The San Francisco Chronicle showcases work done by students at the well respected Academy of Art in San Francisco on a recent independent film:
“The academy class came in and provided an unbelievable, impassioned labor force to push a boulder over a mountain,” said “Beasts” director Benh Zeitlin, 29, who shot his feature debut on a shoestring $1.5 million budget, rallying a grassroots collective of friends and supporters.
Mr. Zeitlin is enthusiastic because of the critical acclaim the film is getting and the distribution deal successfully reached with Fox. So how was such a low budget film able to get so much VFX work done?
Under the moniker Studio 400A, the academy’s hands-on Compositing in Production class offers its visual-effects services for free to independent filmmakers.
Ironically The San Francisco Chronicle recently did another article on the Academy of Art that wasn’t so glowing:
Four former recruiters for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco are accusing the private art school of defrauding the government out of millions of dollars in financial aid by using illegal tactics to get students to apply.
There have also been some major national media reports on the Art Institute.
NBC did an investigation on the Art Institute where some students are racking up $145,000 in student loan debt.
PBS’s Frontline did another investigation on the Art Institute and other For-Profit schools as they target recently discharged soldiers to take advantage of GI Bill funds so they can go to school.
Lastly, I posted the video above concerning a potential Full Sail student on whether he should attend the For-Profit School. I want you to listen to John Iadarola’s analysis because it’s spot on. It’s exactly what I’ve suggested to potential VFX students in my interview with Bob Oedy and many times on my blog.
My advice is simple:
- Avoid For-Profit schools.
- Attend a local community college.
- Suppliment your education with online/DVD VFX training videos.
- Transfer to a traditional 4 year university and major in Computer Science
While the For-Profit schools are nice they charge way too much. Community colleges are a cheap and good way to get the first 2 years of school out of the way. In the meantime you can learn VFX at your own pace from home for a fraction of the costs. Finally you can transfer to a traditional 4 year university where you can get a Computer Science degree.
The idea is you will probably have an easier route to get into the industry with a CS background rather than submitting a reel against the pros. Once you are in you can build your relationship with producers and artists. The VFX industry is incredibly small and with the volatility in today’s market driven by international subsidies, you can weather the storm with a CS degree by being able to jump to other IT industries.