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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study film and television abroad?

Always wanted to be a director? To create a masterpiece that captures a special story in a certain way? Check out our guide on studying film and television abroad

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What is film and television?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know what film and television is. But what is it as an academic subject? Well, in short, it's where budding directors, producers, scriptwriters and and other type of talent needed to get a show up and running start there career path. The realm of film and television is broad, it encompasess equipment, screenplays, lighting, and everything else in between.

While it is not entirely necessary for you to possess a degree in film and television to be successful in the industry, a well-recognised degree will help you get an edge over your peers.

 

Consider dual degrees

Due to the fiercely competitive nature of the film and television industry, it might be a good idea to take dual degree as a way of learning an extra skill set. There are plenty of options for you to choose from:

 

Film studies and media

You can choose to take film and media studies, one of the most popular combinations, where you will be able to make the most of both practical and theoretical learning. Students will be taught how to operate a camera, create a radio or television show and even write news for the media - so it's all very hands on!

 

Other theoretical aspects could be studying the different representations of gender in various countries or analysing the complex relationships that connects the media with the consumerist culture. Some universities offer a specialisation based on the media in a specific country (this is especially useful if you’re planning to work in a certain country after you study).

 

Film studies and modern languages

Another combination is film studies paired with modern languages. No matter the segment of the film industry that you want to pursue a career in, being fluent in another language and possessing an understanding of cultures that are not your own will look good on your resume. English is not the only language used in the film industries. There are so many other thriving and fast-growing film industries, such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and the all of Asia- Japanese, Korean, Chinese, India, Malaysia etc. Many degree programmes today offer students a chance to pursue a semester or year studying abroad, which is the perfect way to break up your studies and get some cultural experience. Given the rapid pace of globalisation and the internationalisation of businesses, having the ability to speak and understand a foreign culture is a valued asset for employers. Furthermore, studying or working abroad will open up networking opportunities and might even result in a job offer!

 

Film studies and philosophy

If you’ve always loved the ideas and theories behind cult films like The Matrix and Blade Runner, then a dual degree in film studies and philosophy might be for you. The degree will explore how films are used to investigate philosophical ideas and analysing them using a philosophical framework.

 

You’ll be engaged by challenging what you understand about the role of cinema and its relationship to concepts such as personal identity, democracy, and reality. Since this particular course has a tendency to veer more to a theoretical focus than other courses, check with the institution if they provide opportunities for you to participate in practical projects and if there is an option for you to take up more film modules. For instance, Full Sail University, offers a Film Bachelor’s Degree that is designed to give students the opportunity to explore the many different positions in film. Students can be  working on 16mm, 35mm and HD cameras one day and preparing budgets, holding cast calls, or creating a storyboard the next.  Students will also be exposed to creating the perfect sound effects, music, and dialogues.

 

Film studies and mathematics or...anything you can think of!

Alternative and unusual combinations like this don't tend to be offered by specialised film schools, but they're definitely something that you can take up in a regular university if you want your skills to stay diverse. Students can pick and choose what majors and minors they want. The possibilities are infinite! You could take film studies with science, history or even psychology.

 

Think about what you want to get out of your university education and what you want to be upon graduation and then proceed to select the majors that would be the most effective in getting your foot through that massive door. You could be in a niche market that hasn’t been discovered yet, or be involved in a consultancy business like Science Film Consulting that help scriptwriters fact-check all of their scientific jargon.

 

Choosing the right degree

With film and television studies, it’s best that you research the highest ranked universities within this field and settle on a location and course that matches your specific interests and strengths. For example, if you love the Asian film industry, then studying in India or Japan or China might be beneficial for your future career. Each film school location will expose you to different types of film and television industries.

 

Teaching and facilities

Due to the highly competitive nature of this industry, it is vital that you select the best teachers and facilities for optimal performance. Practical experience is essential, so look around and seek courses that offer the most in this area- what are the kinds of projects that you can take part in, what kind of equipment will you be given access to etc.

 

A strong faculty boasting experts in their own fields will help you learn as much as you can. One of the ways to find out if a university’s teaching style is the best for you is to request to sit in during one of their classes.

 

Specialised schools

While a dual degree is highly advantageous, specialised schools offer courses that a tailor-made to suit specific needs in the film industry. These schools have courses in animation, special effects, producing, film-making, producing,documentary making, cinematography, directing and all the other aspects of a film and television industry. Film schools offer both short and long term courses as well as degree, diploma and even master programmes and often have good prospects for when you've graduated and are looking for a job as they have strong ties to the industry.

 

Entry requirements for a film and television degree

Prospective students will need good grades from high school or A levels and if you’re interested in an American institution, then they will need to take either the SAT or ACTs courses. Depending on the country that you come from, you might be required to take the IELTS and obtain a minimum score of 6.5.

 

Specialisations

Television/film production

A bachelor’s degree programme will prepare students for careers in producing, directing, and editing broadcast news and other television shows. With experience, graduates can move up the ladder and take on a managerial position at television stations and networks.

 

An ideal degree in television production will include elements of business and management with other important skills such as writing and production design. Students will learn the history, economics, and cultural impact of television.

 

On the other hand, students majoring in film production will be looking at films and study the theories and components that make classic films everlasting. Students will be creating their own short films as part of their assignment and even if you don’t need to, it might be worth making one to have it as part of your portfolio once you graduate.

 

Before declaring television production as a major, students should have completed standard general education courses and prerequisite courses in mass communication and digital technology.

 

As with any major, students have to complete certain mandatory units in order to qualify for a major such as modules in mass communication and digital technology. Degree programmes in television production typically consists of lectures, seminars and practical sessions in studios and production houses. Some common core modules on a typical film and television degree include:

  • Broadcast writing and editing
  • Sound production
  • Cinematography
  • Animation
  • Television and radio announcing
  • Media law and ethics
  • Mass communications
  • Directing for television and camera operation

 

Mass Communications

Slightly different from other film majors, mass communications is geared towards news writing rather than creative storytelling. You will learn how to gather news, the history of newsmaking, how it affects the society and what makes a story newsworthy. Students will be exposed to the different writing styles for newspapers, the web, magazines and TV. Some of the common modules that will be covered include mass media and society, media law, media ethics, and global perspectives in media. To get an idea of what mass communications is all about before making the leap, students can take classes in journalism, theatre and speech to see if this is what they’re looking for.

 

Animation

While quite a few general film and television majors offer animation as a minor, if you truly love drawing both digitally and on paper, then you could consider majoring in this exciting field. Students will be taught filming basics, planning, learning technical equipment, editing software, animation computer software, and script writing.

 

Typical classes in animation will cover 3-D modeling and animation, digital character animation, drawing, history of animation, interactive media, introduction to film and video, sound design, and storyboarding.

 

How much will graduates earn?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics report in May 2015, producer and director jobs are expected to increase 9% from 2014-2024. On average, producers and directors make a median yearly salary of $68,440.

 

Career paths in film and television

A bachelor's degree program in television production can lead to several unique job opportunities in the television and film industry. Some of these include:

  • Production assistant
  • Television writer
  • Director
  • Script editor
  • Production coordinator
  • Film editor

 

Some common career options for film students include directing, producing and cinematography. As with any field, related work experience is highly valued.

Director

As a director, you’ll be involved in every aspect of a film’s production, from the casting, scripting to lighting and the rehearsal.

 

Cinematographer

You will be the one operating cameras when the film or tv show is being recorded. Students are also put in charge of operating machinery that manipulates lighting, depth, and exposure.

 

Cinematographers operate cameras while filming movies. This includes manipulating cameras so they can record action from different angles, using various cameras, including portable or immobile and framing. They can also operate mechanical controls to manipulate lighting, depth, clarity, and exposure.

 

Producer

Producers are concerned with the business matters associated with creating shows. They approve creative and technical decisions, secure funding and choose scripts. Some productions have a team of producers, with each one dedicated to a different task.

 

We hope this has shed some light on the different types of film and tv degrees available and the helped you decide which one would be the best for you.

 

Want to study abroad? Check out the courses available here!

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.