Some film schools focus on application, and some focus more on the liberal arts aspects — actually filming vs. studying cinema and film history. All schools will do both, but make sure to ask for a full set of courses taught so that you can see what is the bulk of the training. And keep that in mind for yourself as well: Which type of school do you want to attend?
While it’s true that major motion pictures have hundreds of people working on them, chances are you don’t want to be in that sort of environment while learning how to make films: surrounded by hundreds of people all trying to get experience behind the camera and in the edit rooms. Ask about class size, especially for classes where you are learning the techniques of filmmaking. You want to make sure that you actually get your hands on the equipment and practice in the classes that are meant to do so.
Find out how many film projects each student is required to complete (not just “an option to complete”) during the entire course. A great aspect about attending a film school is you have access to good equipment that you can use to start building your reel. Moreover, the more projects that are required, the more hands-on time you get to practice and refine your skills.
If you’re going to spend money on going to school to study film, you want to make sure the environment is one in which you’re comfortable and want to spend a lot of time — as many hours a day as you can — perfecting your skills. So take a tour of the schools. Speak with the faculty and students to get an overall feeling for what it’s like to be a student there.
Does the school provide opportunities for you to meet and learn from professionals that are active in the film industry? Or do they only connect with retired and academic professionals? Getting your career started after graduation should be the focus of any skills-based film school. In order to do so, you’ll need to use your time as a student to build a strong network of active professionals who can become resources for you as your career unfolds.