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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and the search bar wasn't returning anything (or even loading pages for that matter) on what questions I have, and I wasn't sure where else this thread should go... I'm not very forum-savvy.

I'm a sophomore currently attending Northern Arizona University majoring in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in advertisement. I've been strongly interested in photography since I was in 8th grade, but did not think that majoring in photography would be such a great idea, so it's my minor.. Anyways, my original major was Electronic Media and Film, but the program here at NAU isn't very good in that aspect, and I've read that majoring in film for an undergrad degree isn't really that relevant in the industry anyways.

So my questions are the following; after I get my BA would it be a good move to go somewhere for a masters in cinematography or film, or should I just relocate to a strong "film making city" and begin internships and working on my portfolio (also, how relevant would stills be)?

Now I know that making it big, or even at all, in the film industry is not an easy task, but my ultimate admiration is to become, at least, a respected cinematographer.

The main question I have is; what should I do after my undergrad?

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Welcome, Keenan.


The forum search can be sluggish sometimes.


Your questions are general and not uncommon here. There are many threads in this Student / New Filmmaker forum that discuss the pros and cons of film schools and getting started in Hollywood.


Ultimately you know more about the environments you are most likely to succeed in, the resources you have available, and your aptitude as a photographer.


I recommend you spend some time browsing this forum.

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Hi Keenan.


It sounds like your major is one that will lead you to a job soon after college, while your minor is what you really love. Stick with that game-plan. Hone your eye while you study photography and don't take those courses for granted. Stanley Kubrick got his start in still photography before moving into motion pictures. I still pull out the 35mm SLR. It gives you a great sense of composition amongst other things.


Yes, I would start looking at M.A. & M.F.A. programs no later than your junior year. But you should also start getting experience in filmmaking NOW. Look for student projects you can get involved in or start your own. Make it your business to run into other students who are in the film program and see what you can get involved with. See if you can get involved with non-student productions in your area as well. Degrees are great, but experience and contacts are what really count in this business.


Best of luck! :)

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Start building your portfolio now. Write simple spec commercials and shoot them. Put flyers up around the theatre department. Network with people in the theatre/film/music departments. There is so much untapped talent there. There are theatre students that would love to participate -- especially if you provide them with a hi-res copy of the final product. Also, start writing some shorts and shoot them. I would start there for now.

Edited by Brett Bailey
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Thank you guys for the responses. Definitely taking into account everything that has been said.

Does anyone have any recommendations of good and not insanely places to study for my masters could be? I have family littered all over the east coast, so somewhere in NY could be a possibility, though it is far from my direct family out here in AZ. Another place I was thinking would be somewhere in CA? It's only one state over, 6 hours to SD to be exact.

I'm mainly concerned with my options after I finish my undergrad because I do not see myself thriving with the opportunities to work and build connections in Arizona. Because I've heard how important reputation and professional relationships are in the industry, I'm just not too keen on the idea of staying in Phoenix and attempting to build myself toward the upper level.

Again, thank you guys for the responses thus far, they really help ease my search of info and calm nerves, lol.

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