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Training in Digital Filmmaking: Career Education Information

Sep 16, 2019

Digital filmmaking training generally cover topics such as screenwriting, production, direction and sound. Continue reading for an overview of the potential degrees, as well as career and salary info for graduates.

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There a few different options for students in digital filmmaking programs. The types of programs and degrees for digital filmmaking are numerous, so it may be helpful to consider what your overall career goal is before deciding on a program. Below are three different career choices that deal with digital filmmaking.

Essential Information

Digital filmmaking programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. An associate's degree in the field qualifies graduates for entry-level positions, such as those of grips or gaffers. A bachelor's or a master's degree in digital filmmaking may provide better employment opportunities, including work in directing, writing and cinematography.

Career Titles Producers and Director Writers and Authors Cinematographers (Camera Operators)
Education Requirements A bachelor's or master's degree in film, acting or cinema studies A bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communications A bachelor's degree in film or broadcasting
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% 0% little to no change 8%
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $71,680 $62,170 $54,570

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

After completing degree programs in digital filmmaking, students might pursue several related career opportunities. They could explore job prospects in directing, writing or cinematography.

Directors

The director interprets scripts in order to create television shows, films or theater productions. They are in charge of managing many aspects of the production process, including scripts and special effects as well as actors, music and choreography. The number of jobs for producers and directors is expected to increase 5% from 2018-2028, according the BLS, which is as fast as the national average for all occupations. Annual median salaries were about $71,680 in May of 2018.

Writers

A writer develops fictitious and non-fictitious content on various topics for magazines, novels and Internet-based publications. Screenwriters craft scripts for feature films and television shows. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for all writers were expected to experience little to no change throughout the 2018-2028 decade. Median annual salaries were $62,170 as of May 2018.

Cinematographers

Cinematographers, or camera operators, are responsible for filming and recording movies, television shows, documentaries, news and other events. The BLS predicted that employment opportunities for camera operators would increase by 8% between 2018 and 2028. Median annual salaries were $54,570 for these professionals as of May 2018.

Digital Filmmaking Career Education Information

A digital filmmaking degree program is similar to a traditional filmmaking program but relates specifically to the digital film medium. Prospective students should be creative. They should also be comfortable with the technical aspects of the field.

Associate of Science (A.S.)

An associate's degree in digital filmmaking covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field, and can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, an associate's degree program in digital filmmaking generally skews more towards practical digital filmmaking skills.

Students enrolled in this degree program learn about directing, cinema history, screenwriting, editing, film aesthetics, digital camera operation and lighting. Many courses allow students to create their own projects; some projects may involve collaboration between students.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Digital Filmmaking provides a thorough introduction to visual storytelling using the digital film medium. Much like an associate's degree program in the field, students learn the practical aspects of digital filmmaking. Courses cover cinematography, editing, writing for the screen, working with actors, the business of filmmaking and animation. However, more time is spent on the historical and theoretical aspects of digital film.

Students also write papers explaining in detail what they're trying to accomplish with their work. Some digital filmmaking BFA programs offer different concentrations, such as documentary film and narrative film. While earning their bachelor's degree, students can complete an internship and create a portfolio. Typically, a digital filmmaking BFA program concludes with a senior project that demonstrates technical and creative ability.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

An MFA in Digital Filmmaking is aimed at students with some knowledge and experience in digital filmmaking. A majority of the time spent in residence is focused on the completion of a thesis project. Because the thesis is results-oriented, an MFA in Digital Filmmaking may take longer than three years to complete. Many students work hard to have their thesis projects screened at local and national film festivals.

Before beginning work on the thesis, students take courses on screenwriting, editing for film, digital film production, camera operation and directing. Final film projects must be approved by an advisor. Students may have to fund their own film projects.

Undergraduate digital filmmaking degrees are available in 2-year and 4-year associate and bachelor's degree programs. A master's degree in filmmaking is also available for those who want to continue their education. A bachelor's degree, however, is usually enough for a new graduate to find work in their field of choice.

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