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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 02:04 PM   #1
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Possible B.S./A.S. Majors for Documentary Writing/Directing

Hey guys!

I've found myself in a bit of a tough spot, with a decision to make in my not-so-distant future. I've completed about half of a degree at the local community college in Digital Multimedia. I've noticed recently that I'm actually a little bit closer to an A.A. as I am to that A.S... and did some research on B.S. programs here locally in Jacksonville. There is a private university with a Film program, and a public university with a communications program, and I'm torn between what would be best for what I am trying to do.

First, here's what I want in the long run - independent writer/producer/director of either documentary programs (my passion), adventure/nature video, or narrative film/video.

Here's the options I have:

A) Complete the A.S. degree. This program is more below-the-line stuff, that I could probably easily learn on my own. How to edit, how to design graphics, some basic after effects stuff, web design as well, that sort of a program. A little bit of all types of media, and how to use the programs more than how to scheme up the brilliant ideas.

B) Attempt to enroll in and complete JU's Film program. This program has either a writing or directing track. The downside is I have heard scary things about Film programs being full time only, and taking a LOT of time out of your week. As a working professional, this may be hard. It's exactly what I want, but it may be impossible to pull off, and it's crazy expensive compared to public universities, as a private institution.

C) Enroll in UNF's Communications program. I've heard arguments that communications majors are great, and that they're completely worthless. I really don't want to end up as a sales rep somewhere! The closest thing they have is the "Electronic Media" track, which includes a few classes of production, and a few required classes that I'll hate, such as Producing Television News. I am afraid that this major will push me more towards either marketing or news, but I don't really know.

Okay guys, here is my question to you:

What are your thoughts, given my end goals, as to these three program options? Any personal experiences? I'm really torn, and plan to get back into taking classes this fall. I want to have a game plan laid out by then. Heeelp! :D
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 04:00 PM   #2
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Each choice will have inherent costs and benefits - what you're asking for are the UNKOWN costs and benefits - the 'known unknowns' - that nobody knows. Sorry, can't help you with those.

But seriously - You don't NEED a degree in film to work in film or film production. So ask youself what your NEEDS are. To learn specific skillsets that a school offers? Great - take those classes. To connect to a network that the school offers? Terrific - go ahead and enroll. To get a degree so Aunt Martha leaves you in the will? Okay, good enough for that too.

The choice of whether or not one should enroll in filmschool comes up all the time on the board, do a search for various pros and cons. Some schools have incredbily strong departments with deep 'connections' - think UCLA Film School. Some are just diploma mills that take your money, don't teach you anything and have no connections in the industry,and aren't accredited so their 'credits' won't transfer if you want to go on and get an advanced degree. (Don't laugh - my spouse took her BA in Drama, and turned it into a JD in Law... so stranger things can happen) - so do your due-dilligence. I think the strongest reason to enroll - is that it FORCES you to complete assignments, and generally 'manufactures' a crew to work with/for/against in a classroom setting. This can be hard to do all on your own... depending on where you're located.

SO ask yourself what are your NEEDS. Get them clearly defined as only you can do - then you'll be able to come up with a strategy that meets those needs. There are no conflicting needs - only conflicting stategies.

Good luck.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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Richard, is there much of a difference between a degree in Drama and a degree in law, when it comes down to it? ;) Thanks for some wonderful advice. You're right, I'm asking questions with no real right answers. :)

Update on my plans....

I am going to pursue the AA for the time being. I'm 10 credits closer to that than the AS in Digital Multimedia that I was originally pursuing and it keeps options open for university transfer for a much better degree in the future. I'm also going to take the few classes that I still need to take for technical certificates in Broadcasting and Television Production, as I'm already almost there.

So, the goal is to end up with an AA for university transfer (worded on my resume "with an emphasis in digital multimedia" as those classes are most of my electives) as well as technical certificates to show for the classes I took towards the AS. I should be able to do this with under 40 credit hours of time to go, manageable in the next year and a half or two years, even while working full time!
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Old July 5th, 2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Middleton View Post
Hey guys!

SNIP-

A) Complete the A.S. degree. This program is more below-the-line stuff, that I could probably easily learn on my own. How to edit, how to design graphics, some basic after effects stuff, web design as well, that sort of a program. A little bit of all types of media, and how to use the programs more than how to scheme up the brilliant ideas.

SNIP
D

SNIP

Whoops - self indulgent post retracted...
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