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I just toured Columbia College Chicago and was considering finishing a BA in Cinematography there. I was wondering if it's worth it to go through their program or just save the money. It seems like they have a lot of internship/networking opportunities, especially through their alumni. Any thoughts on the school?

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My friend is in their Cinematography program and he really likes it

My other friend was in the program(he wants to direct tho) and he hated it to the point of dropping out after his first semester and is freelancing.


The down side is that I hear you don't get to use the "good gear" until junior/senior year - which for me is part of appeal of school - access to gear.


But you will go through school, have a great time, and once your out, you will start as a PA mostlikely doing what ever

I would say get on pro gigs while in school, so you have some real world experience.


You will be successful because of the connections you make.

I recommend getting on as many sets as possible, starting in G&E and learning how larger professional productions work, and personally I would consider LA schools as well - so many great opportunities/connections in LA!


What did you end up choosing?

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Thanks a lot Chaz, I got in and haven't fully committed yet, but I'm most likely going to. Luckily for me, the junior college I'm currently at in Minneapolis has a good relationship with them and I'll most likely be able to come in as a junior, so I'm crossing my fingers I'll get to jump right onto the cool equipment sooner rather than later (especially since my current school has much of the same stuff, just in smaller portions). The way I see it, it seems like the best way to push myself into a bigger city and hopefully move on to a place like LA shortly after. I read up on a few school and they didn't seem to have any programs quite as focused on cinematography as Columbia's, plus from people I've talked to and things I've read online, it seems like the cine program is one of the best parts of the school's film department.

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They presented a short film I made to their students as a Columbia-produced-project, which was a lie. I was never a student at that school. SO... there's that.


Otherwise, I think they offer some good equipment and instruction, but the most important thing about film school is making friends that you'll keep for many years. You'll see filmmakers rise above you in their career, but you'll maintain an honest friendship with them because you were honest friends before they made their mark. Nothing beats having honest friends in a very dishonest career.

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I just graduated Columbia with a concentration in Cinematography. The program is very intense, but the faculty instruction is fantastic and your opportunities to get on set are numerous. Since you are entering as a junior I would suggest starting your Cinematography Concentrated courses immediately so you can get the most out of your time in college. You can get some serious experience and great looking footage of your own if you carefully plan your courses. If you decide to enroll and have any questions about what courses to take or which instructors to talk to(guidance/advising from CINEMATOGRAPHY faculty, not your college advisor, is essential for transfer students) please don't hesitate to message me. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have or refer you to the proper people to make sure you get the most out of your time at Columbia.


- Ian

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