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Independent Film Production Career Training in Dallas

Jan 11, 2019

The Dallas area has three colleges within 35 miles of downtown that offer film programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and requirements for these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Dallas Film Schools

Film production degree programs develop students' skills in writing, directing, filming and editing in order to create and produce independent films. This article discusses three schools that are close to downtown Dallas.

  • North Lake College, located 12 miles from the city center, offers an associate's degree in video technology.
  • Southern Methodist University (SMU) is four miles from downtown and offers a four-year degree in film and media arts.
  • Students can earn a Bachelor's of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media at Texas Christian University, located in Fort Worth, about 33 miles from downtown Dallas.

Comparison of Schools

The table below lists information about tuition, enrollment size, type of campus and other information for each of the three schools.

Southern Methodist University North Lake College Texas Christian University
School Type 4-year; private 2-year; public 4-year; private
Total Enrollment (2017) 11,789* 10,953* 10,489*
Campus Setting Large suburb Midsize city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $52,498* $1,770 in-district, $3,330 in-state, $5,220 out-of-state* $44,760*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2017) 79%* 64%* 80%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 49%* N/A - Open admissions 41%*
Retention Rate (2017) 91% full-time* 63% full-time; 46% part-time* 91% full-time, 100% part-time*
Graduation Rate 81%* (2011) 14% (18% transfer-out rate) (2014)* 83% (14% transfer-out rate) (2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Southern Methodist University

The Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University offers programs in art, theatre, communications studies, journalism, film and media arts, music and dance. Students have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film and Media Arts. While the BA and BFA are similar in nature, the BFA requires additional coursework in the major, while the BA allows students more flexibility within the curriculum to pursue a double major or study another discipline.

Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies

The BA in Film and Media Studies is a 122-credit program and requires that students complete 33 credits within the major. Courses cover topics in film and media theory, production, screenwriting, camera work, acting, editing, distribution, film producing and media programming. Students have the option of applying for a thesis project during their senior year. Applications are reviewed by a faculty member, and not all BA students will be able to pursue this opportunity.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Media Studies

Students in the BFA in Film and Media Studies program are required to complete 122 credits. However, 51 of these credits must be within the major. In addition to the BA course offerings, students have the option of pursuing several additional electives that may help them create independent films later in their careers. These courses include nonfiction production, 16mm production, multicam production, cinematography, animation and film directing. All students in the BFA program are required to complete a thesis film during their senior year.

North Lake College

North Lake College is part of the Dallas County Community College District, which offers career and academic programs at the certificate and associate's degree level. The college is the only school in the system to offer film production training. North Lake offers a video technology associate's degree and animation and visual effects certificate for students interested in pursing a career in independent film production.

Associate of Applied Science in Video Technology

The video technology program at North Lake College provides students with the knowledge and training necessary to work in film production. Students learn about the technical and creative aspects of the industry through coursework and field experiences. Courses teach students about scriptwriting, editing, video graphics, lighting, audio production, broadcast engineering, animation and television production. The program also provides students with the chance to learn about the business side of filmmaking.

Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University features a College of Communications that offers a bachelor's degree in film, television and digital media. In addition to Avid-certified training, students also have the opportunity to spend the summer abroad in New Zealand, England or Italy studying film. The department also has a sports broadcasting program that prepares students to produce sporting event broadcasts.

Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media

This 4-year degree program fosters all areas of video and audio production and teaches students about writing, directing and editing. Students gain a critical understanding of film culture and the impact film and media have on society. The curriculum features coursework on cinematography, culture and society, dramatic writing, audio theory, the history of film and special effects.

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