart of the matter and that is very much appreciated.

Looking at the curriculum, it did cross my mind a few times that I generally already know a lot of this stuff anyway. I learn best by doing/observing and this would translate well to your suggestion of trying to get on a set, meet some folks, doing excellent work while learning, and enjoying the experience.

So now the golden question: how do you crack the nut and get a job on a set?
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
So now the golden question: how do you crack the nut and get a job on a set?

You have 15 years experience as a photographer. You volunteer your
time and skills to shoot stills for local independent films including student
films. You meet people in that community that way.

You have been shooting wedding videos. You volunteer your time and
skills to shoot behind the scenes footage for local independent films
including student films.

You check local listings for crew and contact the DP's of low budget projects
and volunteer your time as a camera assistant.

You check local listings for crew and volunteer to shoot a movie for a
beginning director who needs a DP.

Take the two years you would have spent at Full Sail (spending money)
and work for free on as many projects as you can find. Hell, offer to work
on the movies of Full Sail students. You want to make connections at school?
That's a great way to do that without paying to attend.
 
Then that's what I'll do. Thanks again.

BTW, the news photog gig wasn't stills, but for an ABC affiliate shooting video. Kind of a misleading industry title.
 
I'm a Full Sail film grad.

I would say my course at the school was more of an "experience", than a schooling. I've had hands-on experience with almost every single piece of gear that I've worked with on legit film and video sets, and have acquired the lingo as well from the teachers at school. It's great training to learn the tech side of the industry.

Full Sail is more of a leisurely versed boot camp where you learn the essentials. There are a lot of gaps that need filling in, but if you are thinking of breaking into the biz immediately, it's not the greatest tool. Make some friends that work in the industry and try and learn from them. That's my best advice. I'm in severe debt and struggling pretty hardcore. I've acquired some great knowledge, and wouldn't be anywhere near where I'm at today without my training at the school, but I recommend to venture elsewhere for your training... unless you have $100,000 sitting around to burn.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
As a pro camera operator you have a leg up. You know cameras, you're
steady, you can compose shots quickly. If you are in an area where movies
are being made you should have trouble cracking that nut.

An interesting perspective, Maazer.

So you believe if you had spent the (what is it; two years?)
working on sets you wouldn’t be anywhere near where you are today?
 
If you are in an area where movies
are being made you should have trouble cracking that nut.

I'm in between Orlando and Miami. There are much better places to start out, but many more worse for the endeavor. I can travel, I'm single now.

Locally, I've started to make inquiries to community theater groups to try to start a talent pool that meets on facebook. I'll let you know how that works out. It's all good and it can all be made better.
 
I get several resumes and demo reels every month from kids right out of school looking for a job. From what I get, it would appear that the popular new media schools are giving diplomas to anyone with a check. There are a lot of button pushers, but very, very few people with talent or artistic ability. I may get 2 or 3 reels a year that are good.
I kind of feel bad for these kids. Theres not that many jobs out there in ratio to the number of graduates. I bet 95% of these kids wont have a career related to their field of interest.

If you took a fraction of the money that Full Sail would cost and the time you would spend in class to work on shooting some stuff for a reel, I think you would be ahead of the game.
You can teach anyone to operate software but no diploma will give you talent. If you have the gear, just go do something.

Thats Joe's $.02 anyway.
 
If you really want to slog through it this thread has been running on GearSlutz for five years now.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/moan-zone/72522-full-sail-graduates.html

Wow! I've read some other forums on the subject, too. Although every once in a while you'll come across someone who had a positive experience, it seems their main problem is their admission policy of letting anyone in, and I mean anyone with money.

it seems as if half of their student population couldn't get into a community college remedial skills class, nevermind a four year college. They have just killed their reputation with this policy. No matter how much you polish a turd, it will never be a diamond.
 
CamVader,

You are ALREADY a videographer. Try to find film people like you who want to shoot something. Do you have any ideas that you can shoot yourself? Being a shooter already puts you a few steps closer to being a DP.


-- spinner :cool:
 
CamVader,

You are ALREADY a videographer. Try to find film people like you who want to shoot something. Do you have any ideas that you can shoot yourself? Being a shooter already puts you a few steps closer to being a DP.


-- spinner :cool:

And extremely talented, too. ;):lol:

I'm getting some things set up right now that will , hopefully, be putting actors, writers, and production people together (or at least people aspiring toward those goals).

Have you ever seen those local TV news teases during sweeps that are usually something like "Do you know what is in your drinking water?"

I was they preferred guy to edit those because I shot the scary b-roll and shot the scary bites/reaction bites.
 
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