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Film School Confidential: The Insider's Guide To Film Schools Paperback – April 3, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399533192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399533198
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thinking about going to film school? Don't send in that application just yet--first read this book, the definitive guide to film schools around the country. The 26 institutions reviewed are rated according to the quality and accessibility of their equipment, the kind of films their faculty encourage students to make ("industry," "independent," "experimental"), and cost. The authors discuss the schools' programs in detail, advise readers about whether film school is the right choice for them, provide tips about getting into the programs, and describe what to expect once film school begins. Karin Kelly and Tom Edgar's prose is spirited and their entertaining introductory portrait of the state of American filmmaking will interest anyone who cares about contemporary movies. An informative and amusing glossary closes the volume, which explains why no one should try to lift an ARRI kit by the handle, why "experimental film" is just another word for "cinematic masturbation," and why no good movie script ever contained the line, "you just don't get it, do you?" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tom Edgar lives in Los Angeles where he writes, makes films, and builds websites. Karin Kelly lives in Philadephia with her husband and son. She writes and makes movies and teaches film students at Drexel University how to do the same. Both authors are graduates of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts/Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.

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Customer Reviews

During my senior year of college, while I was applying to film school, this book proved quite helpful.
S. Smith
The book also will try to open your eyes to the fact that film school is not for everyone and you might not even need it (because it's a huge investment).
Daniel Hamvas
Apart from being an opinionated reference on politics and bad experiences, I found it to be boring and non insightful.
Julio Giron

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Southern on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
In "Film School Confidential," Karin Kelly and Tom Edgar offer a decent exploration of 26 of the most highly-regarded graduate school film programs in the country. All of the basic information is here -- admission deadlines, enrollment, program requirements -- and yet, the book carries a few serious flaws. First, Kelly and Edgar restrict their focus to graduate programs, but ignore undergrad programs in film. Also, the authors focus solely on film production and directing programs, yet ignore the many other aspects of film taught at these universities, especially screenwriting. (Some of the reviews even fail to mention that the schools provide other options within the film major, leading the less cautious, non-production oriented reader to dismiss those schools as an option.) Edgar and Kelly's laid-back, ultra-personal writing style and narratives about their individual film experiences may appeal to some, yet I find the style much too informal and the tone ultimately discouraging. But it may be a matter of taste. Those who seek a more formal and comprehensive guide to film schools should take a look at Ernest Pintoff's "The Complete Guide to American Film Schools."
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. Smith on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
During my senior year of college, while I was applying to film school, this book proved quite helpful. Very little is written about graduate programs in the arts (at least that I've been able to find) compared to Law, Medical or MBA programs and, beyond the Internet, word of mouth and professors, it is good to have an additional source to consult (especially one written by two MFA film grads from NYU!)
So far, I have found Film School Confidential to present a fair, accurate and honest portrait of what I have expereinced. The authors want to make sure a potential MFA candidate in film knows what he/she is signing up for. I did not find this book to be discouraging: just realistic.
Schools are reviewed in depth. One thing I found to be of particular help was the discussion of how production staff roles were determined. In some schools, a student might never get a chance to direct, even if that student came to study directing; whereas in other programs, students rotate through postions and have the opportunity to learn to edit, write, direct, produce, etc,... I found that the literature a school would make available to its applicants did not cover this information. It was only when I specifically asked the question to the film department itself that I determined how they approached this VERY important aspect of a film student's education.
For me, learning to ask that question alone was worth the price of the book. But, in fact, there really is a lot more - especially with regard to the mission and philosophy of each school (yes, they really are quite different.) If you are seriously considering getting your MFA in film, this book is an excellent resource.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hamvas on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you consider going to film school, this book can save you a lot of head-aches. It helped me a lot in narrowing down my cirle, and it damn sure gave me new perspectives on how to look, and what to look for, and how to approach my search for the right place. The best thing is that it doesn't only give you sheer facts and dry data -- it will also include personal info that schools will never tell you, because A) they don't want you to know; B) it is not related to education, therefore they don't think it is important (I know now, as a senior in college, how important every detail can be -- trust me, that's all there is to it: details). The book also will try to open your eyes to the fact that film school is not for everyone and you might not even need it (because it's a huge investment). It is a nice resource for film-related "stuff" (competitions, awards) as well, and it will introduce you to what is AFTER you completed school. But most importantly, it will be able to hook you up with the right school, if you ever really gave a thought to what and how you imagine in your film-career (and if you haven't, it might very well open your eyes. Just don't be like: "I don't care", 'cause that will not get you far anyway).
The authors also have a friendly style of writing and addressing matters, so you will feel like talking to film students instead of a machine spitting out preprogrammed info and facts, that the SCHOOLS as institutions would want you to know about.
I wish there was a newer edition, though. But their web-site is updated, so you can look there... and after reading this, you can pretty much go into the extra effort, and make a couple of calls to find out about things for yourself. Trust me!
Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
The writing in this book is smooth and accessible, and the authors did gather a great deal of information about some things. But not enough, or even very much that is consistently applicable. All they said about undergrad programs was that you should not attend them. Well...a lot of people do though, and those high school students should not be told that their decision was wrong.
They assume that individuals attend film school with the sole intent of a) being a director and b) directing features. There are four other traditional areas that aspiring artists choose to specialize in, and some schools are better for things such as editing, cinematography, design, and sound than others are. They also don't mention that a film degree has value beyond a film career -- one can enter advertising and other creative fields with it too. In addition, there is not enough coverage of other institutions. Los Angeles City College, an under-appreciated community college has the most graduates working in the industy, more than USC and UCLA combined. So what if they don't have an MFA program? Looks like the place gets the job done.
I advise film school potentials to read through the few interesting parts in a bookstore, instead of buying it.
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