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Colleges for Aspiring Cinema Editors: How to Choose

Cinema editors combine technical skill with artistic insight to create a seamless story from raw footage. They work with teams of sound editors and assistant editors, as well as directors, using their technical skills to capture the mood of a film. Typically, a film editor builds a portfolio of work by completing undergraduate and possibly graduate studies in film-making, with a concentration on film post-production.

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Many prospective cinema editors are attracted to film schools located in the dual meccas of film-making, Los Angeles and New York City. These locations can benefit students by providing accessible internship experiences with production studios and attracting outstanding faculty and guest lecturers with industry experience in the student's particular area of interest; recognized directors, cinematographers, screenwriters and editors may make appearances.

10 Schools with Film Production Programs

Film production programs are offered at these institutions.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $6,368 In-state Undergraduate; $6,916 In-state Graduate
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $6,507 In-state Undergraduate; $9,684 In-state Graduate
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $15,188 In-state Undergraduate; $15,354 In-state Graduate
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $47,750 Undergraduate; $38,592 Graduate
Ohio University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,037 In-state Undergraduate; $27,365 Out-of-state Undergraduate
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,952 In-state Undergraduate; $31,598 Out-of-state Undergraduate
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $8,104 In-state Undergraduate; $8,396 In-state Graduate
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $50,277 Undergraduate; $39,984 Graduate
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $48,791 Undergraduate; $31,239 Graduate
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $43,318 In-state Undergraduate; $33,312 In-state Graduate

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Important considerations:

  • While Los Angeles and New York City by far claim the most prestige, other renowned film schools exist around the country, whose locations may better fit a student's needs or interests.
  • Some schools have top-of-the-line production and post-production spaces to replicate a Hollywood studio.
  • Look for a program that allows students to create multiple projects across all roles of production.
  • Curriculum should build a student's portfolio and begin to allow specialization toward the end of a program.

Film School Program Overviews

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film-Making

Undergraduate programs for prospective cinema editors typically begin with taking courses and completing film projects that require them to play many roles in the film-making process. As students advance, they can specialize in a certain area.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film-Making

MFA film students develop expertise through intensive work on multiple increasingly complex projects, whether their chosen genre is narrative or documentary film-making. Some film schools offer specialization tracks for those who want to hone their craft. Quality graduate programs attract recognized film-makers as guest lecturers and seminar leaders, which can increase the amount of professional feedback students receive. Programs may last two or three years. The final year of the program involves an extensive thesis production in collaboration with other film students.

Film production studies can be pursued at graduate and undergraduate levels at a number of colleges and universities throughout the country. Students may opt to pursue studies in locations with notable film industry presence, such as New York or Los Angeles, or may consider cost and course options when choosing a program.

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