Independent Film Production Career Training in Santa Monica, CA

The Santa Monica, CA, area has about 17 colleges and universities that offer training programs related to independent film production. Get information about the programs and some quick facts for two of these schools to make an informed education decision.

Schools Near Santa Monica, CA, with Independent Film Production Training

Students in or around Santa Monica who are interested in training for independent film production careers may consider production programs at community colleges and 4-year universities in the area. Most of these schools are located outside the Santa Monica city limits. In some cases, programs are focused directly on film production; in others, production courses might be a part of the curricula for cinema studies or related programs. Many programs provide hands-on training opportunities through workshops or internships.

One university and one community college, both near Santa Monica, are highlighted here. Find details about credit requirements and course topics for each type of program. Get statistical information about each school in the table at the bottom of the article.

  • University of California - Los Angeles, located about seven miles northeast of downtown Santa Monica, offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in film production.
  • Students at Los Angeles Valley College can earn a certificate or 2-year degree in film production. The college is situated about 17 miles northeast of Santa Monica's downtown area.

Comparison of Schools

Whether you're considering an undergraduate or graduate program related to independent film production, you should familiarize yourself with all aspects of the schools providing these studies. Below are facts about each school, with statistics and figures reflecting the schools' population, retention rates, tuition, acceptance rates and percent of students receiving financial aid.

University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles Valley College
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 41,845* 18,641*
Campus Setting Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016) $12,763 (in-state)*
$37,471 (out-of-state)*
$1,220 (in-state)*
$7,016 (out-of-state)*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 64%* 81%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 19%* 100% (open admissions policy)*
Retention Rate (2014) 97%* 73%*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (2014) 91%* 21%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California - Los Angeles is located at the center of the nation's film industry and less than five miles from Santa Monica, CA. UCLA is a public research university with over 40,000 students. Independent film production programs are offered through its School of Theater, Film and Television.

Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television

In addition to comprehensive training in film production, undergraduates undertake film history and theory courses. Beginning classes include history of the American motion picture; American television history; history of the European motion picture; and history of African, Asian and Latin American film.

Master of Fine Arts in Production and Directing

Students can develop the skills needed to become independent filmmakers in this program. The first year focuses on the filmmaking process with courses that cover basic background in video, cinematography, sound, editing, the directing of actors and the camera, the organizing of production and short fiction screenwriting. The second-year curriculum emphasizes professional training. In the third and fourth years, students plan and produce a film thesis.

Master of Fine Arts - Producers Program

The program emphasizes the film producer's role as creator and entrepreneur. The curriculum focuses on strategy and development skills such as pitching, negotiation, finance, management and exhibition within the television and feature film industries. A dedicated independent film production class is part of the program, which also allows students to compare large studio productions and independent films.

Los Angeles Valley College

Located in Valley Glen, 12 miles from Santa Monica, Los Angeles Valley College is a 2-year, public community college with nearly 19,000 students. The Media Arts Department oversees the cinema degree and certificate programs.

Certificate in Motion Picture Production

The 33-unit curriculum includes many of the courses offered in the associate degree program, as well as introduction to digital film, developing content and computer applications in media art. The program prepares candidates for a wide range of entry-level crew positions on independent films and other productions.

Associate in Arts in Cinema

The curriculum is designed to give students training that can transfer to various opportunities in the film production industry. The 37-unit program consists of core requirements in the areas of cinematography, film editing, film history and motion picture sound. Several film production workshops and electives are offered.

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools