This article was written by Forster-Thomas
If you’re building your film school portfolio, here are 5 key things to know as you get started.
1. A good portfolio doesn’t require high production value. Sure, you can rent fancy equipment, hire a crew, even get craft services, but none of that will make or break your film. It’s all about showing off what you can do and your innate creativity. The schools can teach you the fancy technology and tools when you’re in. Substance over style.
2. You don’t have to know everything. Technical skills are part of why you’re going to school: You don’t need them as an applicant. Especially as a post-graduate degree candidate, people with many different backgrounds go to film school. And they attend for many different reasons—to produce, to write, to teach—so there is no one-size-fits-all candidate for any of these top programs.
3. You may not know your voice yet, but you want to show that you have something to say. Since you’re not being assessed on technical experience, how are you being assessed? It boils down to the following: Are you someone with something to say? How does this portfolio articulate visual storytelling with a point of view? Know who you are and why you need to express it.
4. When it comes to a personal statement, don’t state the obvious. We know you love movies; tell us something else we can’t learn anywhere else in your application. Your admissions team with thank you.
5. Not all film programs are created equal. Sure, this means their fluctuating ranking, but it literally means that these film programs are all in different schools, with different resources, notable alumni, teaching styles, and campus lifestyles. Columbia Film School requires you to make films on your breaks, since you’ll also be focused on academics during the semester. Other schools, like USC, will have you making films during your semester alongside all your coursework. Remember to take in the culture of the school at large as well as the program you want to be a part of when there.