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Chiyeung Lau

MADE IN NY PA program vs Graduate film school?

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Hey guys, I am going to graduate soon from college (STUDENT LOANS!) I was wondering what you guys think about pursuing a masters in cinematography after undergraduate school or jumping straight into the industry either through freelancing or working as a PA.


Doing research I found this PA program, It seems to be funded by the NYC film office.



It seems like an interesting way for someone who has no connections to the film industry to get their foot in. I looked at some of the people who joined and a few of them moved their way up to the camera department or lighting department after the 2 year program was over. I was looking into it as a way to gain experience and earn money and perhaps work my way up to a position in the camera department. It isn't a direct route to becoming a DP but it seems like a good learning experience and you can make money to buy your own gear to go out and shoot your own stuff on the side. With college loan payments, this seems like a viable option


However, CUNY brooklyn seems to be opening up a graduate school for film with notable funding from the city, its relatively cheap and it would allow me to build a reel and make connections. However, this means I will be back in school and not working.


What do you guys think?



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Grad school is a considerable financial undertaking, but well worth it in the end (provided you get into a good program.) But with no income and outstanding student loans from undergrad, that makes things a bit more problematic.


I would venture into the work-world and get yourself established, first. If you make the right connections, earn enough money, etc. you may find that grad school can wait...a long time (I got my B.A. in 1998 and my M.A. in 2013!)


Make some money, pay off the loans and get your gear so you can shoot.

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I got a MFA from NYU which was good for me at the time. School got me out of Ohio and into NYC. After $chool, I started working as a PA. Working on student films did give me some experience but this experience can be had without paying tuition. If you're in the city, just start working IMHO


Good Luck, JT

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